So here we have a picture of Dora, with the two girls she had before the war. Her husband, Joseph, died at the age of 42 of lung cancer and rheumatoid arthritis leaving his wife and eight children in Clay Cross. There was no social security then. You survived or died.
Through the generosity of teachers, the eldest daughter was able to train to be a nurse. My grandma ended up working in a mill in Belper, a long commute she told me about often, and then was one of the first to be made redundant, even though they rated her cutting out skills. First in, first out. We don’t think that mill is still there in Belper. She then went into service, which again she survived, though it was touch and go with some of the men. I like to think she was mean with a hot poker.
But seriously, being a servant was a hard life. Up so early to light those fires, and she was still a child.
This is the bit where I go onto my computer to find my poem about her and get distracted. This is the bit where I lapse into prose. And maybe not now. I have realised I don’t even know when Dora was born, somehow, all the family history records I have scavenged don’t include Dora and Joseph. I have so much more to do.