41 years of memories
1956 to 1997
By Jan Norman
My first memory of W.G.C. is coming around the corner at the top of Chequers and seeing the black barns at the corner of Woodhall Lane. It was 1956 – I was 12 years old and was moving from North London with my parents. My cousin – Jean – had been staying with us and was in the car. She had been soaked when a passing car drove through a large puddle, and the spray came through the open car window. Our dog – Judy – howled all the way.
Jean and I sat on the back step – watching Judy – while the movers brought our belongings into the house; one of the first chores my father did was to build a fence!
Dad worked at De Havilland Props. and had been commuting for several months. Mum turned down her first offer of a house in Hatfield near the “Hilltop” but loved the house on Howlands.
I attended the Howard School for 3 years and then began work at De Havilland Props in the internal mail department under Mrs. Rose Baillie – a super “first boss.” I met my future husband at the De Havillands Christmas party in the Props canteen. I joined the medical secretarial staff of the Q.E.II Hospital in the early 60’s and loved working there for Dr. Peter Mills and his staff.
I moved to St. Albans in 1965 when we were married at St. Etheldreda’s in Hatfield (where my husband had been a choirboy.)
Mum and Dad moved to their bungalow on Ludwick Way in 1992 and lived there until 1997 when a nursing home became necessary. Dad was 82 when he moved to the new bungalow and established his back garden from scratch and even drew a detailed plan of the bungalow for carpet installation. Mum was cooking a 2-course meal every lunch-time for them both until her fall, hospital admission and subsequently nursing home move in 1997.
After a move to Twyford and then Reading, and the birth of our first son, we emigrated to Canada in 1969. Our second son was born in Canada but Christened at St. Etheldreda’s.
Mum and Dad made several happy trips to Canada – where Dad wanted to emigrate to in the 1930’s – he eventually saw Canada.
We made several trips back to Welwyn Garden City, many during Mum and Dad’s final years – and have bittersweet memories of course. But I will always remember the spring blossom of Welwyn Garden City. My childhood memories are divided between Enfield, North London and Welwyn Garden City and are good memories. Thank you for this opportunity to share some of them on this website which I stumbled upon by chance today.
Maybe some of my old school-chums will see this and get in touch I attended Howard from 1956 until 1959 and was in Mr. Wallis’ Class, and Mr. Wheatley’s class – both great teachers. Mr. Small was headmaster and Miss Smith deputy head during these years. I still remember most of the names of the 7 girls in my final 4A class in 1959!
Jan Norman(nee Ayling)