What helped to form my character?

From my genealogy research I have discovered my ancestors were the first influences in the genes they handed down. I had a gardener, a lacemaker and a framework knitter. There were several treasurers and my father was treasurer of various societies, my mother always managed the household finances adeptly, and I have been treasurer of the local WI and PTA, whereas JW dislikes anything to do with accounts. Stangely when we traced some of his ancestors we found farmers and a journalist (and he thought he had decided on hos career in those two occupations all by himself!) The gene which propelled some of my ancestors to be village constables passed me by fortunately as I am only 5 feet tall 🙂 This one went to my brother as he was in the Met for a while.

The family environment I grew up in gave me my moral code, dislike of waste, fear of debt and sense of humour and general optimism. My parents had a dislike of dependency, injustice, intolerence,greed and envy, and I like to think I learned this from them.

My school gave me  the confidence to pursue my chosen career. If I had wanted to go to university there would have been no worries about funding as there were no tuition fees and a grant was made for living expenses, so no worries about carrying a debt for 30 years. Spending money was easily earned in the long holidays as there was plenty of temporary work available to students. When we made our choices I don’t remember anyone thinking about the salary they earned, we just wanted a job we enjoyed and felt was worthwhile.

My mind was broadened when I started nursing. I hadn’t realised what a sheltered life I had led until I met people from vastly different backgrounds from mine. I remember listening with amazement to two of the girls in my set talking disparagingly about their parents. My brother and I might have complained to each other in private about something my Dad had been strict about, but we would have defended him to anyone outside the family. We had this same loyalty to the hospital, our “set”, our doctors and our wards. I feel so sad when I read accounts of those in the profession now where they all seem to have been set against one another, hospital against GP, nurses against doctors, bureaucrats against everybody. This all seems to have come about since they introduced competition and market forces. It seems not to be the same service anymore just a market of customers (not patients anymore!) and the cheapest providers.

I was never very ambitious and never had yearnings to be a matron, I just wanted to be with the patients. If I had wanted to do administration I would have done business studies. This was understood then, but now that every other job seems to have “administator” or “manager”  in the description, I think you would be considered a bit odd, weak or incapable of anything better.

My horizons were broaden further when I did midwifery and met people from many nations and different cultures, when I travelled and lived abroad and through the usual trials and tribulations of life.

I have never been wealthy but some periods have been more affluent than others, but we always coped even in the lean times and have appreciated the more affluent times all the more.

I don’t think I developed a ruthless streak so never had yearnings to be a politician or business person. I just wanted a happy marriage and family life, a career I enjoyed and to stay independent, all of which I think I have achieved.

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