My memoirs – J and I, our first home.

Jim and Stella first home1

I’ve been ill with the flu all week – horrid. It was a week when I discovered Larry didn’t know how to peel potatoes and Jim didn’t know how to load the washing machine! Oh well, perhaps I’ll feel better next week.

While I was lying in bed feeling awful, I got to thinking about my next post on here. What should I write about? It seemed some time since I wrote a post for my memoirs, mainly because I’ve been caught up in Larry’s posts about his finding on life over here in the U.K. I

I am writing these memoirs for my boys. Perhaps they will like reading them one day. This one is particularly significant and I hardly known where to start. It is about young love and discovery. It also touches on ‘becoming invisible as we get older’ because I am 62 year’s old now; but I wasn’t always old. I wasn’t always an Oma. I was a young lady – that’s me in the picture with my first husband J. We weren’t married yet. When you look at this picture, see me as the young lady I was, not the old lady I’ve become. I’m still here. I just look different and I think differently about life, based on my experiences. I digress…

It is May 1970. I am 18 years old and J is 21. We  are preparing for our wedding in August. We have know each other for four years already and we are planning to get married to the day that we met, i.e. August 15th. For me it is a happy day, a very special day. J and I met on August 15th, 1966 and we married four years later. The marriage was to last for 36 years and we are still great friends to this day.

We saved to get a deposit for the flat (apartment) you see in the picture. It cost apx  £3,200 and our deposit was £1,000. Neither of us earned very much money because we were so young and J was still studying for his degree as a research chemist. He wouldn’t complete the course until three years later, although he already had an H.N.C (Higher National Certificate) in Chemistry. So in those early days I was earning more than he was,just!, as a Sales Administrator at Electrolux. In those days it was only the husband’s salary which counted for the mortgage and then only 2 1/2 times, nothing like it is nowadays. We were lucky to get a mortgage at all. Despite saving diligently in the Halifax Building Society for 3 years, we were still turned down. They said they didn’t lend money on flats and we couldn’t afford a house. Then J’s father took matters into his own hands. He went down to the Building Society and ‘threatened’ to take his own savings out and put them somewhere else if they didn’t give his son a mortgage! Nowadays that probably wouldn’t cut any ice, but then it did. He had significant savings and they listened. Our mortgage was granted (thanks dad) and we got on the first rung of the ladder.

The flat was new, brand new and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get it. My mum promised to buy us some curtains so that they were all the same. They were bright orange and one of the walls was purple. All very 70′s and high fashion at the time. Later on one of my hamsters would chew a big hole in one of those expensive curtains, but I’ll keep that story for another time.

Our flat was on the ground floor, at the front of the building. There was a bus-stop right outside, which was very convenient. I could walk to work and J could get the bus. Bit by bit we bought carpet and furniture and made a cosy home.

In the picture I am wearing a mini-skirt dress. It was made of crimplene, a very fashionable material at the time. I think it was a pale green colour.

Here are some interesting facts about May 1970 in the U.K.

So, we had chosen our home, booked the church for our wedding and the venue for the wedding reception. My dress was chosen as were the dresses for the two bridesmaids. We were almost there…

What were you doing in May 1970?

17 thoughts on “My memoirs – J and I, our first home.

  1. 1970 is the year that both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died, which impacted me very much. They were both born within a few weeks of each other, and of me. I enjoyed reading about what was going on in your life then, Star. You sure ARE pretty! :-)

    • Jimi Hendrix died around the time I got married so I always think about that. He meant a lot to us with his innovative music and I still have the original copy of Electric Ladyland, which I have played so many, many times.

  2. Wowee! What a gal and how good to have such a super photo of those days. Bet you still feel about the same age Stella; the physical side seems to advance far more rapidly than the mind, if you understand me.

  3. 1970 – that was a fair while ago wasn’t it. I was lIving in Ipswich and planning our migration to Australia. We’d moved round the world with the RAF and settling in the UK didn’t seem right. Times were changing and so were we.
    I remember I had a green kilt like mini Iand boots – but being a mum, most of the time was clad in a pinny and no shoes. Still go shoeless lol
    Take care
    Cathy

  4. I hope you’re feeling better soon :(

    In 1970 I was living on the beach – ahhhh, those were the days! I wasn’t as bad as those girls from Puberty Blues, but the book did bring back some awesome memories :D

    The hamster ate a hole in the curtains? Oh dear! ;)

  5. What a beautiful young lady you were and still are a beautiful lady Star.
    You were both very lucky to have obtained the mortgage funding, I worked in the mortgage department at Midland Bank in the 70′s and money was not handed out lightly.
    I was getting ready for my own wedding around May 1970, it was in the November, and seemed to take forever, with the planning, and yes….bridesmaid’s dresses being handmade.
    Love these memoir posts, sweet !
    ~Jo

    • How interesting Jo! You remember exactly how it was. Great that we married at around the same time too. Lots in common :) At the time J and I married, a house down here in the south-east cost about £5,200 and we just couldn’t afford it! We were very happy in our flat, but it was quite small. More of that in a future post. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. What fun to read about your life back then! Love the mini dress! In 1970 John and were riding around Europe on a BSA motorcycle, then returning to the States, me to teach school, him to start building a house for us. We’d been married for seven years — the first child was still two years away. And out move to NC was five years in the future.

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