Florence Rhoda Glenn
A lifetime account begun early in 1986 and was transcribed in 1994 by B. Pittam.
I was born 17th September 1917. I was the seventh child of William and Alice Glenn of Yardley Gobion. We lived in a cottage up Sturgess Lane, a lovely thatched roof and large garden. We got our water from a well in the garden, this water came from a spring called Coffeemore’s brook at Moorend, it was never known to run dry.
I came from a very happy home, never knew what it was for mum and dad to row. My dad never went out to the pub or anything like that but he did like his meetings. He was on the Football club (chairman for a long time) and the old Social club flower show, Fur and Feather. He also had forty pole of allotment as well as his garden. Also he always had one or two pigs in the sty as well as hens, ducks and rabbits so he always had plenty of work to do. He worked on the farm mostly with horses, they were his love. He could do anything with a horse, my mum always said he would get killed by one but he wasn’t. She used to tell me he always had something in his pocket that they liked. I later found out as I got older what it was. Some animals and babies are born with a skin over their face which is called a cowl, he carried one from a foal he had, the horses knew, as he did have some terrors at times. All through the first world war 1914 he broke young ones in then they were sent off to the war. He said they were never safe for the poor soldiers to ride but they had to keep sending them out.
My mother was a very hard working woman, she had nine children then had her dad to live with us until he died, ten years he was with us. He was the first person I had ever seen dead and mum made me go in and put some snowdrops in his hand. She used to go to look after everybody that was ill or had a baby, do all their washing, she did work hard. Then my sister Alice had a baby and mum had her, also my brother Bill’s wife left him and he came back home with his two children so she did have a life of it but never complained. Then she had a cancer and died aged fifty six. My dad died at sixty four, so they did not live to be old.
When I left school at fourteen I went to Weston’s down Moorend to do housework while they were waiting for another girl to leave school. Then I went to work at Roade factory but my mum would not let me stop there. I had always wanted a pony so my dad said he would buy me one but it would have to earn it’s keep so we decided I would sell fruit and go round the villages. Well I did have a good time, I loved it but the old pony was a little devil at times. I used to go round Potterspury, Yardley, Cosgrove, Old Stratford, Wakefield Lodge and Grafton , also Pury Lodge. I went twice a week to these places, I also used to buy fruit and vegetables also pot plants and cut flowers from Wakefield Lodge, they had some lovely greenhouses there in those times and gardeners and men to look after them. There was a chap up there living with his uncle who was a gardener and he was a bit sweet on me and one day he cut me an
Arum lily off a big plant and his uncle nearly killed him as they take a long time to flower again. On the way back to the village people used to see me coming down the village with all the pot plants and flowers and I used to have sold them before I got home and mum used to say ” Didn’t you save me a plant?”. I said “No, they have all gone. You will have to have one next time.” Some times when I went to Potterspury mum used to like to come with me as she was a Pury girl and she used to like to see all her old mates. Some of the old gals was some right sparks, they always used to ask me for the paper that the oranges were wrapped in for arse paper. I had been giving it all out one day and old Mrs. Bason came out to the cart and I said “Would you like some papers?” And she said “No gal, my arse will stand sandpaper!” How I died laughing over that. But they all got in debt to me and I never got half the money.
I used to do other jobs with the pony as well, I would go up to the allotments to fetch the peoples potatoes down and then I used to have a job to get my pony by there as he used to like to graze along the back while they were loading him up. When I had to go to Cosgrove he always turned in there. Barbara Weston (Mrs Heygate now) used to make lovely butter and I used to get orders for it when I was round in the morning then go back in the afternoon to take it and she used to give me two pence in old money
for every pound that I sold, sometimes I would sell over fifty pounds of it. Then when they used to have the Fur and Feather my dad got me the job to go to the station to meet the train in at Castlethorpe to pick up the animals that had come by train. There was such a lot of them I should have had to make two journeys only Bill Weston came by at the time and said “Can I take some of them for you?” So I managed that way but when I started the cocks were crowing and the old pony did not like that at all he kept rearing up but the worst bit was getting them back at night as it was dark before I came back. Old Val Pettifer came with me but he got out at Cosgrove turn he said that he was so frightened he dare not stop in any longer. When I got here my dad was waiting and the policeman was with him. He said “You know damn well Bill she’s no right out this time of night, get him up the field quickly.
By this time I had met Julian Pittam and he was out of work at this time and he was my brother Bill’s mate as he played football for Stony Stratford and he used to like to come round Cosgrove in the cart but he would eat all the profit as he loved fruit. The price was different in those days bananas seven for sixpence also oranges. Anyway by this time I had so many people owing me money that dad said he could not pay his bills if I did not get some money in so I packed it in. I then went to work for Cannon and Miss Beasley who were living in Grafton Regis until their house was finished at Yardley which we know as the New Parsonage. We then moved in there and we did have some good times there. They had some mentally handicapped fellows there as paying guests, they were lads. They used to go down to Potterspury to work at Mr Joe Beasley’s farm. (Cannon Beasley’s brother.) I looked after the place for six months while Miss Beasley went to Australia then when she got back Julian and I got married on 27th August 1938. We had a house up Mount Pleasant.
I will now go back to my younger days, well as I have said my dad worked on the land and I loved to be in the fields with him. I used to have to take his meals to him all through the haytime and harvest.
I used to have to run home from school at dinner-time to go right down to the meadows near Grafton Regis. I sometimes wonder how I ever was able to carry it because I used to have things like beef pudding in a basin and veg and a milk pudding in its dish and then a can of tea. Then I used to run back to school and have a lump of pudding put in my hand, because in my day it was different than today you were frightened to death of the school teacher. Then I would have to go again at teatime but mum would say “I have packed your tea so you can stop awhile and watch your dad at work.” Oh how I used to love to do that and I still like to take my tea out now. I used to love being about with my dad, anything he wanted doing he would always ask me to do it. I would get on top of the hen house and hammer in nails for him, clean out the pigs or anything, I loved it.
Then we used to have May day every year that was a big day for the village with the May pole and all the Morris dancers. Dad always led the horse and float round the village with the May Queen and all her attendants in and Yardley band at the front. One year Westons had bought a lovely new horse and dad thought he would have that one but when the band started the horse started to dance and they found out afterwards that it had been a circus horse, so that caused a laugh. The band used to play for us to dance the maypole in Highcroft field, houses of course are all built there now. I will now go to 1938, well we started out married life up Mount Pleasant I still kept going to work at Canon and Miss Beasleys, Julian was working in Luton at Vauxhalls. He had a nice Wolsley Hornet car, 12 horsepower (RP 8925). Those days you paid your tax the same as your cars horsepower which was £1 each horsepower so that was £12 but he thought he would change it and get a Ford 8 which would be £4 less in tax. Lovely car six months old when he had it (DGK 331). I still remember the numbers you see, not bad for an old gal. Well all was going very well we got off to a very good start but six months after we got married he had a very bad accident, went into the back of a big lorry that was standing still at Loughton. Smashed them all up, young Archie Scragg was killed and they were all very badly injured. Julian was in hospital about a month. The car was a write off as he was only third party, we got nothing in fact we had to pay out on the car £10 for towing it to the garage after the accident and £5 for garaging it. So we then decided that we should have to go up to Luton to live, we did not want to go and my mum and dad did not want us to go as Julian was captain of the football team and he was held in high esteem in Yardley. Of course he had to go to court for driving without due care and attention, Canon Beasley went to court and spoke very highly of him as Julian used to take him about a lot to services as he was a very big churchgoer, church warden for some time.
By this time my sister Alice’s little girl Pat was three years old, I had brought her up with my mum and she was like our own as we took her everywhere with us, Julian and me, in fact everybody thought she was ours. Well we wanted to keep her and take her with us but Alice did not want her to go. Afterwards Alice said she wished she had let me have her. Well we went to live at Luton, 22 Putteridge Road, Stopsley, a very nice house, we settled down. Well I had my sister Ella up there and we got on so well then we had Leslie in 1940. Before I had him I joined the Home Help, I used to go all over Luton to all sorts of people. Well by this time the war was on and we had an air raid shelter down the garden and spent night after night down there, we had bombs of all kinds. Then Julian had to go to the war. He went to Sierra Leone, West Africa, then poor old Granny Pittam (Julian’s Mum) had to have her leg off so he was flown back on leave but she was dead before he got back, he flew in a Wellington Bomber and a Dakota. He was then kept in England at Mill Hill. We had a very bad time at Luton with the bombs.
When Julian came home from the army he did not want to stop at Vauxhall. Of course he never wanted to go to Luton at all but it had to be at the time so we came back to Yardley again and lived with Gert, Eric and dad for a few weeks. Then we got a cottage up the village that belonged to Barbara and Margie Weston. Julian then got back into Wolverton Works, he went in the smithy for a few weeks until he got back to his trade. He then started to play football again for Yardley, he did love his football and he was a good player. He then helped to build the village hall as all the men in the village did, my dad as well. I ‘m afraid they will not do things like that today, everything is for money now not for the love of the things.
When Leslie was ten my dad died, that was a very sad loss to the village as well as to us. I then got involved in looking after old people so was kept very busy. We started the Chestnut Club and that helped me keep busy. I used to help aunt Annie (Annie Atkins nee Glenn) with uncle Archie as he fell off the house at Potterspury that he was thatching and broke his back, he was in bed for twenty five years what a dreadful life for him also aunt Annie. Anyway she lived to be over ninety so she did well. Then I had my sister Alice ill with cancer for several years, what a lovely girl she was and how she did suffer, but she left some lovely children behind. I had gone back to Westons to help with the old people, Mrs. Weston lived to be ninety three and Mr Weston ninety seven. When they died Master Jack came and they had the house split in half but before Mrs. Taylor could get it finished she passed away so Jenny went in there to live.