I had a great ambition to be a shorthand typist secretary. These days they are called a PA. I started to teach myself the shorthand when there was a free period at school and then on leaving at the age of fourteen I signed up at the city college for evening classes. At that time I was working at a small grocery shop and would cycle home, a good 4miles up a grinding uphill road, only to find that my mother would have completely forgotten and there would be nothing ready to eat so I would turn round and cycle all the way back.
In order to get the shorthand class and the typing class I had to do a third one so I chose drama. Many a time I would sit in class with my stomach rumbling thro’ not having had any meal. It wasn’t long before I fell ill with rheumatic fever again, so that put an end to that.
Because of being in a frail state the Employment Bureau went out of their way to get me a job in an office. It was a shoe manufacturing business and I had the job along with others to sort out the paperwork to get the next batches of shoes made. I loved it and only after afew months when my senior group manager was away for a few days I was left in charge. Unfortunately I did have one mishap and put thro’ a batch of shoes with the wrong style number. I was really terrified but the bosses were very understanding and said they were able to utilise them elsewhere.
Then a problem arose when things began to get very unhappy at home with the result I started to talk and talk and talk. It was as if I knew that I was doing it but I just couldn’t stop. Finally I was told to find other employment.
From there I was able to get another office job sending out invoices and taking the cash when customers came to pay. Another enjoyable place but then when we were to be evicted from our home my sisters and I went into factory work.
Many years later when my children were about 6.7.and8 I then went back into office work and again had a lovely job as a utilities clerk. This meant that when the orders came in I had to work out how many buttons, buckles, heels and lasts were needed. How much leather or suede etc. needed to be ordered. I was able to get the work done so quickly that they then put me into a more responsible position of assigning the various styles of shoes to the factory.
Then my OH who was having an affair, proudly announced as much to me so I told him that he could pay ALL the bills from now on as I was going to leave work, which I promptly did. He then up and left which I was very pleased about as he was a very violent man and had beaten me up on more than one occasion.
Many years later I had a job with Tesco head office where I did the cash sheets for a certain amount of their stores and then other places where I dealt with invoicing or sales. I began to realise that I had the potential to do bookkeeping and accounts and so obtained books to read up about it myself, eventually culminating in taking a bookkeeping and accounts GCSE and a maths and english O levels, all of which I passed with flying colours at the age of 52.
Of course I would have loved to have been able to go to uni and get a degree but at least I tried my best with what opportunity was presented to me and am quite pleased that I was able to put my abilities into practice as not only did I take over a small office where I did all the bookkeeping to trial balance but also went on to work for B.P. at one of their stores where I again ran the office by myself, cashing up, banking, wages, ordering goods, etc. etc.
I would recommend anyone do their very best to achieve their dreams, we only have one go at it, this is not a practice run!!