Passionate love and loss

Well yes, I used to go to the Public Hall, I used to go dancing. You used to have the flared skirts, blouses, high heeled shoes – so high actually that when you walked it was so difficult to walk.

We used to live on Walney Island. We used to live in these pre-fabs. I can remember this lad came and he was a decorator. And I turned round and said, ‘would you like a cup of tea?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And his mate turned round and said, ‘you’re not supposed to do that!’ And I said, well, he needs a cup of tea. So I made him a cup of tea and he thanked me. I was 15 and a half when I met Joe. We went on the beach for a walk. And then he says to me, ‘What’s in it for me?’ And I said, ‘Sand!’ It was so funny.

Some years after, I met him again. He asked me to a karaoke and he was absolutely wonderful. He started singing and then I started singing.

For many years he kept coming to see me. He went away on trips and every time he came back he brought me the most beautiful dolls you ever saw. One time he came back and he looked at me a bit funny. And I said, what’s wrong? And he said,

Shhh, be quiet.

He came up to me, and he went on his hands and knees and said, ‘Will you do me the honour of getting engaged to me?’ And I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘will you be engaged to me?’ And I looked at him, and I said, ‘Yes!’

We had a party and everything, it was beautiful. Later on, he came up, and he looked at me, straight into my eyes, he got hold of my hands and he went down on one knee, and he said to me, ‘Susan,’ and I said ‘Yes,’ and he said, ‘Will you do me the honour of being my wife?’ And I went aaahhhh – . And he said, ‘Well, what you going to say?’ And I said,

Yes, yes, yes! I will marry you.

We got married at the Sacred Heart Church. I came in a beautiful big car. Pink it was. I wore a long ivory dress, with flowers in the back. I had my hair up. It was just absolutely wonderful. When I was walking down the aisle, I was nervous, I was petrified. Joe said I looked like a princess.

I was so happy with Joe – but so soon after we married, he died. It was on a Sunday, he died in the hospital. And when the nurse called me, well that was it. I collapsed on the floor. I went into the room, and I said, No Joe, You’ve not died. We hadn’t been married long. But I had a lovely time, a lovely year. He was a wonderful man, he really was.

When I went to bury Joe, when he was ready for going down I jumped on top of the coffin. I wanted to die with him. My sister in law, she came up and got me off. I said, ‘Don’t do that, I want to go with him.’ And she said, ‘No, you’ve got plenty of life left.’

With thanks to Sue for sharing her story.