On the Path of Life
1985 was a very significant year for me because my youngest son became five years old and a few months later, I went back to work.
I had been at home with the children for eleven years so returning to work was very daunting for me. In a way I was looking forward to it but in another way not! I was wondering how many things had changed over those eleven years and was I going to be able to keep up with it all?
I decided to take it steady. First I needed to get David settled at school. Then I had to find a job. I had no idea if this would be easy or difficult. My skills had lapsed a bit because with three sons to bring up, it is not easy to keep up. Technology wasn't really an issue in 1985 - (I didn't use a computer until 1989). By then I was 38 years old already. When I left school I took secretarial examinations - shorthand and typing and that was deemed enough to set a young lady up in an office job.
I really wanted to go to University to study art and French, but that had been out of the question because my mother, who was divorced, had no way to afford it. So I knew that I would have to get a job, but that's another story.
Fast forward to September 1985. David took to school well. The house felt empty without him and there were so many things that we needed and hadn't been able to afford that I was pleased to make a list of those things and decided to tick them off once I got back into it. Top of the list was a new vacuum cleaner! Somewhere further down was a sewing machine.
By taking it steady, I thought I would do temporary work. That would ease me in and maybe give me confidence. It came to me that it would be good to work in a school, if I could, because that would give me the school holidays to be with my boys and catch up with the housework. However, school jobs were hard to find and I didn't expect to get lucky. Then I had an idea.... I would telephone the Local Education Office and ask them if they needed temporary help. I said I could be available in the town where I lived and could do as much or as little as necessary. To my surprise I was told that there was an opening at an Infants School near where I lived and I could go along and speak to the Head Mistress of the school in need. The School Secretary there was retiring after seventeen years in the job and they wanted somebody to help until Christmas. Their intention was to appoint for the new year. In those days there were three intakes, one in September, the second in January and the third just after Easter.
I was nervous but dressed in the best clothes I had and, after walking David to his own school, went along to the interview. The new school was a twenty minute walk from David's school and I was full of fresh air when I arrived. The Head Mistress was friendly and welcoming and seemed to be pleased to get someone so quickly. I'm sure I had a guardian angel looking after me that day because I just walked in to the situation without any real problems. Initially the post was for three months, which I felt was just right. The Head Mistress asked me some questions, which I was able to answer - nothing difficult, just general and we agreed that I would start the following Monday morning.
Tomorrow I'll tell you how I got on on my first day.