Queenie Kate's story -in her own words

Queenie Kate's story -in her own words

         Queenie Kate's Story in Her Own Words - Dictated while she was in her 80s.   
         She died 18 October, 1989 in Spokane, Washington, USA.
         Queenie Phelps 
         E. 1812 South Riverton 
         Spokane, WA 99297 

         "I was born on the first of January, 1901 at 12:30 a.m. 

         I was a New Year's baby. The town was Hilgay, near Downham Market, Norfolk. My mother's name was Mary Palmer and my Father's name was Francisco Palmer.
         I was christened Queenie Kate DaSilva Palmer.

                             Mary Parker Palmer; Mary Palmer & her granddaughter, Mary Osler; Francisco DeSilva Palmer
         We lived about five miles from the nearest town, from Downham Market, a little market town. We had to travel the five miles to go to the nearest registrar
         for me to be registered, you see. Aunt Kate went in the pony and transverse process, you see, horse and trap you call them, but we called them pony and trap. 
         When they got to the registrar's office, the registrar said to them,
         "What are you going to name this child?"  And so my father turned around and spoke to my Aunt Kate, 
         "Kate, do you remember what Mary said we were to name this child? I've forgotten.
         She said, "So have I."  My father said, "She looks like a little queen to me, so we will call her Queenie."�
         Aunt Kate said "Well, as long as you are going to give her that name, you might as well give her mine, Kate."�
        Father answered, "And I'll give her my name DaSilva." 

        So they called me Queen Kate DaSilva palmer. And that's how I came to be called Queenie. Everybody thinks it is a nickname, you see, well most people do.
        I am always asked, "Is this your real name?�  And, of course, that is my real name.
                            Franciso & Mary Palmer with their growing family in 1901
        There were 11 children in the family, 6 boys and St Vincent Teed Parker and Eric Don Thursher died in infancy), 5 girls. 
        I was the 10th born. We lived in a very large, old fashioned house that was thatched, a thatched cottager we used to call them then. 
        There was about fourteen or fifteen rooms. It had to be big to house all of us children. We lived in the home farm. 
        My father had seven farms, in the different villages around us, you see. And we lived in the home farm. He used to rent the other farms out. 

        He was a hay and chaff Merchant, a farmer, and an engineer by trade. He had eleven sets of thrashing engines, thrashing tackle, we used to call it. 
        Thrashing tackle is an engine, a steam engine, a drum, a jack straw, a chaff cutter and a baler. That was a set. He used to rent them out and do all the other 
        farmers thrashing, you see. When I was old enough, then I used to take one out. And I could do all the jobs that the men could do. I used to drive engines, 
        a 6 horsepower Marshall engine, steam engines. But that when was when I was about thirteen years old. I was the only woman then that had a license to drive a 
        thrashing engine, a steam engine on the road at three miles an hour.  So you know we didn't go very fast. 

        We had a lovely childhood, You see. Every birthday that came around, we could invite our whole class and our teachers. With all those children, there was lots 
        and lots of birthday parties. Mother used to make the cakes and plum pudding. We always had a plum pudding on our birthday. We were all dressed alike, you see.
        We had a sewing maid that lived in the house. We had a knitting maid that lived in the house. They were two sisters.  The sewing maid's name was Suzie and Bertha
        was the name of the knitting maid.  She used to she indicates that in the kitchen by the big kitchen stove, and knit, all day. And Suzie had a room upstairs that 
        was the sewing room, you see, and she made all the childrens clothes, boys and girls.

        Mother used to go to Manchester, which was about two hundred miles away, into the big town of Manchester and she used to buy all the bolts of cloth, you see, 
        for the whole house. She used to buy sheetings for the bed and pillow cases. Sue used to make all these, the sheets' pillow cases.  She used to make all the 
        tea cloths, we had a bolt of cloth to make these tea cloths. All the bolts of serge for the boys suits, cotton or silk or velvet for the girls clothes' do you 
        see, whatever they were going to be dressed in.  We were all dressed alike. So they all, everyone knew the Palmers, they used to say, 

        "We know they are the Palmers, because they are all dressed alike."

        When we would go to church on Sunday morning---we had to go to church---we used to go in crocodiles,. My oldest brother would walk in front and my oldest 
        sister walked behind, you see, and we were all crocodile in between. When we got into church, we used to go into the pew first, you see, and stand at the end 
        of the pew, and then Father would sit down at the end, himself. Once the sermon was over, he used to stand at the side and let us trail out. My oldest sister would 
        go first, you see, and he used to be behind. We took up a whole pew in the church. If we didn't know what the text was, when we got home, we would have to go without
        Sunday dinner. If not, Father used to say, we were not paying attention, so we had to know what the text was, the older ones, that is, the ones that could understand.
        We always had all our meals together, the breakfast, dinner and supper (well, breakfast, lunch and dinner at night, you see). We all had it together, there was no 
        coming in one at a time. We were never allowed to speak at the table, only to say pass the pepper and salt, or pass some water or something like that. The tables 
        were all laid with white damask table cloths. Runners were placed along where the younger children sat. Do you know what a runner is? Well, the tea cloth material,
        Mother used to buy these in bolts, you see, about fifty yards in a bolt or sometimes there was seventy-five yards. Suzie used to split that up the middle, you see, 
        and make runners to fit the table. One for each side, mitered each corner and across each end. My father sat at the head of the table and he would serve all the meals. 
        The plates were all, set beside him, but the vegetables were put in terrines, down the length of the table, you see. 
        So we would help ourselves to vegetables, you see, but all the meat was carved at the head of the table. Mother sat at the foot of the table. The maids would bring 
        in the plates and every plate was wiped before it was put on the table. If anybody put a finger on a glass, the glasses were put on the table when the table was laid, 
        of course. Our finger bowls were there, too, and our serviettes. The younger ones used to have feeders, you know, what they call bibs. 

        The boys in the evening, and the girls, used to make the feeders, sew them, because we never played, you see, we always had to do something. There used to be the 
        two feeders, with the two tapes on, and when we went to the table, when we sat down, we never sat higgledy piggledy, we sat in the same place all the time. The maid 
        used to come around with the feeder box. And we used to take our feeders out, and turn our back to the next one that sat next to us, sister or brother, whatever it 
        would be, and they would tie them and when we finished our meal we would turn again, and they would untie them and we would take them off, roll them up, tie them 
        and the maid used to stand there with the feeder box. And we used to put them in the feeder box. They'd never do that now, would they? And we did that until I was 
        about twelve years old. We could not get food on our lovely dresses that Suzie made us, you know. We wore velvet on Sundays, you see, and serge during the week. 
        And pinafores all the time, white pinafores, with all the lace on the shoulders and around the bottom, beautiful lace she used to put on. 

        When I was eight years old, I made my first cake. You see, we all had to help. The one that helped the maids downstairs one week helped the maids upstairs the next week. 
        We had a week's rotation. The maids used to clean the outside of the windows and we used to have to clean the inside. Those that washed the crystal one week did the silver 
        the next week, you see. We even had to clean the stove in the kitchen, black leaded stove. If it was our turn, we had to do it. We did it and it used to shine like silver. 
        If we left any parts that weren't clean, we had to do it over again, not just the spots, but the lot again. Same with the knives and forks and spoons and that. If we cleaned 
        and left any little black marks, you know how they get they were steel in those days, you know. Not like they are now, stainless. They were all steel, and sometimes they 
        used leave a little tiny black mark on those. If my father saw that little black mark, he used to make us do it all over again, not just that one, he used to make us 
        clean the lot again. So you know that didn't used to go down very well. But we all had our own jobs to do, in rotation. 

        And, I had one sister, my sister Zoe, who was the next oldest to sister who used to decorate the tables for the dinner.  She used to put on the finger bowls and the 
        little copper plant pots, and she used to put little flowers in them, carrot leaves, carrot stalks and hops out of the garden and trail them from the center bowel 
        to each corner of the table. She used to lay the table beautifully, and all the silver and the napkins. For the older ones the napkin rings, and the younger ones 
        had to have their feeders on. 

        In the summertime we used to all go down to the river to swim. Those that were old enough. The older ones used to take us down to the river. Dad had a place made out 
        for us with a boat house. In the wintertime we used to skate. He used to flood a field and teach us all to skate and he used to make little skates out of files, and 
        carve the wood and put the straps on, so we all had our own pair of skates, right from the tiny ones up to the big ones. He used to send Douglas, an older brother, 
        to take us down onto the meadow and teach us to skate. We had a really lovely childhood. 

        We, at first had about one mile to go to school. Then after that we had to walk three miles to school, To Miss Green's School at Downham Market. We used to steal 
        apples the way, rob the orchards on the way, and the nuts and that. There used to be nut trees, chestnut trees, hazelnut trees.  We had plenty of our own, but it 
        was always better in someone else's garden. 

        I remember I was two years old when my sister Freda was born. I remember my father telling Granny Secker, that was our old nurse, She was with my mother when she
        had her first baby, until she died four days before she was one hundred years old. And if Nurse Decker had lived those last four days, she would have gotten a letter 
        from the Queen, but she died four days before she was one hundred. 

        Dad said to Granny Secker, "Wrap Queenie up in a blanket and I'll take her along with me." Granny Secker wrapped me up in a blanket, and they put me in the bottom
        of the cart, the buggy, to go fetch the nurse. The nurse always came into the house about two weeks before the next baby was born. I remember we had to drive about 
        three miles to fetch the nurse and her name was Mrs. Murphy. She lived on the side of the river on the river bank at Modney Bridge. She lived in a house about three 
        miles down the river bank, you see, we had to go all the way down the river bank, and I remember, she had her clothes already packed in a wicker basket with a strap 
        around it. I remember bringing that wicker basket out and then helping Mrs. Murphy into the cart and driving home. And Dad, all the time I was in there, he was 
        singing to me all the way going down there. But he only sang religious songs. Hymns, he used to sing. I never did hear him sing anything else, but Hymns. 
        And I used to say to him, 

        "How do you know all these hymns?"  He answered, "I don't know. I heard them and remembered them.
        Then we drove home and I remember him carrying me out of the cart into the house again and up into the nursery. And I was just about two years old and that's how 
        I remember that. Then it was a few days after that and I heard a baby cry. My father came down and said, "oh, it's another girl." And he was disappointed. 
        I think he liked boys. 

        Out of our family of 13, there were one more boy than girls, that is 7 boys and 6  girls. My mother had her last baby when she was sixty-two. 
        When I was five, that was when I first saw my first apparition. Yes. Granny Secker, the old nurse was taking me to bed, taking me up to the nursery to bed. 
        As I was passing mother's bedroom, we had one flight of stairs, across a little landing and up another flight of stairs to get to the nursery do you see. 
        On the landing before we went up to the nursery, mother's bedroom was there, at the top of the stairs. We were never allowed in there, in Mother's bedroom,
        until we were twelve or thirteen, never dare even look in. But the door was ajar. You know, child-like, how you peek in. So I crept up, you see, and had a look in. 
        I said to Granny Secker, 

       "Oh, look at those 1ovely little birds flying around Mummy's bedroom. She gave me a tug and she said, "Don't let your mum hear you say that."
        All the way upstairs to the nursery I kept saying, "Well, why can't I tell my mother about those pretty little birds? So when we got to the nursery, 
        I asked her again, and she said.

        "Oh, shut up!"  So I told her, "You can't say shut up to us. You mustn't say that.�  She answered, "Well, if you don't shut up, I suppose I'll have to tell you,
        but you're not really old enough to understand. But I'll tell you anyway. When your oldest brother, Esco, (his name was Francisco, but we used to call him Esco), 
        was small, he was going by your mother's bedroom and he looked in. He saw those little birds flying around your momma's bedroom. Two or three days after that they
        lost the baby. That's why you can't ..the baby died. That's why you can't tell your mother about this, because she would be so upset, you see." And then they told
        me later, after I had seen these birds, the baby did die. Yes, St. Vincent died. His name was St. Vincent. That was the first thing that I saw that I could remember. 
        It seems as though it was just yesterday.     Yeah, that happening. And after that, of course, I saw several things.

        The second thing that I recall was a dog running down the back of our house with no head, on a chain, I could hear the chain rattling and see the dog, but he didn't have a head,
        he had a thick leather collar around his neck with a big brass buck] e on it. My father was taking me down the path to go to the 'John' -- we had outside toilets, you see,
        and I was always scared to go out in the dark to the toilet, because we had to go about three hundred yards. He used to go down and wait for me, you know. And I saw this dog 
        running -- we had a lane at the back of the house, you see, with a stile, and I saw this dog come through this stile. He had no head on, but he was a big dog, and I could hear 
        the chain rattling and said to my father, "Can't you hear the chain rattling?" And he would say, "No, I can't hear the chain rattling. But you needn't be frightened.

        I said, "He has a collar around his neck, but he hasn't got a head on." Dad never frightened me, you see, he never said there wasn't a dog there, or anything like that, he
        never did frighten me. Whatever I saw, he never did say, that never was there or it didn't happen. He said he couldn't see it, he couldn't hear it, but he told me not to be
        frightened,  that it was O.K. 

        I used to tell things at school, do you see to the school children. They used to say, "Come early, Queenie, this afternoon and tell us what you've seen."

        If I was playing, or other children were playing with me, they used to say, "Oh, don't play with her, she's a witcher." But then that didn't bother me. Because I knew what I 
        saw I had seen, do you see and then I used to tell them what I had seen, whatever I had seen that day or the night before. When I was about thirteen, I used to go to the village 
        Whist Drives. They used to be held in the village. Like the Bingo is. Like the Bingo now, do you see. I would go there and they used to say, just like the school children,

        "Come early, Queenie, so you can tell our fortunes."� That's what I used to do.  I remember once that I was reading for a Mrs. Russell.  I was reading the cards
        for her and I told her that she had a daughter who lived by the side of the river on the river bank and that she would be called in the middle of the night, and that her daughter
        would need a doctor.  Amongst other things that I told her.  The next day, she was called to her daughter's home and she did need a doctor.  This girl died.
        I told Mrs. Russell she would also hear of a death, and her daughter died.

        There were several events like that, do you see, that I used to read for different people, and when things used to happen.  How can I explain it? Every Wednesday there used to
        be these Whist Drives, and every Wednesday I used to go and I used to tell somebody elses fortune, you see.  And, I used to tell them what I would see and would hear, you see.
        And, sometimes they used to laugh and say it was an old wife's story.  But when it happened, then they did realize that what I was telling them  was true, do you see.
        And, of course, they wanted to know how I knew, and all about it, but I couldn't tell them how I knew.  I couldn't explain it.  It was a gift that was given to me and I was
        only telling them what I saw in the cards psychically.

        My parents never did say anything, you see.  They never frightened me or anything when I would tell them what I had seen and what I had heard.  They never frightened me.  
        That is why such a lot of people now, do you see, like last night when we were talking to Jim, that they said they were scared, do you see, well, my parents never frightened me.  
        Someone has put the fear into you, because you can't go down into the basement.  She has been scared.  There is nothing to be afraid of, my parents used to say.

        "You are okay, that is okay, you're all right.  You needn't be frightened.  And, then sometimes when I was in bed I used to feel someone touch me.  I used to call my father
        and he would come, and he would say, Well, there is no one, do you see.  But you'll be all right.�  He never did frighten me. He would never say there never was anyone there,
        or that there was.  He would say, You're all right.�  And, he would tuck me in again.  My mother never came, she never did tuck me in or anything like that, it was always Dad.
        And, when any one of us was sick, my father used to come to us and look after us.

        I remember one night I was about fourteen then, and the war was on, then World War I.  The cow men and horse men were off fighting the war, so we had to milk the cows.
        I was feeding some of the younger cattle and one of them, while I was mixing the chaffs and mangles up together in the bin, one of the bullocks came up along backside and hoisted 
        me into the bin.  It cut my lip, I still carry that scar.  My father sat up all night with me, bathing the cut with whiskey and whiting.  It was swollen up like a round  ball.  
        That was in the wintertime and had got the frost in it, do you see, and got an infection in it.  When it broke, there was a cup full of mucus came out of it.  He would feed me 
        and do everything because the lip was so swollen and painful.  But he wouldn't lance it because that would have left a bigger scar than what it did when it broke on it's own.

        When the war came along, it took lots of men from the farm.  Us girls that were old enough had to replace the men.  So, I used to milk the cows, get up at four o'clock in the
        morning and milk fifteen cows.  Then  I used to help my mother make the butter and everything like that, churn the butter, and separate the milk from the cream.

        Then when I was fifteen, I went to London.  I went to learn to become a lady dentist.  I was apprenticed to Dr. Blind at 207 Oxford Street, London, W1.  He was a Russian doctor.
        I was there until I was sixteen.  I was like a nurse assistant, learning.  He was commissioned to do the dental work for all the girls in the air force, as well as the men.  
        The girls used to come into his office and they would say to me, "Queenie, why don't you come and join the Flying Corps?"�

        Eventually I did.  I was stationed at #2 storage Depot, Regents Park.  I was only sixteen, but I told them I was eighteen.  I told them a lie, sorry about that, but when
        I walked into the office, who should I run into but Lieutenant Farquist.  He came from the next town from where I lived, from Downham Market. He said, 
        "What are you doing here, Queenie?"�  He went to school with my brothers at Dr. Watson's School.  I said to him, "I've come to join the flying corp."�
        "How old are you?"� he asked. "Eighteen" I answered firmly. "What, twelve"? was his reply, and then he instructed me, "Write your name here."�
        At that time I wrote in writing, thick and thin; and, he said, "Oh, you'll do. Just sign here. Here's a shilling, you're in the King's Army now.
        You are in the Royal Flying Corps."�   During the time I was in there, the name was changed to the Royal Air Force.  I think that was around 1918.

                            Queenie Kate Da-Silva Palmer in the RFC

        I was in the Adjutant's office, in files with two girls, his two daughters were there too.  Two red heads, that made three redheads in the office.

        While I was working in the Adjutant's office, Lieutenant Farquist invited me to dinner, to have dinner with him and two friends.  He said his landlady would leave everything
        ready for us.  And that was at the Russell Hotel, in the Russell Square in London.  I arrived there and he met me in the foyer and we went upstairs to his apartment.  
        The table was all laid, and everything was ready, the dinner was in the oven and only needed to be served.  He kept saying that his friends would arrive at any moment.  
        He went downstairs to look for them, and they didn’t arrive.  When he came back I told him it was getting late and wondered what had held them up. He said that anything 
        could have happened and they just hadn't let him know.  When he came back in, I heard him turn the key in the lock.  Then I was more terrified. He said,

       "Come on, we'll have our dinner, and if the others come, the food will be there." So then I told him "No."  I became nervous and frightened and we sat down on the couch
        and he started to put him arm around me, and started saying things I had never heard before.  Then I pushed him away and told him if he didn't unlock the door and let me
        go home, I would tell the Adjutant.  He begged me not to do it and said, "Oh, you wouldn't do that, would you?"�

        "Oh yes I would,” I answered.  He informed me he would eventually let me go, and when he opened the door, I flew down the stairs, I didn't wait for the elevator.
        I flew down those stairs, and I flew down to the underground tube station, and I was still shaking.  That was my first initiation into anything pertaining to sex.

        I did tell the adjutant the next morning when I got to the office, but I never did see the lieutenant again.  I think the adjutant had him transferred, because he had two daughters
        also, the same age as I was.  He said he didn't want anything to happen to them, and he was sorry that it happened to me through one of his lieutenants.

        It was a good life in the army.  During that time too, I would become a part of the Royal London Choral Society.  We would practice in C group every morning because we were to
        sing at the Royal Albert Hall.  We were allowed to practice in C group, as they were all in groups.  We also sang to Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace.  We went into the music room 
        and sang to Old Queen Mary, Her Majesty, what would you say, Her Royal Majesty?  Queen Mary.  I remember we sang As Torrents in Summer�,  Brahms Lullaby and The Viking Song.�
        We had afternoon tea in the gardens and then, of course, we left and went back to #2 Storage Depot.
        Several times we sang at the Royal Albert Hall.  I think we went to Earl's Court one evening and sang there to the troops, about four or five thousand troops.

        I was discharged from the service in 1919 when I was eighteen years old.  I came home and there were still two sisters at home, my sister Freda and sister Vera.
        I opened a clothing store.  I was in that for about a year and then my  mother took it over because I had met Fred Osler and we got married on Boxing Day, 1920.

        Boxing day is the day that the Queen deals out all the money to the poor, from her little box, you see.  Each Church that day, gave away whatever money was in their box to
        the poor, that they took in over Christmas Day.  This is December 26th.  We should have been married on Christmas Day, but Archdeacon Ward had another appointment and he
        forgot that he was going to marry us.  So, we had to put it off until the next day.

        We had everything ready. We had twelve bridesmaids and they were all dressed in all different colors of the rainbow. There were only two alike, and that was the two little ones
        in front, and they were dressed in pale pink with black velvet sashes.  For our bouquets, we had mistletoe and holly, tied with a big white bow.

        We spent our honeymoon at Lowestoft, a seaside town in Suffolk. When we arrived home, when our honeymoon was over, my husband put the key in the door.  Our home was all ready
        for us before we went.  It was a farmhouse.  My father-in-law bought us a farmhouse.  My mother furnished it.  Everything was ready for us the day when our honeymoon was over.  
        So, my husband put the key in the door, unlocked the door, and I had a peculiar feeling hang over me, do you see.  He gave me a push and said,

        "What's the matter?"  By then he had pushed the door open further, do you see. I hesitated. I said, "Well, look at that woman standing over there". We didn't expect anyone in the house.�
        "What woman?"�  he asked. "There's a woman standing by the stairwell." I answered. "I can't see a woman" he replied.
        She's dressed all in white.  She has a long white robe on.  She has her hair braided and the plaits coming right down past her waist.   And, she seems as though she wants
        to tell me something."  "I can't see any woman.  Go on in" he motioned. "Well, she's there" I answered. "And, she seems as though she wants to talk to me."

        "Oh, go on in and I'll fetch the bags out of the car.  You light the lamp and get the fire going."  I lit the lamp and put a match to the fire.  Everything was ready for us.
        And then, we unpacked the bags that we could unpack downstairs, and he carried the other bags upstairs, and I followed him.  This woman, again, was standing at the top of the stairs.  
        I wasn't really frightened of her, you know, but just coming in from our honeymoon, I felt a bit cautious, you see.  She stood at the top of the stairs and she disappeared when I got
        to the top.  I finished our unpacking, then we went downstairs and had our supper.

        After that, I saw her several times, but her presence was always there in the house, the feeling. The next day I went to see my father and mother.  I told my father what I had seen.
        I told him that she seems as though she wants to tell me something.  He said, "Ask her where she has hidden the money."  That was just like my father, you know.

        "I can't very well do that, you know."  "Maybe she has something she wants to reveal to you, do you see,"  he solemnly answered.  She either has some money hidden away or something
        she wants you to know."

        We only used to have our bread delivered, once a week.  Because the farm we lived on - everything had been given to us (the cows, sheep, pigs, cattle, ducks, chickens and everything).
        Delivered once a week by Mr. Cross, the baker.  Our farm was about a mile from another farm.  The baker only used to come around once a week, also, to deliver whatever meat we wanted.  
        This was on a Saturday.  Mr. Cross, this Saturday, he  knocked on the door.  I opened the door and he said, "Oh, what's wrong with you Queenie?  You look as though you have seen a ghost."

        "I just did" I replied. "What did you see?" he asked. I explained it to him and he said, "Well, don't you know who she was?"�

        "No" I answered. "I don't know, but she always seems as though she wants to tell me something."�

        "That was Mrs. Jackson.  You see that big chair that is standing over there? (In the farmhouse that my husband's father bought, you see, there  was some furniture left in.)
        This was a big old winged chair.  Mrs. Jackson sat in that chair, just like I am coming tonight, and I saw her there, and she looked ill.  I asked her what was the problem with her.
        She told me that she had pricked her thumb with some gorse bush, a prickly plant.  She had been out in the field and they used to cut this gorse which was like a bush and used to 
        wrap it up into “faggots” and burn it in the open kitchen stove.  There was a big open fireplace in the kitchen.  And, they also used them to put under the copper fire, when they 
        did the washing.  The stoves used to have coppers built in, with a furnace underneath them, and then they used to push the firewood under there, you didn't boil your water with coal.
        It was with wood, or sticks, or these bundles of gorse.  She had run one of those gorse prickles under her thumb nail" Mr. Cross said.

        "I told Mr. Jackson then, that if he didn't get his wife to the doctor, that the poison would go up her arm.  He didn't take her to the doctor who was five or six miles away, and
        she wouldn't go to the doctor.  She sat in that chair and died from blood poisoning."

        When I was coming home from visiting my parents one evening, my husband and I were cycling along the road, past an old place we called the round house.  It was used as a school.
        All of a sudden I stopped pedaling and something jerked me back.  My husband said, "Come on, pedal along, I'm not going to pull you."

        "Look at that big shaft of light" I told him. "Right across the road. I feel as though I can't get through it."Oh come on. It's your imagination again" he replied.

        "No, it's not my imagination." That happened several times when I was coming home from my parents house, do you see.  Either when I was horseback riding, the horse used to
        shake his head, this light would appear, and I would have to urge him to go.  The dogs that we kept, instead of them going through on the road, to go through this light. 
        They made a pathway through the hedge, around and out the other side of the hedge.  They would not go through the light.  It was in the same spot each time.  Eventually the 
        light would fade and I would get by.  I never did find out what it was.

        Along that same road, we had to go by a forest.  Trees on either side. Big woods, we used to call them.  We would come to a four cross way.  One night when I was going home,
        late at night, about twelve o'clock at night, I saw a carriage and horses.  There were four horses, it was a four-hand ride, you know.  The horses had no heads, and the driver
        on top of the coach had no head.  I learned afterwards that this used to be the route of the stagecoach that used to come from London to go to Newmarket.  That stage was robbed, 
        just at that spot.  The horses were killed, and so was the driver.  And, I saw the horses and driver, with no heads.  Afterwards I learned that there had been a stage robbery 
        there, and a stone was put up at the four crossroads.  The stone was erected, but I never did see the stone, but it was there and it was covered up. It was put there to tell 
        people that was where the stagecoach was robbed.  But I never did see the stone.

        One afternoon, there was a lady that knocked at my door.  She had a young girl with her.  I should think she was about fifteen or sixteen.  And, when I opened the door,
        this woman asked if I was Mrs. Osler.  I told her, yes.  She said,

        "I brought your husband's baby to see you." "My husband's baby!  What do you mean?"  I exclaimed. "This is your husband's baby." she replied.

        You had better go show it to him, I don't care to look at it" I said. "I don't want to see it."  What happened before I married him has nothing to do with me.  If you want
        any information, you had better see him."  From that time on, I never did feel the same way towards my husband as I did beforehand.  No.
        I think it was the next day, I was so hurt about it, you see, that I went up to see my father.  You could tell my father anything, you see.  He said,

        "Well, what's good for the goose, is good for the gander."�  From then on, you see, I didn't feel that I should save myself for one man.  Before that, I had always believed
        in keeping one's self and keeping the vows you made, when you married.  After that, it shattered my belief.  Then, of course, that started a different pattern in my life.
        My husband started drinking and going out at night, and I didn't see him until  probably one or two o'clock in the morning, when he would come home again.  It altered my life completely.
        We still carried on with the farm, of course.  I hadn't had any children.  I didn't have any children until three years after I was married.
        Algy was the firstborn, 1922.  I told him, if I have any children, as soon as they get old enough for me to leave them, I shall leave you.  This is what I eventually did do.  
        In the meantime, my father had died and he left me money and I got a new home with the money.  It was in this new house, when I used to go to dances, and not with him, but with my friends.

        When I was furnishing this new house, I had a feeling come over me, that I wasn't going to be there long.  This voice said to me,
        "Why are you doing all this, Queenie?"�  I was painting in the bathroom, white enamel, and I heard this voice saying,
        "Queenie,  you shouldn't be doing this.  Why are you going to all this trouble?  Because, you are not going to be here long."�

        It was about six months after that, you see, that I went home one evening, and a friend of mine was waiting for me.  She said to me, "Queenie, I have some bad news for you.
        Did you know that Christine Harper is carrying your husband's baby?"�  And I said, "No I didn't"�as I thought to myself, Christine is only fifteen.  Her people kept the public
        house where he used to go and drink, do you see, where he used to visit.

        Of course, I was very unhappy about it, and then, you see, I never did have any more to do with him.  He had his own room and I had my own room in the new house, that I built.
        It was a beautiful home.

        Earlier, my husband was chauffeur to the Squire, before he went in the army.  That's why he joined the army to get away from this girl he got into trouble.  That's what he told me.
        She said, my friend, your husband used to assistant chauffeur, because there was a head chauffeur there, too.  And he was assistant chauffer to Mr. Stocks.  My daughter was 
        kitchen maid in the hall, they lived in a big hall, do you see.  That's when he ran away and joined the army, to get rid of his responsibility. (forgot to mention daughter being born).
        Mary was born lets see now, I went to Birmingham to visit my sister, Muriel, and while I was gone he sold the farm.  This was before we moved into the new house.
        He sold the farm and when I came back, do you see, and went home, because I didn't know he sold he farm, do you see, and I had a taxi to take me home.  I had taken Algy with me.
        When I arrived home, there were some strange people in the farmhouse. When I went to open the door, a woman said,

        "Who are  you?" "I'm Mrs. Osler, this is my home."  "Oh," she said, we bought the farm from Mr. Osler"�  So I said "Well, where's all our furniture and that?"
        "Oh," she said, "that' all stacked in the barn."  I asked her, "Where am I going to stay?" "Didn't Mr. Osler tell you?"�

        "No, this is the first I have heard of it.  Never mind,"�  I said, the taxi is still here."  The taxi man was still there, so I told him to take me home to my mother's,
        to my father's place.  When I got there, my father said to me, "What did I tell you the day you married him?  That I would rather see you dead first, than marry into that family.
        Like father, like son.  His father was a drunkard, always a drunkard, and your husband has turned out the same.”  Then he added, "As you made your bed, you will have to lie on it."
        He wasn't very sympathetic.  I told mother,  "He sold the farm."  She replied, "Yes, we heard he had sold the farm.  What is going to become of your furniture and everything?
        Where are all your things?"� "It's stored in the barn."�

        Dad said "Well, I've got one of the cottages empty down in the east end.  You'll have to arrange for your furniture brought up there and put in the cottage and you can stay there."�
        So that's what I did.  During the next few days, do you see, I had all the furniture brought down there.  My husband was staying at this public house with this girl and her parents.

        (After that, we got the farm back).  Mary was born, you see, I was carrying Mary then. And Mary was born at my mother's house. She was born October of 1924. Paul was born in 1925.
        I had three children in two years and eight months.  During that time, you see, I had gotten the farm back again. 
                     Mary Osler
        By the time Mary was born, the people, when they knew that he had sold the farm from me, you see, without me knowing it, they bought another place and moved in, 
        and said he could have his farm back. They were so surprised that he had done a thing like that to me, that they moved out.  I, of course, moved back in.  That was when 
        my husband came back, you see, and then we were trying to make it all right again, but after Paul was born, it wasn't all right again.  He was still playing with this woman.
        And of course, I lived there fourteen years, you see. He had his own rooms and I had mine, after Paul was born.  I came to hear about this girl, and one day I had been out 
        to the nearest town, shopping, and when I came home, there was a girl and she had a baby around.  That was in my new house, you see, in the pram.  What do you call it over here, 
        the buggy?  We call it the pram.  When she saw me coming, she rushed out and ran with the pram up the road.  I can see her going now.  Perhaps she thought that when the cat was away, 
        the mice would play.

        It was a big house that I built.  I have a picture of it.  Of course, my father had given us a 'set'�, do you see, to do our own thrashing.  It was after that when I started to
        carry on my social life.  I used to go to dances, and to the races, and invite my friends over and we used to go to the Fakenham races, and go the ball at night. Then, we would 
        go to the Newmarket races. I used to attend all the races.  I used to go with my friends and then we would have balls, you know, social outings, and I attended all of those.  
        I had a really good life.

                          Queenie & Thomas Grounds
        We would go to Diddlington Hall to the dances.  Sir Stanley Berkins.  At this big hall, every Christmas, we would bring this party down.  They used to  put on these big dances 
        and he used to invite all his friends in, and we used to have a ball.  It was during one of these balls that I met a man, his name was Thomas Grounds (1930).  We fell hopelessly in love. 

        It was Christmas time.  And, he came with me and my friends.  I had a house party, too, you see.  And, we had taken all our friends to Diddlington Hall, you see, we had an invitation.
        I invited Thomas and his friends home to my house to spend over Christmas.  There were about thirty people there then. This was Christmas Eve, the Christmas Eve ball that we went to, 
        you see.  And, the next day was Christmas Day and I had invited all these people, and they stayed a whole week, do you see.  We carried on a party the whole week.

        When I got home, do you see, my husband was still living in the house then.  And he was mad.  Because I had invited these people, and he could see that Thomas was paying more attention
        to me than any of the others.  He got mad and threatened to shoot me.  I told him I would load the gun for him.  He was mad and said that if I could bring my friends here, he could 
        also bring his friends.  I said, "Oh, no you won't.  This is my home.  I'm the one that is doing the paying.  When you make the payments, pay for everything, then you can bring your
        friends over.  But, while you are not paying for anything, I'm using my money and you're not, you're only a lodger."

        He was mad, and he kept mad for a whole week.  Sometimes I saw him, he used to go out to this girl's house, do you see, to the village pub.  Then, in the end, we had this party that
        was over on my birthday, the first of January. We always had a party that went through Christmas Eve, you see, the day before Christmas, right through to the New Year's Day, and they,
        all the party, left on the next day, the 2nd of January. we partied all the way through.

        Thomas left with the others, you know.  And, a few weeks after that, he came back, and then it was then that we arranged to go away together.  I went away with him.
        I left the house and everything.  I had the house sold after some time, you know.  I got the  money from it.

        After that, my husband, he lived with this girl and they had a family.   I didn't have any more family until Valerie was born, and that was during when Thomas was in the Army.
        That was in 1941, when she was born. 

                            Valerie DaSilva Grounds
        He was called up, you see, and he was an officer in the Army, the Royal Engineers.  After that we were living at Necton Hall, Norfolk.

                            Necton Hall 

        The year we fell in love was 1930.  He was an engineer.  The nursery in the hall had fifteen rooms, but I only had four, with me.  Mary still lived with my mother.  My mother,
        when Paul was born, I went to fetch Mary home, you know, to the farm, to go pick her up.  And, when I got there my mother wouldn't let me have her.  She cried, and she went to
        my Dad and said, "Queenie's come to take Mary home.  I don't want to lose her.  I want to keep her." Then my father came and he talked to me and said,

        "Well, you've got little Paul to look after now.  Let us look after Mary.  Let Mary stay with us.”  And so, I wasn't very pleased about it, you know.  But she had a good home
        there and they looked and they looked after her and that, and my father thought the world of her.  He said, "You've got little Paul to look after.  You have enough to do to look
        after and the farm.  So, let us take care of her."  "No,  I said, "I want our family to all be together."�

                            Paul Osler

        "Go on," he said, "You've got enough.  And, with the trouble you have at home, with Fred.  He never cared about you, and you've enough to take care of."
        That was before Dad died, you see.  Dad died in 1931, and he was 71.
        Back to Necton Hall. 
        It was a beautiful place. The entrance door was a great big – it was a big gothic house, and had this great big wooden door, you know, ever so heavy with great big wrought iron handles on.  
        The entrance hall was, oh, you could put all this house into it.    The entrance hall was massive, and had the housekeeper's room on the right hand side.  They had a Chapel built on the
        left hand side, as you went into the Hall.  It had it's own Church, it's own Chapel.  There was the pews, the alter, and everything.  Of course, the previous owner had had a row with the
        vicar in the village. So, they built their own Chapel.  And the servants used to attend church in this chapel.  Instead of going to the village church, they went to their own church in 
        the Hall.
                      Necton Hall
        You went through, along the hall, and the stairway was as wide as this wall is, all the way along, with wrought iron banister all the way up onto a balcony, and the
        balcony ran all the way around, and the bedrooms all went out from the balcony.  The organ, the church organ, was up on the balcony.  You looked from the balcony down upon the church, 
        you could see the people and the pews down there.  

        Then there was a very large dining room, and a drawing room, and the library was huge. It had seats all around covered in thick, heavy leather, you know, tufted.  The windows were from
        the top to the bottom, you see.  When you looked out onto the front lawn, and through the front entrance hall, you could see what they called Cromwell's Mound.  Oliver Cromwell, we're
        going back to.  Do you remember history?  Well, that was where all during the war was where they fought that war, and they fought out on the lawn, do you see, and all around there, do 
        you see, that's where they buried all the men that died.  They heaped them all up and covered them with dirt, you see, and that made a big mound.  And people said,

        "Are you afraid of them?"  "No" I would say. I was never frightened of them. Sometimes I could see soldiers, but they weren't dressed in uniforms like they were dressed now.
        They were all in foreign clothes, you know. A different kind of garb on.  Grey uniforms.  And, sometimes I could see them. But they didn't frighten me.

        In the park, there was an outdoor theater, do you know what an outdoor theater is? All the lawn was like seats, grass seats, you see, and that went down and down and down and there was
        a huge, oh what would you call it, big pillars and a big dome on top.  Palladium, a stage, yes.  And it all had a tile floor and there were chairs on the stage, the outdoor theater, a 
        beautiful outdoor theater.

        We used to have parties and that, you know, on the lawns.  There were lily ponds all made with lilies and fish in them, and statues all around, all over.  Big, white, tall statues.
        I don't know who they were. Up the drive.  There were statues all over the place.  I would like to have brought some of them to America with me.

        Valerie was born then, do you see.  Valerie was born, oh, she wasn't born there.  She was born in Chester.  But Valerie lived in the hall with us.  She was born in 1941.
        I think she was about 5 when we moved to the hall.  Of course, we travelled around, you see.  Wherever his work was, we traveled around because he was an engineer, an electrical engineer, 
        and we used to have to  - he had contracts and wherever his contract was, we went.  When he was in Africa -----

        At that particular time, (while we were at Necton) he was putting all the electricity in the Marham Airdrome.  He was putting all the electricity in there, and that's why he was there.
        It was being built then.  He came from Warrington, that's up north.  (Algy and Paul were with you at this time?  -- yes, but Valerie was born in Chester.  That was during the time when
        he was in the army, because the war came.  In 1939, when the war started, and she was born in 1941, and he was in the army all that time, do you see. In the army, and he was over in 
        Alexandria (Egypt).  Wherever the war was, he was).

   To be continued ...          Re-printed by kind permission of Queenie's daughter, © Valerie DaSilva Curtiss 2020

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This page created 27 April 2020 [12 October 2009] & amended/updated 11:23 28/04/2020