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  • ......sprouted from London 1967 (Winter)

    There I was, happily typing away; producing press releases for the man I adored; when I heard whispering and giggles between Mr P and his private secretary Valerie. I knew he had a wife and kids at home now.

    I had been told to finish the work, even if it took me all night. I did not relish travelling home in the Underground late in the evening but I persevered. As my back started hurting and my sight blurred over, I caught sight of the two of them, linking arms and tiptoeing down the corridor like two naughty children. I realised they were having an affair.

    They did not even have the courtesy of saying good night to me.

    I grimly finished an A4 page, and packed up to go home.

    The next day they did not mention abandoning me that evening.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two months later I had been accepted by the other secretaries and played canasta with them during lunchtimes, or running all the way down to Berkeley Square for lunch with my sister and marching up Old Bond Street to window shop.

    I was more confident and my appearance had improved considerably.

    In July Mr P took a week’s holiday with his family, and Valerie went off to Club Mediterranean. So I was left to man the phones and keep the office in order.

    When Mr P returned he was impressed by office skills and spent a while chatting to me about his projects and what he hoped to achieve. Valerie had returned from Club Med with dysentery and pined at home for a whole week whilst I basked in the glory of Mr P.s praise.

    When Valerie returned I was banished to a dark and gloomy room where a new hanging filing system had to be put in order.

    Later that year a new woman, Jean, returned to TI after a year’s absence and people started to treat me differently. As I was queuing up in the luxurious staff canteen for lunch, Jean shouted from the back of the queue.

    “Why don’t you go back to where you came from Jew.”

    I was shocked, I swung around looking to Valerie for support but she looked into the distance ignoring me. I did not know how to react so I pretended nothing had happened and ate my lunch alone, wondered what was happening.

    Bracing myself, I entered Mr P’s office the next day,

    “Yes, what is it Diane?” he asked.

    I told him what had happened.

    “There is nothing I can do about it. Mr Brown re employed her. I knew there would be trouble.”

    “In that case I am leaving now,” I told him and went home.
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