The 30s and into the 40s, wartime.

Cynthia did grow up over her three years at school, and her attitude to her father changed from one shown in the letters by the adoring 14-year-old, to a more critical one (shared by her friends!). 

Titled: The Worshipful Company of Four

She would have liked to have read English at university, but her father decided she should go to a Domestic Science College because that would give her training that would enable her to support herself.  She was too young to be admitted there after she had left school, so she learned typing which turned out to be valuable in later life.  

Once she was at the Domestic Science College, the career she would have liked involved doing demonstrations, being a nutritionist I suppose, but her father insisted on her becoming a teacher.  She was successful in this career but I’m not sure she enjoyed it as I did.  (I had gone to university, majored in the subjects I wanted to, English and History, and then got a teaching degree.  I enjoyed both my subject and the kids!  And I did it for twice as long as she did.  Times have changed and women now work until retirement, not marriage).  She made a lifelong friend at the Domestic Science College, Dorothy Wilyman, my godmother Dottie, who will add her comments to mine a bit later when I write about my grandfather.  But through the 30s and most of the war years Cynthia lived at home, and so only a few letters exist.

In the summers, Cynthia and her family took holidays in different parts of England and in France.  When she was 21, she got a letter while staying in a hotel in Devon from Bobby Sheedy, her next door neighbour, writing from Cricklewood in London, where he went to motorcycle races or films on the weekend.  The next year there are snaps from St Malo.  Some (undated) photos seem to show her camping with friends, or posing at picnics.

Neighbourhood families.

Then in 1939, in the summer holidays since Cynthia is now a teacher, she and her mother Carol and young cousin Peggy sail to New York for a family vacation with their American cousins, and Cynthia keeps a diary of the adventure, and makes a scrapbook as well.  I will post a long transcript, illustrated with excerpts from the scrapbook, that shows the fun of this last summer before the war.  

However, while they were having a very happy holiday, Bobby was in training, Signals, writing her in June because he’s afraid she’s leaving England for good.  The next letter from Bobby is before Dunkirk, others follow in 1941, and then there are no more.  

Cynthia went on teaching, but towards the end of the war, she got a teaching job in Cambridge, in the south of England, and moved there.  It was a much happier situation for her- she was on her own, away from home, in a lovely city, much nearer London (see holidays), and with friends in Cambridge.  And the letters home begin again: 

Dearest Mummy… 

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