What follows is a short story from Rosemary’s past. After talking with her, I have taken our discussion and turned it into a series of small stories highlighting the incredible life that she has led. Direct quotes from our discussion are highlighted in quotation marks. All else is a retelling written by yours truly.
At the farm there were many visitors, from many different walks of life. But perhaps the most anticipated visitors – at least for Rosemary – were the family that contained her best friend, Ruth. After they met, their friendship quickly grew and the two did everything together. In fact, it was this friendship that made Rosemary think twice about continuing her education past the age of sixteen. And by this, I mean it was this friendship which encouraged her to do so.
Rosemary could easily have stopped her schooling and gotten a job or worked on the farm. But in the end she decided it was best to get an education. She didn’t particularly enjoy it – although that might have been because she doesn’t really remember anybody else being there. Most all the other girls left to get jobs or move back home –. but it did allow her to go off to college to become a teacher. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The family that contained Rosemary’s best friend also contained Bill. Bill and his siblings were living in Britain during the war while his parents were overseas. When the war finally ended and the parents could return, the family came up and moved into a house near Rosemary’s. This was great, although Ruth was in boarding school so Rosemary only really got to see her during the summer months. But the boys she got to know quite well.
When Bill and Rosemary met they were just friends, and they remained that way for some time. School came and went (Bill was older than Rosemary so for him it came and went a bit sooner). After not having the money to take A-Levels, Bill went into the Air Force for a bit before returning and attending the University of Oxford. At the time, Ruth also went to Oxford to study, though it was at a private college in the city and not at the university itself.
Rosemary, who wanted to see as much of her friend as possible, came up to visit as much as she could and whenever she was there she would see Bill too – they were friends after all.
Anyway, nothing happened. Courses finished and jobs were acquired. Rosemary, who was a couple of years younger than her best friend, went off to do her own teacher training. It was only a two-year course and when she finished she found a job as a teacher.
Meanwhile, Bill’s life was taking him all over the place (and would continue to for some time). But when Rosemary was in her second year of teaching, Bill found himself back in the UK and wanting to see this woman who, for him at least, was becoming more than just a friend.
It started one weekend and then became a weekly occurrence. Bill would drive up in his car, dressed smart and dashing, and meet Rosemary at the end of her long Friday of teaching. Rosemary only had a bicycle and would cycle each day into school so the car was a nice treat. He would then take her to dinner. If the weather was right the two would share a lovely evening stroll.
“And then he would drop me off. And I don’t think I was aware of anything much going on. I was very immature, I’m sure. But that developed and we got engaged in my third year of teaching.”
And that was it. While Bill was trying desperately to get out of the Friend Zone – a place he found himself in due to the inevitability of life (they were too young when they first met to think of each other as more than friends) – Rosemary thought nothing of it. At least at first. Maybe it was the charming young man’s smile, or his compassion and sincerity. Either way, Rosemary and Bill ended up falling in love, marrying, and living life together until Bill’s passing a few years ago.
Stay tuned for more stories from the life of Rosemary. Please note: these stories will not necessarily hold any chronological grounding. They are designed as snippets of understanding into the life of Rosemary and while some will hold chronology, others may not.