BRIDIE WAS OUR DAUGHTER’S babysitter for several years. She also collected her from school and looked after her until one of us returned from work. Although she was well over 80 when we first employed her, Bridie was a very sprightly, energetic woman.
She had been brought up in the wilds of western Ireland. Every day, she used to walk several miles over the hills to go to school. She moved to England as a very young lady. On arrival in Britain, she was at first given shelter by the Salvation Army. She had to promise them she would become teetotal. She kept this promise.
One day, Bridie told us an interesting story. When she was young before WW2, she worked as a maid for a Jewish family in north London’s Golders Green. She wore uniform. There was one uniform for daytime and a different one for the evenings.
When Bridie was not working for us or ironing for our friends, the Wilsons who had introduced her to us, she used to roam around London taking advantage of her free bus pass (given to Londoners over 60 years old).
One day, Bridie visited Golders Green. When she was waiting for a bus to take her home, an elderly gentleman in the queue said to her:
“Excuse me, but are you Bridie?”
“I am,” she replied.
“Well, you looked after me when I was a child sixty years ago”
Bridie realised that the man was from the family, for whom she had worked in Golders Green before WW2.
A bus approached. The man asked her:
“Are you getting on?”
Bridie nodded, thinking he had asked a different question. The man jumped on the bus, leaving Bridie standing by the bus stop. Had she heard his question correctly, he would have waited behind to reminisce with her: an opportunity lost for ever.
Ever since hearing about Bridie’s chance encounter, I have always considered her story as being rather sad.
Picture of Golders Green bus staion (Wikipedia)