My memoir Woman in a White Coat starts 85 years ago in October 1931, two years before this studio portrait was taken.
Who would have thought this serious little girl would qualify in dentistry and medicine, become an entrepreneur and end up as a consultant pathologist in a major London teaching hospital.
I was born at a time when a girl’s only future was marriage and children – though I managed those too – married to the same loving husband for 60 years with four wonderful children and four equally wonderful grandchildren.
There are 30 days in April and my memoir presently has 29 chapters so if I edit one chapter a day my memoir will be ready to be uploaded as an e-book by the end of the month. That is my April Fool’s Day resolution.
If you email me at abby(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)abbyjw.com I will send you the first chapter and if you comment I will send you another. Hope to hear from you.
Our poor Basque grandson has been sleeping uncomplainingly on this sagging folding bed the three times a year his family comes to visit. Quite by chance, I decided to do some of my physio exercises in the spare room on that bed and felt I might sink through right onto the floor.
Had to go to the South London dump to dispose of it and the electric blanket that decided to give up the ghost as soon as the weather turned chilly.
I have fond memories of the Rag and Bone man with a cart pulled by a scraggy old horse coming regularly through Petticoat Lane. He would never give you money in return for your offerings – only give you a little useless gift in exchange.
Excerpt from Chapter 3 Woman in a White Coat
I loved it when the coal man came. We could hear him calling ‘Coal for sale’ from streets away and I would be sent down to ask for a bag of coal.
What wonderful news – being short-listed for the Wasafiri prize given in three categories – Poetry, Short Story and Life Writing. I submitted September 1939 about being evacuated to Littleport and then Ely.
Shows how valuable belonging to a Writers’ Circle is and having constructive criticism. Another member just had two Flash Fiction entries short-listed for the prestigious Bridport Prize and last year my memoir Woman in a White Coat was short-listed for the Tony Lothian prize for unpublished biographies.
I never had any soft toys as a child – we were too poor for such luxuries. We had a game of Ludo and that was that, but Josh and I showered our four children and grandchildren with soft toys. Josh especially finds them irresistible. Our John Dobbie toyshop always had loads.
When I saw this gorgeous soft cuddly teddy bear in the Gothenburg Airport shop I had to have it. He sits on my bedside table with the two or three books I am in the process of reading and sometimes creeps into bed with me.
As a child, I lived in a cramped cold-water tenement in Petticoat Lane. We played outside whenever we could, though on rainy days we’d slip into the unused communal laundry room on the top floor of our block.
I met Jody Medland of Penworksmedia at Indie Insights, a meeting on self-publishing, . He self-published his scary thriller The Moors, a gothic tale of murder and child abuse set in present day Cornwall, and his company is about to publish a variety of books by other authors.
Jody liked the first three chapters of my memoir – Woman in a White Coat – so I am busy giving the manuscript a final edit before sending it to him.
I had originally written my memoir starting with my medical career, each chapter having flashbacks to my childhood. However, I decided it would work better if I split my memoir into two. Now, Volume 1 will cover my childhood until I start at medical school, 1931-1953. Volume 2 will take it from there.
Why is it that your hair is fine for weeks then suddenly one day it’s a real bad hair day and you have to rush to make an appointment with your stylist?
At school my straight black hair hung half-way down my back, to be replaced by a neat French pleat when I qualified as a doctor. Now, practically all grey, it’s really short.
No chance of my getting lice now but when I was 13 the health visitor found I had lice. At that time it was a real disgrace. My mother was furious. It would be years before it was widely known that any child could catch lice – whether coming from a clean or dirty home. Continue reading BAD HAIR DAY – THANK HEAVEN FOR TONY AND GUY→
1. When I was 2½ my mother took my dummy away. i can remember being pushed in a heavy metal pushchair in Petticoat Lane. My dummy was always tied with a ribbon to a safety pin in my coat or dress and it was gone. I was desolate.
2. A fellow student said he’d ask me to marry him if I’d promise to say No. He said it was to be sure at least one person would ask. I was 18 at the time!!
3. Age 14, being caught without an underground ticket and saying I’d got on later than I did. I had visions of police and having to go to court but luckily the ticket inspector took pity on me and let me go. I never ever did it again. My mother would never have forgiven me for ‘showing her up’.