Autobiography of Mary E Wilson (10) – Working Two Jobs – 1931

Mary E. Wilson

Mary is rather happy with her life at this point. She’s going to school, working and has begun dating.


          I was almost 20 when my mother finally decided to divorce my father. He had tried to commit suicide twice and tried to kill my mother once. I realize now my father was a really disturbed man and really should have been in a military hospital years ago. Being a British soldier and because he would not become a citizen of America, he could not qualify for any help in this country. So this time we got together enough money to send my father back to England. He hated this “G.D.” country – “.

My mother, at this time, took a job as an English nanny for the three children of a family in Fairfield. She really loved this job and my father did not know where she was. She loved the freedom and luxuries that came with her job.

We had taken a rent on 68 Edwin Street in Bridgeport where I kept house for my two brothers. So again, I was in charge of our house and my two brothers, worked all day in the G.E. , and cleaned and cooked for us. My mother did not come home at all because she was afraid of my father’s violent moods. Suddenly my father decided he would not return to England without my mother and began yelling again how he hated the “G. damned country” and insisted that he and my mother, minus my brothers and me, go back to England and make a new start in Britain. He could not find out where my mother was and became abusive with my brothers and me.

The police came because somewhere he had gotten a gun and started to threaten us. The outcome of this was the he spent two days in jail before he finally consented to return to England alone. My brother Arthur and myself took him to New York on the sailing date and we stayed right on the dock until the ship out of New York harbor. We did not hear from you for years but when England went into World War II we heard he enlisted again with the R.A.F. as a cook on the ground crew in London. I remember he sent me a tea cozy with the R.A.F. emblem on it but I did not answer his letter.

Later, I found out he had died in Egham in Surry, England, in February 1951. The vicar at St. Jude’s Church wrote me and said he had full military honors because he served in two wars and there was no one at his funeral. I thought that was very sad because he had a large family in England. My mother visited England in her late 60s and put a stone on his grave and paid for perpetual care. It seems so sad that a man’s life ended like that but I blame the war that ruined his life when he was so young.

My mother finally returned home and we moved to a rent on Read Street. I was then 20 years old and met a Swedish boy at Quilty’s Dance Hall. We finally, after six months, became engaged. Boris was a very ambitious man but he and my mother clashed from the very beginning. They were two strong-willed people who really disliked each other. When Boris brought me books to learn how to speak Swedish and started to take me to the Swedish church, my mother had a fit.

I was now working two jobs – the G.E. and for Dr. Nastri. Boris changed his job and took a position in the N. E. Optical Company which was next door to Dr. Nastri’s office. We went to night high school together. I took a course in nursing and he wanted to improve his English.

I had one very close girlfriend, Celso, and we both worked in the G.E. and I really loved her. She fell in love with my brother. Jim and she finally ran away and got married. I was delighted because now I really had a sister.

By this time, my uncle Ernest has served his time with the Coast Guard, married an Indian girl, they had one daughter, Doris. Francis, his wife, died in her middle 30’s so Uncle Ernest came to live with us with his daughter, Doris, who was two years old. He finally met and married another woman called Mildred. She was the typical mean stepmother and when Doris was five years old, she ran away looking for my mother but she did not realize she was in Boston; she was finally found. They moved back to Bridgeport and after another beating from Mildred she ran away again. She was missing for 24 hours. After the police found her and Dr. Charles Nichols had examined her, they turned her over to juvenile court and Judge Bert turned Doris over to my mother as her legal guardian.

So now we had another mouth to feed plus Jim and Celso. Jim was unemployed and Celso was pregnant. My mother then got a rent and bought furniture at a dollar down and a dollar a week at Leventhal’s. Jim finally got work in the garage and things calmed down waiting for their baby to come.

Next weekend, we’ll see what Mary is doing in 1932. Does her life continue as it is now or are there changes again?

Tomorrow I’ll begin posting letters written in 1943. Lad continues to train mechanics for the Army in Santa Anita and spend time with Marian Irwin when he ca,We’ll have news of other family members also.

Judy Guion

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