No man has ever kept me

gran lady 2

“I’m an old-fashioned girl and I take after my Gran, Henrietta. She ran a corner shop and brought up four children all on her own. She ended up owning three houses. Her shop sold everything from potatoes to dresses. She used to boil her own legs of ham and slice them up to sell. She’d buy half a pig and thin slice it for her own bacon, make her own toffee and all sorts. She’d go once a week to the suppliers to order her stock and her son would go and pick it all up on a cart. Her husband went to America because there was a depression on then. He was a ship riveter and the shipyards round there were not working. He never gave her a penny all his life. When he came back he was ill – hardly able to move. He spent all day sat out the back in a chair, or tending his pigeons. She had to look after him – she was up and down stairs all day long. You just had to accept it in those days. But she inspired me – she’s where I got my ideals. I’ve always worked and looked after myself and I paid for my own weddings. No man has ever kept me.”

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