The latter weeks of the Restoration Course heightened my fears about finding work, One of the students had been over to Portsmouth University and said that they had an Open day. I knew nothing about Degrees, none of my family and none of my friends had ever attended University, but hey, I had nothing to lose. Off I trotted.
As I stood in the foyer I began to think this was not a such a good idea. Then a woman swept into the room and asked if there were anyone interested in History and Theory. Well I liked history and when she called out ‘follow me’, off I went. I thought it was being taken on a tour of the college.
Valerie Swailes Head of Dept. invited me into her office and asked me to talk about myself. So I told her everything about the previous two years. I had one O Level, No A levels, high speeds in Shorthand and typing, a two year course under my belt. I needed to do something else because it was clear to me with the recession, this was not enough to find me a job I liked.
She paused, looked very thoughtful and then asked me to describe the last film I had seen. I thought this was odd. Never at a loss for words I told her about a film I had seen the previous night. About a coach full of women from all walks of life, travelling in USA. The coach gets lost, they are stranded and have to stay in a hut. The women are then forced to work together and share food and drink and the dynamics within the group changed dramatically. I cannot for the life of me remember the title, but would love to be reminded if anyone else can remember.
Valerie Swailes smiled and said ” If I offer you a place would you be prepared to work really hard?”. I said I would. She then said the magic words. ” I am going to take a chance on you Heather, you can start in September”. I still had no idea what I was about to take on, nor did I have any comprehension what the course had to offer. What I did know was I had been offered a life line. I could get a grant, I could survive. It was fate, I was in the right place at the right time.