Marilyn McGee has been widowed twice but counts her blessings. ‘I’ve been so lucky to have had two happy marriages,’ she says and plans to bring that positive spirit with her to Wadswick Green.
She hopes to entertain and bake for the new friends she will make. ‘If it’s a wet day and I can’t get out for my regular walk, I bake lots of cakes and biscuits and take them round to the neighbours. I like being wanted and useful. I don’t want to do everything for my own pleasure.’
She will be near Fleur, the eldest of her two daughters. ‘She’s just separated and I’ll be able to help with the grandchildren as I’ll be just five minutes away by car.’
Fleur was the child Marilyn, now 80, thought she would never have. She had become engaged to Paul, a schoolmaster, within two weeks of meeting at a badminton club in 1958. ‘I’m a very impetuous person and my father made me promise to wait until the following year. So I booked the wedding for the first Saturday – January 3, 1959.
‘The dressmaking classes I had at convent school stood me in better stead than all the Latin and Geography lessons. I made my own wedding dress for £5 – remarkable when I think of what my daughters’ gowns cost to buy.’
Marilyn, who had trained as a nurse, enjoyed her work running clinical trials for a research company but to her great sadness children didn’t come along. To her great surprise, after more than ten years of marriage, she discovered she was pregnant with Fleur and Lorna arrived 18 months later.
‘Then just four weeks after my youngest was born, Paul collapsed at school. He was diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer and was in and out of hospital for five years.’ Paul sadly died aged 42 in 1976.
‘My faith kept me going. Over the years there were men who were interested but I found it difficult. The girls rather resented anyone coming in and if they did like someone, I couldn’t get them out of the room.’
She met property finance director Terry, who attended her church, after dropping him a line to commiserate over the death of his wife. ‘Some months later he came for lunch and one of the girls said he had the hots for me – a revolting phrase. But he was the kindest man on earth and we married a year later.
‘We travelled all over the world and he used to say going away with me was a doddle. I’d got used to carrying my own suitcase. In his first marriage he holidayed with his six children, two au pairs and wife in a wheelchair. He died in 2011 some years after being diagnosed with colon cancer but he kept his spirits up to the end. He had a lot to live for including nine grandchildren.
‘We had a similar sense of humour and both loved cricket. I really miss not having someone to turn to and say: “Oh, great shot!” I am looking forward to meeting new friends at Wadswick Green as well as walking in the beautiful countryside. I do pilates which has kept me supple. I’m very active and still clean my own car.’
Marilyn has bought new furniture for her two bed flat with its open plan living space perfect for dinner parties. Although a specially commissioned shelving unit will showcase photos of family, including the two husbands she has lost, Marilyn says: ‘This is a new life and a new beginning.’
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