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Last edited by Tracey Carroll
August 5, 2013 | History

Emma Richmond

Emma was born when open fields and farms were the norm and motorways nonexistent. She had a terrific childhood. Snow in winter, sun in summer. A life of adventure. Emma has an older brother and a younger sister. She enjoyed school and did rather well. Her favorite subjects were history and English.

She wanted to go to university, but in the ‘50s, teachers thought it more important for places to go to exceptional students, or boys, because girls tended to get married and have babies and it would therefore be a waste of a place. It is her one regret.

Emma met her husband at the local dance hall — where everyone met their future partners — and they were married less than a year later. A year after that their first daughter was born. Money was tight — when you have to take up the floorboards once a week to see if any money had rolled down there, well, it will give you some idea how tight it really was. There was a great deal of laughter and fun, and being poverty-stricken certainly makes you inventive!

Three years later they had their second daughter, who was born on the living room floor without benefit of a midwife. Ten months after that, there was a third. Three beautiful girls.

There was the usual story of growing up, of dogs and cats, hamsters and gerbils, which were forever escaping.

The teenage years were relatively fraught-free. Fashions came and went. Boyfriends came and went. There were tears and sadness, happiness and fulfillment. And not very many free moments for husband and wife.

When her father died, her mother came to stay so the house was even fuller. The dog died, a stray was adopted, and a duck was adopted. Lame birds, a lame mouse, all came and went.

There were 101 temporary jobs to help make ends meet and so that Emma could always be home for the children after school, always have the school holidays off.

She delivered leaflets, mended sheets in a laundry, and worked in an air rifle pellet factory. She worked for newspapers, taking down copy from reporters; taking dictation in pubs when no one was sober enough to talk let alone dictate. Insurance offices, banks, car showrooms, even a conjuror.

Her last job, before she gave it up to pursue her writing, was as secretary to the chairman of a group of companies. She went as a temp, and remained by default because they couldn’t find anyone better. Her letter of reference when she left, in case she ever needed another job, said: "She generally manages to hit the right keys." That was 12 years ago and she still receives Christmas cards from them.

And then there were weddings and the eldest two daughters left home. The younger went off to university and the house was almost empty.

And now it is almost full again with the laughter of grandchildren who all come to see her at least once a week. Four now, two boys and two girls. Sadly, her mother died a few months ago, but she’s all right — her five-year-old grandson told her he saw her last night and she was laughing.

Amiable and disorganized, Emma will continue to write until someone tells her to stop.

An ordinary life, a happy life, she considers herself very lucky.

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History Created April 1, 2008 · 4 revisions
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August 5, 2013 Edited by Tracey Carroll Added info about the book.
August 5, 2013 Edited by Tracey Carroll Added new photo
September 6, 2008 Edited by RenameBot fix author name
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import