The Tale of Little Eskimo Nell

HatThe year was 1966 and I had just started my first job in a bank. I was shy of talking to people across the counter and I hated and was rubbish at Maths. You can see that it was not a match made in heaven. I had been interviewed at the Head Office of The Leeds Skyrack & Morley Savings Bank which was in Bond Street in Leeds City Centre and was told to report there on my first day. There were other School Leavers who were starting that day and we were told which branch we would be working at. Branch? I wanted to work in the City Centre!

I was to go to Armley which was the nearest shopping centre to my Wortley home. Now I must wait until my Manager arrived to pick me up. One by one the others were collected until eventually Mr Perry arrived. He was in his 30’s, so young for a Bank Manager at that time. He shoo’d me out as though it was I who was late to his car. It was a very old Volkswagen Beetle, the front seats were like  canvas slings!

I found the whole world of work bewildering and although Maths was  (and still is) a puzzle to me by the time I trudged home that evening I had worked out how many years and months I had to work until I was 60 and could retire. 44 years and 4 Months if you are interested.

As Summer turned into Autumn I bought a fur bonnet like the one in the picture. I wore it every day and it became my trademark. The other staff were predominately  young and male and one of them started calling me “Eskimo Nell”. I thought he was referring to “Little Nell” from Charles Dicken’s Pickwick Papers

152019825_-little-nell-a-charles-dickens-story-russell-dickens-. This gentle flirting went on for the next 2 years until I moved jobs and I always remembered it (and him) fondly. Just this week I saw this bonnet and told my husband the story. After he had stopped laughing he told me to look “Eskimo Nell” up on the internet. Nearly 50 years later I am still furious to find she was a harlot in a bawdy rugby song too naughty to print here.

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