11th November 1961

The first item on the agenda this morning was a bath, which I would have liked to have taken my time over but I didn’t get up early enough for that.

I don’t think I could have been properly awake because I didn’t feel at all excited. That is, until I got to the hairdressers. Every other time I had been there to have my hair set Theresa has asked me what I was doing that evening. Of course, when I wanted her to, she didn’t. I held out until she was finishing off then I said, ‘Oh please ask me what I am doing tonight.’ And I told her in a ‘grand announcement’ type voice. ‘I am going to my engagement party!’

I got the reaction I wanted. She wanted to know all about it. What the ring was like and all the details. I caught some of her excitement and after promising to come in to show her the ring I went home longing for the evening to come.

I had to go to Alan’s in the afternoon to finish off getting things ready for the evening. Before I left I swore Mum to secrecy. I wanted to be the one to tell the rest of the family. I knew Auntie Rose was expected in the afternoon and Mum was dying to tell her. I said I would try to be back before she left but if I wasn’t home Mum could tell her.

We barely had time to get everything done at Alan’s. So I came home with only two hours before I had to be back there changed and ready for our guests.

I put my key in the lock and opened the door to be confronted by the biggest bunch of red roses you every did see. I’d been with him all afternoon and he hadn’t said a word about them. I was speechless and by the expressions on Mum’s and Jennifer’s faces they were too. The flowers had come while Auntie Rose was here. Mum said she (Mum) opened the door and took them from the delivery driver and couldn’t say anything for the tears running down her face.

When Auntie Rose came into the hall and saw them she said nobody ever sent her anything like that. Mum said they were both standing there almost crying. When Auntie Rose asked what they were for, Mum said, ‘I suppose because he loves her.’ She didn’t tell about the engagement at all. She thought I had said not to. I wish I could go back in time and take in those flowers myself. I’m sure I would have cried. I nearly did when I came home and saw them.

There were two dozen and they looked really beautiful as they were arranged in a vase on the front room coffee table. Two dozen, minus the one I had for my buttonhole.

It was one mad rush to get ready and get back to Alan’s house.  I was supposed to be there at 7 but made it at 7.15.  I walked all the way down Milton Avenue behind a couple who turned out to be Pat and Robin.  I didn’t have my glasses on, needless to say!  I almost knocked Alan flying when he opened the door.  I was still excited about the roses.

Margaret and Lesley were already there.  I’d rushed out  without any make-up on and wearing old stockings, so I adjourned to the bedroom with them and Pat while Robin went with Alan to get some more drink.  We were chatting away and were all getting excited though only Pat knew of the occasion.

Downstairs the guests drifted in one by one and the whole thing gradually got under way.  I had better list the guests to save wracking my brains in future years.  There were:  Margaret and Lesley, Pat and Robin, Joan and Ron, Carol and Clive, Ron and Brenda, Dave and Ann, Fran and Jack.

Mum and Dad and Jennifer were expected anytime after 9 o’clock and we had planned to exchange rings before that time so nobody became suspicious when they saw my family.

A few minutes before nine we left the party room and had swapped ring boxes when there was a knock at the door.  It was Jimmy and Kathy arriving late!  After the greetings Alan moved them into the party while I waited upstairs for him.  Not realising that he was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs!

As I came downstairs he said, ‘alright, I’ve got it on.’ and started to go into the room.  Honestly, some people haven’t got an ounce of romance in them!  I still had my ring in my hand.  With a little encouragement Alan did slip it on my finger.  So, we were officially engaged  We each took a deep breath and went into the front room.

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