Kath Geary, nee McDermott
I was born in a council house in Latimer Road, the home of my grandmother and grandfather. My father’s parents, he too was born in Chesham. My mother came from Pontypridd in South Wales. She was in service in Amersham when she met my father.
My first one and a half years was spent in a house along the Vale, after that my father, who worked for Jesse Mead, was given a house on Moor Road. From there I went to Waterside Infant School, where the teacher I remember the most, was Miss Saunders. There was a large stove in the room, where our morning milk was warmed!
After three years I moved on to Townsend Road School for junior girls, and of course we all walked to school then and home again. Sometimes we walked through the avenue of elms in the park, in the autumn kicking our way through the fallen leaves.
At this time we were taken to the Moor Road swimming baths where I learned to swim. No heated water then! And we had to get in! Three of my teachers were Miss Keen, Mrs Aris and Miss Wheeler.
On Sundays from about 5-8 years old I went to Sunday School at Christ Church, Waterside, where Mr Summers was the vicar. He not only christened me but conducted my marriage ceremony too.
My next school was Whitehill Girls Secondary School, where Miss Dyer was a very strict headmistress, no bad thing! I loved being at school. I had Miss Shadclock for the first two years and Mrs Evans for my final year. Miss Chenels was our P.E. instructor.
When I left there at 14 years old I started work at the library of Boots. After a year and a half there I decided that I wanted to earn more money. I was getting one guinea a week. I started as a sewing machinist at the Chiltern Teddy Bear factory at the top of Moor Road. I was soon on to piece work, earning as much as £2.50 a week. This was a happy place to work. We used to sing along to the music. I stayed there until I was pregnant with my first child and returned a few years later when my children were old enough to be left with a friend.