L is for Love at First Sight

April 14, 2014 at 8:42 am | Posted in Family History, Society, Ways of Living | 7 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

 

Ernie was fourteen when he first saw Agnes. Of course, he didn’t know her name until much later. At the time, Ernie was working as a butcher’s boy. As well as delivering meat on his bicycle, he used to clean the floors, the equipment and the meat trays in the windows.

One day he looked out of the butcher’s shop window, and noticed a girl about his own age gazing into the window of a gift shop across the road. He watched her until she entered the shop, noticing how pretty she was, and how gracefully she moved. He said to himself then, ‘That’s the girl I’m going to marry’.

It was several years before he saw her again. His family had changed where they lived, and his route to the engineering works where he was an apprentice moulder now ran along the main street of Oswaldtwistle.

As Ernie rode his bike to work, he noticed three girls walking along arm-in-arm. The middle girl was laughing, and her whole being seemed more alive and beautiful than anyone around her. It was the girl he’d seen looking into the shop window.

Agnes (left) walking with a friend, about 1936. Age 16

Agnes (left) walking with a friend, aged 16 in 1936.

Every day, Dad rode his bicycle hell-for-leather to catch a glimpse of the girl of his dreams as she walked to or from work. She was always with the other two girls, and she always seemed to be laughing. Bur Ernie never even approached her.

After some time, the group of girls no longer appeared. Ernie had to get used to the idea that he wouldn’t see her walking along Union Road again.

In 1938, Ernie’s family moved again, this time to a new Council housing estate at Trinity Street. Soon afterwards, Ernie’s mother asked him if he’d seen the new people who’d moved in next door.

“There’s a pretty lass coming home now,” she said.

Ernie looked out of the window to see a lovely girl slapping away the hand of the man building the front fence.  She walked through the gate and strode into the house with a straight back, not answering the offending worker.

“I know that girl,” said Ernie. He also thought she had lots of spirit.

“Well, she seems to be a good worker,” said his mother. “She’s always cleaning the windows that face our yard.”

Some days later, Ernie walked out of the back door. At the same time, the girl walked out of hers. The doors faced each other, and it was impossible for them not to notice each other. Was her exit planned? They both approached the dividing fence.

The girl looked at Ernie and spoke her first words to him.

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen.”

“Can you dance?”

“If I can’t, I’ll learn,” he said.

Ernie and Agnes went dancing the following weekend, and barely missed a weekend after that.

They  were married in November 1941, just before Ernie, who’d joined the RAF, went off to Canada. He would learn to fly there in the newly established Empire Training Scheme. It would be almost a year before they saw each other again.

Agnes&ErnestThompson wed.1941-350 (2)

And that’s how my parents met. They had been married for almost fifty-three years when Agnes (Mum) died in 1994.

 

Do you know how your parents met? Did they ever tell you?

 

© Linda Visman  14.04.2014  (554 words)

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7 Comments »

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  1. Hi Linda – what a fabulous Love Story … and so so very real in the telling. I do have a box of papers to read of my mother’s first love .. sadly he died at the beginning of the war .. but it’s so stimulating and happy making to read about your parents and their love .. cheers Hilary

    • Thanks Hilary. I am glad I could tell their story. It is sad that your mum lost her love so early though. I wish I had some of the letters my parents wrote to each other, but they weren’t kept, sadly.

  2. A moment in time. Wonderful story, Linda.

  3. Lovely story, Linda. And yes, I *do* know how my parents met. 🙂

    • Have you written the story, Margaret?

      • No, Linda, I haven’t. That’s something for the future. 🙂 My mother used to love to tell me about the role her girlfriend played in it. 🙂


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