Volume 2 – chapter 4 – part 1 - post 49 - A chance encounter
Uncle Bill was working and with no other company I had little to do in the first day or two of my holiday but sit in the sun, the weather was fine so I was trying to get brown on the back lawn of my aunt’s house, when she appeared with a lady who had called to see her.
She was a Mrs Grant a very charming lady who impressed me considerably not only by her manner, but by the fact that she was one of those rare individuals a person who owned a motor car. She was one of a circle of new friends my Aunt had made in recent times, and having the car available that day she had decided to drive over to make a casual social visit. Pleasant though she was I considered it a duty rather than a preference engaging her in polite conversation, Aunt naturally made tea and we went into the house for the refreshments while we continued to talk, the conversation turning to music which my aunt mentioned as a subject that interested all parties. Mrs Grant was not musical herself but she had recently purchased a new radiogram which included the latest developments and the most advanced sound quality currently available. In tandem with their new purchase they had begun a collection of the new long play records, which when added to the standard 78 rpm and the more modern and smaller 48 rpm discs they already owned they now possessed quite an impressive collection of music. Would I like to hear this impressive collection, and if I had no other plans for the afternoon would I like to go for tea? With nothing better to do the offer sounded good to me, so I gratefully accepted and off we went to her house just a few minutes’ drive away up a quiet cul-de-sac called Ronald’s Way. By now we were on first name terms and Ethel explained to me that normally her husband used their car for work purposes but today he was having a day in his office.
This is a picture of Len Grant in his younger days when he began his career as a Post Office engineer in Birmingham.
When I arrived on the scene Len was an Assistant Area Engineer with the Post Office who spent most of his time driving around North Wales overseeing the various telephone works that went on continuously. They also had a daughter named Jacqueline who was at work in Chester, she was a tracer in the PO Drawing Office but she would not be home for tea as she had arranged to stay in Chester for the evening; she was going to the cinema after work so would not be home until late evening. Fine I thought, I would not have to meet the family and make polite conversation, I could have an afternoon of enjoyable music and be left to my own devices
The radiogram was indeed an impressive piece of equipment and I was having a great time listening to it; the table was set for tea and Ethel Grant was busy in the kitchen, when the door opened and in walked the most attractive young lady I had seen in a long time. This was of course the daughter Jacqueline who had decided to come home for tea, to discover to her surprise a young man playing her records on the new player which was her special domain. She was polite and friendly and more than happy to share her records with me, and later we sat down to tea together, though I now found that I had lost my appetite.
This was the way Jackie looked the day she walked into my life, arriving home from work she was well dressed and charming. I have always accepted that the meeting was accidental, she never told me otherwise, but did her mother know or if it comes to that did my Aunt?
From this moment onwards I knew how I wanted to spend my holiday and every minute I could find from now on, Jackie proved an intelligent girl who had attended a good school, which made her so interesting to be with. Physically she was attractive and I felt all the usual desires a young man feels when they meet such a girl, but I was not about to make a fool of myself nor was I going to assume that she would accept any advances I might make.
In the two weeks holiday I had every possible minute was spent with this lovely girl I had met, she in turn appeared to enjoy my company to the point where she arranged some leave. Every day we went on trips to Llandudno, and Chester, all over the place, but it didn’t matter where we went, we were strongly attracted and just wanted to be together. We could have been in the middle of the Sahara Desert for all we cared, nothing else mattered in the whole wide world, we only had eyes for each other, though at the time we did not realise how we were behaving; as far as I was concerned nothing had changed. Looking back I smile to myself when I remember how I must have appeared to those around me, I was my usual self or so I thought but in reality I was a different person and could not resist the way I felt about this girl. For the second time in my life I had put some sort of plan together for the future and for the second time something had happened to blow it to smithereens. It was to be a totally new ball game with the only player who mattered, the young lady I had met.
I am being generous in the number of pictures of Jackie shown in these pages because she was an important part of my life and the way it turned out calls for these pictures. I have strong and lasting memories of her which will never leave me. So it is right and proper that I make every effort to demonstrate how important she was to me.
Len Grant had an interest in photography taking a number of pictures of his daughter,which show her as she looked about the time I met her.
These pictures were taken at ’Swallow Falls’ at Betws-y-Coed on the river Afon Llygwy; she can be seen holding her Yorkshire terrier ‘Max’.
The Grants aspired to better things both in a material way and from a social point of view and why not, this was the goal most people strived to attain. The quality of those around us is identified by the way they look and the way they behave and of course money plays a large part in this display. If people of a certain social standing like the signals you transmit then they respond accordingly, which is why the parents of this girl I had met had gone to great pains to make their daughter attractive to what they perceived as the right sort of people. Jacqueline certainly appealed to me, but the question was did I appeal to her parents?
I shall never know whether my meeting with Jacqueline was planned but the outcome was not what was expected by anyone. She liked me as much as I liked her and her mother began to lose control of her daughter who had always been under her mother’s thumb. Some things you cannot control and the way we felt was one of those things.