A seventy year romance!

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A seventy year romance!

Post by Dutto on Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:38 pm

Hi there,

This should touch the hearts of all Grumpy Old Men and give them hope because yesterday the final chapter of a seventy year romance ended and I thought I would share it with you.

I was only one year old when it started but it contains all the elements of hope, love, loyalty and friendship that litter the fictional world but seldom intrude on real life; and it has elements of anger and cruelty that are all too frequent.

It started in the Spring of 1944 when, in preparation for the Normandy Landings, a regiment of Scots Guards were stationed for training near the small Derbyshire mining village where I was born.

One of the Scots Guards, a twenty-two year old six-foot plus Scotsman from Fife called Michael, was walking through the village on his way back to barracks when he saw and got talking to one of the local lasses called Dorothy, aged twenty-one who was a friend of my Mum.

It was a case of "love at first sight" if ever there was such a case but the chances of anything coming out of this chance encounter were slender to non-existent.

However, they arranged to meet the next day and spent the afternoon walking around the village;  Dorothy very proud of her tall good looking Guardsman and Michael proud to be able to squire such a good looking girl around the village.

They arranged to meet on the following day but Michael arrived with the news that it was only going to be a ten minute visit because after 3pm the very same afternoon he and the rest of his Regiment would be confined to barracks.

Everyone in the country knew that there was going to be an Allied invasion sometime in the summer but no-one knew when or where it would happen but before Michael left he asked Dorothy "If I manage to get back after the war is over will you marry me and come and live in Scotland?"  Dorothy replied with a firm "Yes. Come back and I'll be waiting."

That was it.  Michael left for the Normandy invasion beaches and Dorothy stayed at home.

The phrase "at home" should carry feelings of love, warmth and security but in Dorothy's case her news that she was now "engaged" to a Scots Guardsman that she had known for less than 72 hours drew nothing but scorn and anger from her parents.  They effectively disowned her and although she still lived at home she was left in no doubt that if "that man" ever returned she would be turfed out of the family home.

In May 1945 VE Day came and went with no sign of Michael, as did the summer, autumn and Christmas.

The New Year brought 1946 and the last of the conscripted soldiers were being demobbed but there was still no sign of Michael and no communication from him either. 

The latter was not really surprising because the romance had happened so quickly and Dorothy had known her parents reactions so well that she hadn't taken Michael to her home and he simply didn't know where she lived!!

Being a village, everyone knew that Dorothy had a fiancé but Dorothy must have been the only member of the village who still believed that Michael would return.  Finally, in the Spring of 1946 Michael arrived back in the village, made enquiries at the local Post Office, found out where Dorothy lived and knocked on her door.

Dorothy's parents reacted by throwing her out of the house with a suitcase of belongings and delivered the "never darken our door again" speech; which is when my family got involved.

My Mum and Dad had both met and liked Michael when he and Dorothy were strolling around the village and since that time they had decided that should Michael ever return the most likely outcome would be Dorothy's eviction from her home.

So, my Mum and Dad arranged for the courting couple to get wed and spend their first night in our house before they left for Scotland.

Their first night became family legend.  Apparently after the Apple-Pie bed, the newly weds had to cope with twenty tin cans tied to the springs on the bed and a tin of Andrews Liver Salts poured into the "guzzunder".  (They made their own fun in those days!)

So, Dorothy and Michael left for Scotland the next day.  They never returned to the village but they stayed in touch with my Mum and Dad with the odd letter and a Christmas Card and this went on until my Mum and Dad left the village and moved to Skegness where they finally lost touch with each other.

This happened about 1960.  The friendship lapsed with no news being exchanged between the two families until just after my Dad died in 1988 when my Mum came to visit us in Scotland.

"I had a friend up here you know." she announced one day and told me the tale of Dorothy and Michael's courtship and marriage.  "Michael used to play an accordion and they ran a scrap business at a place called Glen something or other in Fife."

Armed only with these facts and their surname I hit the phone to see if I could track Dorothy and Michael down as a surprise for my Mum.  Amazingly, I did!!

I phoned them and a lady answered the phone.  Having established that it was "Dorothy from Derbyshire." I handed the phone to my Mum and they nattered for ages before arranging for us to visit Dorothy and Michael the very next day; where we had a great afternoon with Michael entertaining us on his accordion.

Time passed.  Michael died about 1998 and in December of 2010 my Mum died and it fell on me to tell everyone the bad news.

I searched high and low for Dorothy's phone number without success so in the end I had to resort to telephoning local businesses to finally track her down.  The clincher was that I remembered what her house looked like and was able to check it out on Google before requesting a local businessman to take a message to her.

Dorothy phoned me the same afternoon and I gave her the bad news about my Mum; who Dorothy knew as Madge.

In the summer of 2011 we visited Dorothy in her home as we were passing through Fife on our way north to visit friends in Aberdeen.  Dorothy was in great form.  We had a great lunch with her and her son (another Michael) and reminisced about the small mining village from which we both came.

When my Mum died we took over her telephone number here in Skegness.  The telephone number has been in the family now for over forty years now and this morning it rang.

When I heard my wife say "No, this isn't Madge it's her daughter-in-law." I knew that Dorothy had died and that her son was going through her phone book just like I had to do when my Mum died.

A chance meeting, a few hours together, nearly two years of waiting, family estrangement and a stressful wedding precluded a wonderful happy marriage with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  WOW!!  That's Romance!

Dorothy was 91 years old when she died and I have no doubt that she and Michael are now reunited somewhere.

Best regards,
 drinksallround

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Re: A seventy year romance!

Post by daisy mae on Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:42 pm

Dutto that is so moving, thank you for posting that.

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Re: A seventy year romance!

Post by Jaytee on Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:50 pm

The human race does come up with some wonderful people and equally wonderful stories of them. Thanks for that  drinksallround

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