Under Scrutiny

A story of back street abortion in 1948 and how the change came about where women were given contraception and could go to a clinic to have a termination. A doctor who's ex- wife dies of cancer is left to bring up his daughter who has downs syndrome. His perception of the disability is changed when he discovers that his daughter is brighter than he first thought. This is a story of acceptance and the love between a disabled girl and her father. The story includes prize fighting when Billy Tugg Fawcett and his friend a black heavyweight fighter called Bill Peters fight their way to a title fight but gangsters and racketeers are after Bill when he refuses to throw a fight.


13. 13

Mavis Bell walked down to the passport office at the bottom of Bedford Street she paid the five shillings and filled out a form. She went into a room where she had her photo taken which would be added to her form and one would be stuck inside her passport book.

“Where are you planning on going Miss said the lady behind the desk.”

“I’m going to America; I have family who live in New York.

“Do you plan to work there?

Yes; well you will have to fill out this form too.

“How much is that going to cost me?

“It will be seven shillings and sixpence please.”

Mavis gave her a ten shilling note and held out her hand whilst the lady sorted out her change.

“Your passport can either be collected in a week or we will post it to you.”

“I will pick it up personally; thank you.

After she had done that she went down on the quay side to ask if any of the boats could give her passage to Southampton where she could pick up a ship to America.

An old man came out of the cabin and introduced himself.

“Hello pet; my name is Jake I’m the skipper of “Bountiful Harvest” I know a ship that’s going to New York in two weeks would you be interested?

“Yes Sir; I would.”

“Then I shall make enquiries for you then Miss.”

“Thank you Sir.”

“Can you come back tomorrow; I will have news then.”

“I work for “Gilberg’s”

“Well come tomorrow during your lunch break Miss,”

“Alright then I will see you tomorrow.

Mavis took the bus back home again; she was quite satisfied with what she had done but it was going to be hard breaking the news to her parents.

She paid the penny fare as the conductor came around and gazed out of the window and thought to herself that in two weeks time she would be leaving North Shields for good. She had written to her aunt Sarah in New York who had confirmed that she would put her up in her apartment on twenty second street. She also said that she could have a word in her local library where she could gain employment as a book keeper.

Mavis waited until father returned from work before breaking the news. Her mother was upset at first but after Mavis explained that this would be a great opportunity not to be missed and went on to tell her that she would be staying with her aunt Sarah and that her aunt was going to help her find work.



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