God Was With Me

The doorbell rang and I opened it ajar. A strange man was there, so I closed it.

A minute later, the same person rang again and so, being a trusting person, I opened it. Before I knew it, the man had grabbed me. He forced me into the sitting room, stopping me from moving, and tried to grab my wedding ring, but it wouldn’t go beyond my knuckle.

I screamed.

I knew Simon who lives with my granddaughter upstairs was at home, as he was ill. He rushed straight down, in his pyjamas, with bare feet. He got a good view of my attacker, as he casually sauntered down the path. Simon dialled 999 and the police and an ambulance came. They urged me to go to hospital, but I didn’t want to go.

I will be 95 in February. My mother died at 43 when I was 20. I then took on looking after my younger sister and brother, even after getting married two years later. My father agreed to let Tom and me have two rooms in the house in Roupell St, Waterloo. I had left school at 14 and then worked at Marshall and Snellgrove. They would not keep me after marrying .

During the War, I was called up. I trained to be an inspector of quality in the nearby armaments factory. That lasted until I became pregnant. When Margaret was born, I looked after her. After the war we moved to Brixton and then in 1958, to Isleworth – in the flat where I still live. I did various jobs, including ones at the Hospital, in local shops and offices.

I have always been a part of St John’s, getting involved where possible. Tom died just over two years ago.

Margaret says I always bounce back. I was shaken after the attack, and I have had some panic attacks, but things are now better. During it, I know God was with me: I felt strong. And why was Simon at home that day – he is never ill?

Florrie Barker