The Following story is an excerpt from memoirs but in Pseudo form where most names of places and people mentioned have been altered to hide their true identity, but the time factor remains plus the original date of publication. 2003.
This excerpt is dedicated to Sharon who prompted me to deliver this episode of my life.
Sadly my Wife Rosemary the lady in the story. passed away 3- 5-17.
It happened on an evening after Christmas in late December 1951. I was now a twenty-five year old. A friend and I had visited ‘The Embassy,” a ballroom ‘dance hall’ in Fawcett Road, Portsmouth where we performed with great alacrity with two local damsels. My friend, who was worse for wear and full of Brickwood’s brewery best plonk, had invited the two women to meet us the following evening. Waiting for them across the road from the pub from which we had just emerged, I quietly said to my mate, “I don’t like yours, and my one looks a bit rough,” So we scooted off and wound up in the Wellington Hall, a tea and biscuit place, where young ladies and gents were being taught to dance. A young lady wearing a dress that enhanced her youthful and beautiful image caught my eye. There was something about her that got my attention. She was at least five feet six, size ten, medium thingmees, brown hair, brown eyes, and a beautiful face that dimpled when she smiled. I’ve found her, I thought. In the back of my head, someone was saying, “John Spencer Hornblower, do not mess this up; this is your future.” Now, as I write this fifty-one years later, that beautiful person is busily sorting out the photos of our family of five sons and seven grandchildren. Mary Rose White was born in Portsmouth on 5 July 1934. Our initial period of acquaintance was a great joy to me, for this person was of good upbringing, gentle, helpful, loving, and had a zest for life. This lovely young lady also had a lot of respect for me. I made a commitment then, which still exists to this day. Mary introduced me to her family. I kept the romance in check so as not to sour their opinion of me. Soon after our first meeting, Mary and I would sit in the ‘front room’ of her home and talk. This was also where her eighty-eight-year-old grandmother would read the ‘Red Letter.’ This was a ladies’ magazine that supposedly contained a highly emotional romantic element that would arouse the latent lust of its readers in those days, but would not compare with similar literature of today. Granny would peer at the book through her spyglass, her eyes lighting up when she got to the juicy bits. She would occasionally glance at us lovers. I tried to sneak in a grope when her eyes were averted, but granny made sure my hands weren’t in Mary’s bloomers. I wonder if Granny really cared. Perhaps she thought it was all part of the action. I often wondered how Mary behaved so well; her passion had me believing she was always close to the breaking point. Mary’s grandmother had a host of children – about ten, I believe. (This doubled our score of five, which were mainly the result of end-of commission honeymoons whilst incarcerated through necessity in the Royal Navy.) Mary’s grandmother, bless her, passed on at the age of ninety-three. Mary and I went for bicycle rides and to the cinema. the first film we saw together was the African Queen. Mary’s mother sat next to me. Our first romantic evening in a hotel was at the ‘Coach and Horses’ in Cosham Portsmouth. I drank a beer and Mary had cherry brandy. On that night, we heard that singer Steve Conway was seriously ill. His song “You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold. Your daddy’s little girl to have and to hold…” was played on the radio. Steve passed away shortly afterwards. From that day on, Mary has been the love of my life. As I write this paragraph, our fiftieth wedding anniversary is five weeks away. Our five sons, their partners, and our grandchildren will attend,
To advise that Vest (Les Bowyer) passed away this morning. Regards, Chris (Son).
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