Two husbands walked out on my nana, Phyllis White. She was born in Rawmarsh Yorkshire on September 24th, 1901 and while still a teenager she married a Mr Jackson whose first name was either Albert or Wilfred. They had two children, one of whom was my mother born in 1921 but by 1927 he was gone - never to be seen again though it is certain that he lived and worked in London.
In the early nineteen thirties, nana met somebody else and fell in love. She left her two kids with her mother in Rawmarsh and followed her heart to Manchester where she wrote to the advice column of "The News of The World" about her marital status. In a detailed typed response, they referred to her first husband as a "rapscallion" and gave her the green light to re-marry. It was in November 1940 that she married her Geordie beau - George Forster Morris - always known as Jock.
I loved both of them. By the time I was born they had moved back to Jock's native Newcastle. We would occasionally visit their humble terraced flat on Canterbury Street with its flight of stone steps down to the yard. There their only lavatory was located with neatly cut pieces of newspaper hanging from a string. I thought this was wonderful. She loved to feed stray cats and made wonderful scotch broth while he loved to joke, make things from wood and gamble. Once he took me to the dog track where an excited winning punter thrust a fiver into my hands for good luck. I must have been eight or nine.
One of Jock's pet sayings was: "In the midst of life we are in debt" and he usually was. In their late seventies, they moved to a sheltered old person's flat in Bridlington. It was warm and snug with an inside loo! She was very happy there but he pined for Tyneside and so he left her when they were both 82 years old.
I was at both of their funerals. He was buried in his beloved Newcastle when the earth was hard as iron in January 1985 and she was cremated in Scarborough in June 1988. There are two other things I'd like to say about them. Firstly, he took me to my first ever professional football match at the vast St James's Park in Newcastle. I was perhaps nine years old and The Magpies were playing Sheffield United. Secondly, she worked in a munitions factory in Sheffield for the last two years of World War One - making shell casings and breathing in noxious fumes that were to affect her chest for the rest of her life.
I love this happy photo of Nana and Jock. Probably taken on the seafront in Blackpool in the late nineteen forties but they don't look too happy in what I presume is a wedding photo at the top of this post. If only people would always write little details on the reverse sides of their old pictures. It would help amateur archivists like me.