Wednesday, 25 January 2006


Phyllis was born on January 25th 1914, her parents were Thomas and Susanah Fentem, She was born in Chesterfield Derbyshire. She was the forth daughter and the couple went on to have a son two years later.?

Phyllis early memory of her mother was of a lady kind and gentle, she loved to eat nuts, was always anaemic .and thus always tired.

Father was a farm labourer; it was her mothers dearest wish to move to the town, so that her daughters wouldn’t have to go into service, they later moved to Nottingham,Lentern,Susanah’s other wish was to own a coat ,she always wore a shawl .

Phyllis’s mother died when she was seven, there was such sadness in her voice when she spokeof this.

 Some years later, Phyllis’s father met Phyllis’s future step mother, and Phyllis can remember, her father used to say “I’m a married man, with four daughters and a son, but my wife lies in the church yard”.

I get the feeling that life became very difficult with the stepmother, Phyllis didn’t say a lot about that, though there is a lot of pain in those memories.

Ironically all the girls went into service until they married.

Phyllis sounds happier as she describes this period of her life.

She found employment, with a solicitor and his family, in Nottingham.Mr and Mrs Mein ,they had a son Geoffrey,Mrs Mein taught Phyllis so much ,how to cook ,to sew and to keep house ,she was almost one of the family ,and was treated very well ,she speaks of her time off, when she and her friend Betty Crowson,would go to the theatre, the pictures, and on shopping trips into Nottingham. Phyllis loved nice things, and wore all the fashionable clothes of the day .she was provided with a uniform for work, and since she was well paid, she had lots of nice clothes.

She remembered catching scarlet fever, whilst, she was with the family and they took good care of her when she left the hospital, and convalesced.

Whilst “on holiday” with the stepmothers family in Kings Cliffe, she had to look after their children, whilst their regular nanny took her holiday, she was soon noticed by the village boys ,she was really quite lovely and must have stood out in a village ,where everyone knows everyone.

One young man did fall for her and used to sit on the wall and sing songs and whistle to her, as she sat out side in the evening, cleaning the children’s shoes. They started to ‘walk out together’ and when the time came for her to go back to Nottingham, they wrote to each other, and would send each other photographs, taken in photographic studios .On one visit to Kings Cliffe, Ike as he was known, though he was christened Isaac, proposed to Phyllis and she accepted and wore his ring for two more years, before they married in the Register office in Oundle, In 1940, by now the war had begun.

Phyllis remembers being at work at Mrs Meins when war was declared, she also remembered. The Prince of Wales abdicating because he loved Mrs Simpson, these things she learned about through the wireless, which was in the kitchen at Mrs Meins house.

Whilst she was engaged to Ike, Phyllis collected lots of things for her bottom drawer, and also had a lovely trousseau, helped by Mrs Mein,who also gave Phyllis and Ike some beautiful silver as a wedding present .What a lovely lady.      



to be continued  >

                                  GRAPHICS BY DONNA



jlocorriere05 said...

It's a lovely story about your mum Jan. Life was hard in those days but peoples memories of it are so interesting. Jeannette.

aniracj said...

Oh Jan, what a coincidence, My Mum was called would have been her & Dads wedding anniversary and it looks like baby is going to put in an appearance today!!! See my journal entry for this morning!!!

jeanno43 said...

Lovely memories of your Mum.  My mum was born on the 25th as well, the 25th December.  If you go into edit, you should be able to backspace/delete all those things that appear there, just like taking text out of an email.  Try using works and not word.

icklemisssexpot said...

{{{{Jan}}}} thanks for sharing your memories of your mum with us :o) Sounds like the people she was in service to were more like parents to her than employers :o) Caff xxxx

nedmoh said...

Dear Jan, Mum would have been so proud of you honoring her on her Birthday in this way with her story and the lovely rose.Looking at the photo I can see both you and I in her.Was that Betty Crowson in the snap with her?I bet Dad was so pleased he won her heart instead of the other village boys.Very nice signature graphic.........Love ya...Jeanxx

sarajanesmiles said...

Really enjoyed reading this entry m'dear, a lovely story of your Mum's early life :o)  Great photo too!
Sara   x

haileen2003 said...

Fancy your Mum bing born in Chesterfield - Allan and I go there all the time. We do a lot of our Shopping there (around 20mins by car). We also walk in Queens Park - on Warmer days. My Mum is 99 on Monday, so will be seeing her then.
Wow, aren't you getting good with Graphics etc... you are leaving me behind :>(

labdancer51 said...

Hi Jan, I read this story in the wrong order, so I though there was a continuation to this lovely tale.  I do hope you have more to share with us though. :o)

Sandra xxxx

jmoqueen said...

What a lovely entry (sorry I'm late to comment)!!

faircolleen said...

What a story Jan! I have LOVED reading about Phyllis and would have loved to have a chat with her about her early life.It always interests me how people lived in days gone by.