Olga’s Diary (Continued)
The Convent: Marie is in boarding school now at Our Lady’s Convent in Dartford and is very nice and lots of posh people’s children go there. Matron thought I was her nanny when we arrived and didn’t hide her surprise when I said I was Marie’s mother.
While we talked Marie was crying because she didn’t want to leave me. I gave her a white lace handkerchief to wipe her tears and she was wiping her little face with it saying
“Don’t go Mummy, please don’t go”. It upset me.
“Never mind, when you are gone and she sees the other children she’ll be alright” Matron said. In bed that night I cried my eyes out because I didn’t have Marie with me..
I know this will be good for her because she will be taught how to become a lady and to speak nicely. The sisters say she will settle down and make new friends and not to worry about her. Poor Madeline is missing Marie a lot.
Mrs Hammell is worried because Madeline is not as strong as other children she might get hurt at school, so she prefers to employ a private tutor for her at home. I think Madeline would be fine at school. Mrs H is over protective of her.
Madeline and I are getting very excited because Marie is coming home for the holidays.
Then Mrs Hammell said it wasn’t really convenient for Marie to come home during half term and would I mind asking the nuns if she could stay in the convent instead.
So Marie stayed in the convent again and I haven’t seen her for such a long time.
Will have to give both girls lots of special treats.
At last Marie is home for the holidays but there is a change in Mrs H’s attitude to me. She is off-hand with me.
“Have I done something wrong?”
She said she was unhappy with my work and thinks I am more interested in Marie than in looking after Madeline. That’s unfair, and it’s not true, and I told her I go out of my way to pay Madeline more attention than Marie. I took the girls to the Zoo and when we got back home, Madeline came up and hugged me and gave me a kiss to say thank you.
In the evening Madeline likes to come to our room to play with Marie rather than be with her mother. If I tell her she must stay with her Mummy she gets upset and thinks I don’t want her.
I think Mrs H is jealous because Madeline is very fond of Marie and me..
Mrs H and I have had a little talk.
“I apologise if I was wrong” she said.
“But, really, Carmen, no mother can look after another person’s child and neglect her own”.
She said she thinks it would be better if I leave.
Oh dear, I don’t want to, but I suppose she’s right.
Back to the kitchen: Now Marie is in boarding school I have a better choice of jobs. I’m working for Googie Withers, the film actress, and her husband, John McCallum, as an assistant housekeeper in their London home. I keep their house clean and on their cook’s day off, I do the cooking. I really like it. They are both very sweet and kind to me. They have all sorts of interesting people to dinner, other actors and writers, and they’re not demanding. Mr McCallum is so handsome he makes me swoon. He’s like the hero in some of Ruby’s stories.
The only problem is Marie can’t come home for the holidays. I didn’t tell them about her because otherwise I wouldn’t have got the job. I know Sister Bernadette is getting cross with me because she thinks I am neglecting Marie. I promised Marie I would go to the sports day. She was running in the egg and spoon race but I had to miss it. I feel simply dreadful and I miss her terribly.
She wrote me a letter and said she was very upset and crying.
“All the other Mummies came to sports day but not my Mummy”.
It’s no good, even though I like this job a lot, I will have to find another one before Christmas so I can have Marie in the holidays.
Falling behind on my savings.
I had a letter from my friend Moores today. I wrote to her to ask her to lend me some money because I have to pay Marie’s school fees. I hated doing it. She’s so kind Moores, she always was to me – and she sent me more money than I asked for. She said she was still in touch with Ethel who was married and has two children. But Moores isn’t married. She said she hadn’t found the right bloke.
Moores still kept in touch with some of the other nursing students we worked with and she’d heard that John Edward, Marie’s father, had died in December 1949. He’d married an American girl and moved to New York and was working as a doctor in one of the hospitals there. He was standing on the subway platform and just fell forward onto the railway lines and was hit by an incoming train and killed outright. Witnesses said he just toppled forward. Moores said there was a mystery surrounding his death. An autopsy had revealed nothing unusual and so the medical examiner concluded that he probably had an accidental fall. But some of his colleagues were sure he’d committed suicide. Apparently he suffered from depression quite a lot.
Moores asked me if I had worked Obeah on him for what he did to me. Honestly, how could Moores think I’d do that! Of course, I didn’t, but if any of my family knew what he had done to me, they would certainly have worked obeah on him.
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