Ronald Basil Girdler
By now we had decided to get married, but I can't remember whether Ron asked me or whether it just occurred to both of us. We both knew that there would be a good deal of opposition to the match from both families. Mum said that although she thought Ron was a very nice chap, he was nevertheless not Jewish, and that could cause a lot of trouble in the future. I felt I knew Ron better than she did and I was convinced that the difference in religions would not become an issue. Having experienced Roman Catholicism at school and Judaism at home I had by this time lost all faith in religion of any kind, so it seemed a non-
Ron got a job in the research labs of Roche Products Ltd. a pharmaceutical company in Welwyn Garden City. Much against my and his mother's wishes he bought a motor-
We had very little money and we had some difficulty in saving enough for a deposit on a house. However we eventually found a two-
The wedding reception was to be at home and Mum had somehow managed to obtain some chickens -
On Friday August the 31st 1951, the day before the wedding, as Ron was returning from work at Welwyn Garden City on his motor bike, a baker's van came out of a side turning without stopping and hit Ron broadside on. He was seen by witnesses to "fly through the air" and landed on the opposite side of the road with his head hitting the kerbstone. He was not wearing a helmet -
I was in something of a daze and John came with me to the hospital where on our arrival we were told that Ron had just been taken to Theatre to be stitched up. John went into Theatre to watch what needed to be done. It appeared that there were no bones broken but seven stitches were required to a deep wound above the left eyebrow. We waited to see him on his return to the ward when he was still drowsy and it became obvious that he would be unable to continue with the wedding as planned. There was a good deal of cancellation of bookings to be done including Registry Office appointment and honeymoon arrangements. We had booked accommodation at a
hotel in Port Isaac in Cornwall. What Mum did with all the food she had prepared I do not know. I had of course taken two weeks leave from the Path lab which I now did not require, so I rang the chief technician and asked if I could postpone my leave and return to work in the meantime, but he refused even though I had explained the circumstances of my request. At that time we had only two weeks leave per year so it would have meant I would not have been able to take any time off later. I was very upset and rang the Pathologist who had been very helpful to me in the past. She was most sympathetic, and having had a word with the chief, rang me back to say that all was well and I could return to work and take my leave whenever we were able to re-
Ron was discharged from hospital on the Monday following the accident and I found him to be still somewhat dazed and sleepy for several days. He had an enormous bruise around his eye and a large abrasion on his left cheek. I sat by his bedside whilst he drifted in and out of sleep until his mother told me I should leave. However by the end of the week he was feeling much better and we decided to make plans for the following Monday -
We left Bournemouth after 10 days because Ron's sister Peggy was to be married on September 22nd, She had a white wedding and her reception took place at her home in Colindale. She and Gordon were to live with her parents after their marriage as they were unable to find a place of their own. Accommodation for newly-
Food and clothing was still rationed in 1951 and we had to make do with what was available. I had never done very much cooking at Mum's and apart from having watched Mum I really had little idea of how to go about things. I had been given a cheque from my colleagues at work which was sufficient to buy a set of aluminium saucepans so I had something to cook in. I don't recall ever having had to throw anything away as inedible so it can't have been too bad. I made quite a passable curry with a tin of Spam! Ron however had no idea how to cook , but he's learnt a lot since his retirement. We managed on our rations except for butter. Fortunately, our grocer had some "under the counter" from time to time.
Shortly after our marriage Ron applied for and obtained a Job at Kaylene Chemicals, a small chemical company in Cricklewood about three or four miles from home. He had become disenchanted with the train journey to Welwyn Garden City and with his boss at Roche Products with whom he had never been on good terms. He had done some interesting research work on lysergic acid there, and felt it was now time for a change.
Ever since my sixth form days at school I had been aware of stomach Pains from time to time, but had never considered them bad enough to find out the cause. However the pains now seemed to be getting worse, and were relieved only by taking food, usually a glass of milk. So I paid a visit to my G.P. and went to Edgware General Hospital for a Barium meal X-
At about the same time I had been seconded to St. Charles Hospital in Ladbroke Grove in London which was a largish hospital with a small Path lab and was part of the same Hospital Group as the Group Lab at Belsize Park. Whereas the latter was housed in a purpose-