We had only been in the room for a couple of minutes before the family arrived. Nobody had seen the rings as all the lights were dimmed and we had them covered up anyway.
Margaret remarked that she didn’t know my parents were coming and that should have been an opening to reveal all but I missed it. Like a ninny I just said, ‘Oh yes!’
We left the family to settle themselves in and we started dancing. The funny part about it was, Alan was dancing with his hand in his pocket and I had mine up against his chest, knuckles clenched. Pat told me later she had guessed something was going on because we looked rather strange.
Alan went across to talk to Mum and I flopped down beside Pat and Joan and said, ‘Oh! I’m fed up with this! Somebody please notice!’
Pat, living up to the occasion, had mild hysterics and I know Joan had quite a lot to say. I had turned on the lights by then so everyone knew something was going on.
Apart from being surrounded I can’t remember any details. Except that Fran was sitting all by herself in the corner so I went up to her and said, ‘Like my ring?’ flashing it under her nose. The funny part was that she didn’t believe it was mine. She thought I had borrowed it and was fooling , as we sometimes do at work.
Clive had quite a lot to say later in the evening. Both Alan and I started on him about when was he going to get engaged. He seemed quite disgusted with the whole affair and kept saying (with half a grin) ‘Brain-washing, that’s all it is. If you’re wanting brain-washing you can go to Russia’.
Alan went to find his Dad and encouraged him to come into the party and meet my family. He spent most of the evening talking about his wife. No one else could get a word in. He did ask to see the ring and made a few appropriate noises over it. After a few drinks he even did the highland fling with Pat.
Brother John stayed in the back room and would not come out. I tried to persuade him to come into the party but he wouldn’t, so I took a drink in for him. Alan’s Dad told Pat to go in and get him, taking Jennifer with her they marched out. Two minutes later they came back, plus John. The poor thing must have wondered what had hit him. Two strange girls attacking him like that!
At about 10.30 Mum, Dad and Jennifer went home and Mr Blake and John retired to the kitchen. The party began to break up and people drifted off home leaving scores of congratulations and good wishes behind them. After a while there were only Carol and Clive, who were sitting in the corner not saying a word, Alan and I, who were half-listening to the talk, Dave and Ann who were adding words here and there – they had been engaged for ages – and Ron and Brenda, who were doing all the talking. They are married. It’s marvelous how you’ve got more to say the longer you have been together. We will probably all be like that one day.
Carol and Clive were the first to break that little group up and as we couldn’t settle down again, the rest of us left soon after. Dave was staying with Ann that night so Ron and Brenda ran us all home in the van. It was a terrible squash, 6 of us in that small van but we’d all had enough drink not to care. Everyone said they had enjoyed the party and advised us to break off the engagement and start again.
And so ended Armistice Day 1961! The day I was officially engaged to the man I love!!