With my A levels in English and French, and the results I achieved at the end of this year in Spanish and Latin, I was successful in gaining exemption from the whole first year of Intermediate studies for an arts degree, and could start at the LSE (when I eventually got a place) at the beginning of the two-year Sociology course. Incidentally, I don't believe I could have passed the Latin set book exam without the help of the shorthand I had learned in the previous year. As we worked through the book translating it in class, I made a record of the translation in shorthand, and then attempted to learn the whole thing by heart. It must have done the trick! Now was the time for me to do the LSE entrance exam.
My own view of my performance in the exam was that it was pitiful - I already felt myself to be out of my depth with the questions that were asked. However, to my surprise, I was offered a place on the Sociology course starting in the autumn of 1947. To this day I wonder if any influence was brought to bear in my favour. My history teacher at school had encouraged and helped me to apply for a place, and before I came to take the entrance exam, he had, as it turned out, left the school and taken an appointment as a lecturer at the LSE. I thought a great deal of this teacher - the more so when he married my beloved biology teacher. He was not the sort of man whom I would have expected to do anything that was not utterly straightforward, but my confidence in my own performance was such that I almost have to believe that he did.
I had not relied solely on my hope of getting a place at the LSE, but had applied also for a Social Sciences course at Manchester University, and had gone up there for an interview. It is strange the things that stick in one's mind about certain occasions. I remember little of Manchester, the University or the interview, but I have to this day a brilliant picture in my mind of a shop window, where I spotted the very sandals that I had been looking for all summer, creamy white and gleaming, which I bore home with me with a triumph much greater than that of being offered a place shortly afterwards. There had been another pair of shoes which were a perfect buy, and which threw a lasting glow over my time in the secretarial college - brown leather and suede, with a two-hole lace-up in front and a small heel, both comfortable and smart. Then there were the blue and white lace-ups with chunky heels that supported me through the summer that I developed arthritis in my ankle, and could no longer wear flatties. But this isn't really about shoes .......!
I wish I had chosen Manchester. I think I would probably have understood the course subjects in Social Sciences, and would have adjusted happily to living amongst Mancunians, no doubt adopting the local vowels, as I did in Cheshire many years later. (I was a linguist by natural talent, after all.) I might actually have graduated, and who knows where my life might have gone. But I chose to stay in London and go to The London School of Economics, because I had met and fallen in love with Michael, the man I did not marry until nine years later, but to whom I remained married for 50 years, until he died just two years ago. The story of Michael is really a tale on its own, which may never be written here, but these notes cannot be written without him.