ELIZABETH (ALKER) SMITH 1918 – 2012 – AN ORDINARY WOMAN LIVING IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES.
During the Great Depression, in the same 1936 year George Orwell was conducting his social study in Wigan, Lancashire, Elizabeth, just 18, discovered she was pregnant. She was an unmarried, only child, and this unfortunate news came after a traumatic few years when she’d lost all her close family members apart from her mum. Elizabeth’s situation was exacerbated by the fact her mum, Ellen, had also been ill for several years. Ellen was suffering severe breathing problems due to inhaling in the fibres prevalent in the Lancashire cotton mill where she worked.
Knowing she would die prematurely due to her poor health, Elizabeth’s mum dearly hoped her daughter would marry the young man from Liverpool she’d been courting, especially now she was with child. Fulfilling her request, Elizabeth and her young man, George Smith, from Liverpool, married right away. After their marriage, Elizabeth moved to Liverpool where her husband had found them lodgings. At last, she felt protected, less vulnerable should the worst happen to her mum.
She didn’t feel bad about leaving her mum in Wigan because she was not on her own. Her mum had taken in George’s family as lodgers a few years earlier when, due to the economic depression, George’s father had found difficulty obtaining work in Liverpool. He soon found a job in Wigan, and his wife and three other teenagers got on so well with Elizabeth’s mum, they all became really good friends.
Life seemed settled for both Elizabeth and her mum until just two short years later, a few weeks after Elizabeth’s twentieth birthday, her mum finally lost her battle for life. As if that tragedy wasn’t enough, eighteen months later, Elizabeth’s young husband, George, had to leave her when WW2 was declared. Now, she was totally alone except for her young child, in a strange, war-threatened city . She’d never felt so utterly bereft.
From her own autobiography, see how she fares in the war torn city of Liverpool on her own. Rooted in tragic events, her story also has lots of humour. Told in her own words, you’ll marvel at how her soldier husband got lodgings for her as he was stationed in various places around the country. Her experiences with the various landladies wasn’t always pleasant, but a wonderful family in Cambridgeshire became her surrogate family for a while. So much so, she stayed on with them while her husband moved elsewhere. She even put her young son in school there and found a job for herself. Those were brilliant times and you’ll laugh at her exploits in the jam factory where she had some memorable moments.
She was just an ordinary woman living in extra-ordinary times. A true-life story with a tragic start, yet it becomes rib-tickling funny in places. Why not give this autobiography a try?
For family historians with Lancashire ancestors, why not delve into this today? There are several back pages of referenced end-notes with linked family trees and many Lancashire surnames. GET YOUR COPY NOW!
#Lancashire #FamilyHistory #autobiography
A wonderful tribute to your Mom, Carole and a very readable and relatable story. I’m sure she’d be very proud of you.
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I would like to think she appreciated me publishing her story. Unfortunately, I only got the time to look into publishing it after she passed. However, I did give a printed version of it to the nursing home where she spent the last couple of years. It helped them see the person she was rather than the frail, anxious person she became and gave them key topics to talk about with her.