Peggy's first memory was of a sunny day and being pushed in a pram by her
mother through the bustling streets of the town and along to the park. The
colour and movement and noise were not disturbing to the young girl but
entrancing. What a wonderful place this big world was!
Peggy loved Grantham. The comfortable bustle of the family's first shop
below their home, the ready availability of her parents and elder sister
Muriel, friends at Kesteven and Grantham Girl's School, kindly Rev. Skinner
from the chapel, and rambles through the hills overlooking the town.
Beatrice knew how much her younger daughter loved Grantham and how strong
minded she could be. She daren't leave matters until the formal
announcement at the dinner table that night and decided to have a quiet word
with Peggy while Alfred was still serving customers downstairs.
"I have some very exciting news dear and I need you to be brave. A man has
offered your father a good deal of money for his shops. At the same time a
wonderful business opportunity has opened up down in Essex. In a beautiful
town called Thaxted. Of course, it'll mean we'll have to move to Thaxted
but there are some lovely houses there. Isn't that nice?"
Peggy replied in the high pitched voice of a ten year old, "Thaxted sounds
like a horrid name. I'm sure I'll hate it."
Beatrice pressed on gamely, "Now Margaret. What have I said about jumping
to conclusions and making up your mind before you know all the facts? There
are some very good schools there. We've picked out one for you and Muriel."
"But I've already got lots of friends at KGGS."
There was an uncomfortable silence.
Beatrice forced a smile. "I'm sure you'll make lots of new...
Peggy's voice rose an octave. "If you'll just let me finish. I've got lots
friends at KGGS. And I've heard about southerners. They make fun of the
way you speak."
Beatrice spoke sternly. "Margaret Hilda Roberts, I've never known you not
to be able to do anything you've turned your mind to. If you want to speak
with an Essex accent then so you shall. Now, no more nonsense. And all
smiles when Father speaks of Thaxted at the dinner table tonight!"