It took Annabella a long time to get over the deaths of her sons and she was not the only one wearing black after the war; many wore the widow’s weeds and were left to bring up a family on their own. Other family members looked after the youngest children whilst the mothers went out to work. School work was neglected by many.
Kettlewell School had that many orphans attending it had to split the teaching sessions to either morning or afternoon sessions.
Muriel helped serve the food to her father and brothers as they discussed the ship they were all working on. Many were either being laid off or let go because there was just not enough work to keep them all going. Smiths Docks were not building that many ships now and the vast majority of work coming in was all repair work or conversions. The war had seen many ships sank or damaged so repairing them was a cheaper option. The men on both sides of the Tyne prided themselves in their work.
Robert remembered when he worked on the Mauritania 1906 he talked about how
magnificent she looked as she sailed down the river Tyne and out to sea.
“Before her was the Turbinia launched in 1897. They built ships to last in those days.’
“Diven’t worry man father the river will rise again; replied Jimmy, his oldest son now. Jimmy had been seen out walking with Peggy Simpson’s daughter Rose who also lived in Trinity Street she was a widow woman who had lost her man in the war.
They had only known each other two weeks and married him on a whim before he was posted over to France and killed the next day. She had no children but had the house at number seventeen. Jimmy would often pass her comment as she was scrubbing her step outside when he was walking home. He plucked up the courage to ask her out one night and she agreed they had been walking out together for nearly seven months now. Jimmy’s mother wasn’t happy with the arrangement she being a married woman already, but Jimmy assured his mother that Rose was everything he wanted in a woman. She was kind and loyal; she kept a clean home, even though there wasn’t much in the way of furniture. What was more she was pretty.
Jimmy whose mother said that he was only twenty three and was far too young for the twenty eight year old woman; who was only twenty two when she married Walter Brennan from Howard Street; he was the son of a miner who worked at the Billy Mill Colliery.
“Are you seeing Rose tonight then asked Craig; breaking a piece of suet pudding with a fork and placing it in his mouth.’
“No I’m going out with me Da’ to the Crane tonight to play dominoes. There will be more than enough time to see Rose once we are wed.’
“Oh aye, and when is that coming off?’
“Well I am saving up like, and I reckon we should have enough by next summer.’
“Well you had better save up for a new suit an aal then because I’m sick of darning the arse end of the one you have now said Muriel.’
“When are you going to get wed anyway; don’t be leavin’ it too late or you will end up an old crone like Aggie Smith who lives ant number fifty two doon the street.’
“I won’t be weddin’ any old man me; I will know when the right man comes along.’
“You never go out anywhere to meet anyone. Are you expectin’ a fairy Godmother to wave hor magic wand and produce a dashing young Mr Darcy like the ones that you are always reading about in your novels that you read.’
“Have you been in my room again Craig.’ Mother tell him will you; my room is my own and he is not allowed in there. Is nothing private in this house?’
Muriel stormed out of the scullery and went to her room.