Sylvie, my adopted mother – continued.

The women were close knit, they lent each other milk, sugar, eggs and the like and the odd ‘ten bob’ until payday. Often they needed to deliver each others babies, they babysat each others kids, shared secrets and tears, laughter and heartache, complained about their husbands and swapped make up and hairdressing tips. Gossip was inevitable, with certain individuals commonly being the target due to their inability or refusal to conform, failing to keep a pristine home or for their real or perceived affairs.

The men were mostly hard working and generally wanted a quiet life, to go to work, dinner on the table when they came home, cigarettes and a few beers at the working men’s club at the weekend.

The children all grew up together, went to the same schools, were not expected to go to college or university and many started their working lives in the same industries, and often in the same factories. A house phone was still considered a luxury and very few of the neighbours had cars and and were regarded as very well off if they owned one.

Sylvie was in her early thirties when she started making the trips to Alconbury during the first half of the sixties. I have seen very few pictures of Sylvie as a young women but have one taken, it would appear, in around the 1950’s. It has the typical look of those days, softly focused with brown hair, just above shoulder length and softly pin curled. She was very attractive with beautiful, pale clear skin, ‘cupid’s bow’ lips, gentle features and a very slender build. Later pictures, taken in the sixties show her look to have changed a great deal. She was still very attractive and dressed in the fashion of the time but she now had a fuller, more womanly shape, wearing much more make-up, having cropped ‘pixie style’ blond hair that was peroxide blond and somewhat harder features.

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