Weeks 18-20: 30th April – 20th May 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in May 1961.

  • Betting shops became legal in the United Kingdom, permitting UK residents to place bets, through a bookie, on horse races without going to the track.
  • Former British diplomat George Blake was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment for spying, one year for the life of each of the 42 British agents who died after Blake had betrayed them. Blake had been the U.K.’s vice-consul in South Korea before being captured during the Korean War and spending three years in an internment camp, and was later caught passing secrets of the British Navy to the Soviet Union. He escaped London’s Wormwood Scrubs Prison on October 22, 1965, and eventually settled in Moscow.
  • At 9:34 am, Alan Shepard became the first American in space as Freedom 7 lifted off from Cape Canaveral. Shepard’s rocket, first of the Mercury program, reached an altitude of 115 miles without achieving orbit, and was recovered 19 minutes later by the aircraft carrier USS Lake Champlain.
  • Tottenham Hotspur F.C. defeated Leicester City 2-0 in the 1961 FA Cup Final before a crowd of 100,000 at Wembley, becoming the first team in the 20th century to win the English league and cup double.
  • The Nirenberg and Matthaei experiment was performed by Heinrich Matthaei. The Poly-U-Experiment enabled recognition and understanding of the genetic code. This is considered the birthdate of modern genetics.
  • The Soviet space probe Venera 1 became the first man-made object to make a “fly-by” of another planet by passing Venus. The probe had lost contact with Earth a month earlier, however, and did not send back any data.
  • Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev “quite unexpectedly” accepted a suggestion from U.S. President John F. Kennedy that the two leaders meet at a conference in Vienna to discuss the future of Berlin. Three weeks later, Kennedy and Khrushchev would shake hands in Austria on June 3.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 18Week 19Week 20

Sunday 30th April 1961
David (birthday). To Lotties.
Have had a very pleasant afternoon with the Lottes – home with two tired children about 8.30. Philip still has a slight cough & runny nose.

Monday 1st May 1961
Heard today that Christopher & Karen both have whooping cough! – poor kids. We were with them on Saturday so am wondering if our two will catch it. Letter from Edna today, also one from Joan & Mur.

Tuesday 2nd May 1961
Little Karen Roberts was taken to hospital today with whooping cough. Very rough day – we’ve been to the village this afternoon. Letters from Dad & Mother – in – law – so I’ve plenty to answer now.

Wednesday 3rd May 1961
Lie (birthday).
Nice sunny morning but a cold afternoon. Nothing of any import has happened. Gillian spent an hour doing her dolls washing this morning & I’ve had to iron it this afternoon. Am reading a good book – this months club – “Night without end”

Thursday 4th May 1961
Philip has started playing up in the evenings – cries as soon as I mention bed. He was really upset tonight. Haven’t done anything exciting today – bit of baking Very heavy thunder storms this evening.

Friday 5th May 1961
I’ve had an ache in my jaw all afternoon – just like toothache but the tooth doesn’t seem to be a bad one. Miserable me! I’m going to bed early.

Saturday 6th May 1961
Still aching – even though I’ve taken aspirin galore! We went to the dentist this morning but he ?cack couldn’t understand it as the tooth there is quite sound – So I have to suffer in silence. Have been to bed this afternoon leaving Cyril and the children watching the Cup final.

Sunday 7th May 1961
To Molly & Ted
Tooth still aching
Have had a good day at Watford – arrived 10.30 – left at 6.25! Children behaved well, mostly – I took them out for a couple of hours while Ted & Cyril had a snooze: Was nice seeing Molly & Ted again.

Monday 8th May 1961
Have done well today – I’ve had a much bigger wash than usual – its all dry & ironed (3.10pm) and I’ve also had a roast lunch!! Always such a lot to do after a day out! My jaw is still aching – but not nearly as bad as it was. Gale force winds.

Tuesday 9th May 1961
Had a surprise parcel this afternoon – with a nice coat for Gillian to grow into from Mrs Mac. Have just sent off a £1 for it. Not quite such a windy day today – and the children have been very good. We’ve been up to the village and my face still aches!!!

Wednesday 10th May 1961
Tried without success to get my tooth extracted – or at least an appointment this week. No luck – so it looks as though I must live with it a bit longer. Am wondering if my face spots are impertigo. Hope not.

Thursday 11th May 1961
I had a bad night. Really think I’ll have to go to the Doc tomorrow & see what’s wrong with my face!! Quite warm & Gillian is in a summer frock – & me. & Phil is in short sleeves. We’ve been for a walk to the village.

Friday 12th May 1961
Went to the Doctor this morning & my neuralgia turns out to be an attack of shingles in the mouth!! So am taking tablets. Not infectious but there is a remote possibility that the children may get chicken pox from it. Very hot day – deck chairs & tea on the lawn with the Roberts.

Saturday 13th May 1961
Very hot again – all been to L’head & Gillian now has the pool on the lawn. We all had our tea outside today – it has been so warm Philip loved playing in the pool & wasn’t a bit worried about the water! Shouldn’t think he will be any trouble on the beach – just as long as there is some water & sand he’s happy. Cyril has put in three rows of sprouts & some tomato plants.

Sunday 14th May 1961
Nice day again but not so hot as yesterday. Anne impressed us by coming over for an hour this morning. We took her back about midday so had a very late lunch. Have made sausage rolls & cheese straws for Mr. ?Gears cocktail party tomorrow.

Monday 15th May 1961
We took a picnic out on the Heath this afternoon but it turned out so cold I was glad to get home. Gillian insisted on having the picnic though! No letters.

Tuesday 16th May 1961
Fine day but still a cool wind We’ve been to the village this afternoon & after tea I mowed the lawns. Had to put the nippers in the bath again – they get so filthy. Letters from Joan, Mur & Mother – in – law today. My shingles are still with me – making my lips very sore.

Wednesday 17th May 1961
Blustery day – and quite cool. Hope it warms up for Friday as we’re thinking of taking the children to the coast for the day. Have done two days work in all – upstairs – & a big wash (which I’ve just ironed – 3pm) AND a toast lunch! Letter from Maggie.

Thursday 18th May 1961
Am feeling worn out. I took the children by bus & tram to Kingston & had both their hair cut! What an effort that journey is!! – and I was foolish enough to wear my best shoes. Philip very tired as he missed his sleep.

Friday 19th May 1961
We’ve had a lovely day out today – left here at 845 arrived W(est). Wittering at 10.45 after a couple of stops en route. Sun didn’t come out but it was warm – no wind. We cooked our lunch – and had a paddle. Philip loved the sea. Home at 4.30.

Saturday 20th May 1961
Have had a very busy day – washed (boiled) & ironed – Cleaned the house and baked. – Cyril went to L’head early & was home by 9.40 – he has had a very busy & hard day in the garden – the front is looking smart now – all ready for the Smiths next week!


Weeks 16-17: 16th April – 29th April 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in April 1961.

  • Thousands of troops began the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba as Operation Zapata got under way. The first group of a force of about 1,300 Cuban exiles made an amphibious landing at Bahia de Cochinos (“Bay of Pigs” in Spanish) on the southern coast. They had been trained by the CIA in Guatemala, then embarked in Nicaragua on four freighter ships escorted to Cuba by a U.S. Navy task force. A second group of attackers landed 35 km further northwest. The freighter ships and landing craft still unloading troops, vehicles and equipment were attacked by fighter-bombers and jets of the Cuban air force. By about 09:00, one of the freighters had been beached and another was then sunk. The surviving vessels withdrew to international waters. Four B-26 bombers had also been shot down. By dusk, the ground forces had retreated to the beaches, then surrendered or dispersed into neighbouring swamps. Cuba would take 1,189 of the invaders as prisoners of war and try them for treason. On December 24, 1962, the last group of 1,113 prisoners would be released in exchange for $53,000,000 worth of food and medicine.
  • President John F. Kennedy sent Vice-President Johnson, to whom he had delegated the job of Chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, a memorandum asking him to find out, “Do we have a chance of beating the Soviets” in the race to be the first “to go the moon and back with a man”.
  • U.S. Patent 2,981,877 was issued to Robert Noyce, founder of the Intel Corporation, as the first ever granted for an integrated circuit. Noyce’s application for “Semiconductor Device-and-Lead Structure” had been filed on July 30, 1959, after Jack Kilby’s filing on May 6, 1959, for “Miniaturized Self-Contained Circuit Modules and Method of Fabrication”, but was not approved until June 23, 1964 (and granted U.S. Patent 3,138,744) because it was more complex.
  • In order to prevent an atomic bomb from falling under the control of mutineering French officers in Algeria, France hastily detonated the last of its plutonium fission devices at Reggane in the Sahara Desert.
  • Luciano Pavarotti, a 25-year-old tenor from Italy, made his operatic debut, as Rodolfo in a production of La bohème at Reggio Emilia.
  • The green white and blue flag of the Dominion of Sierra Leone replaced Britain’s Union Jack as the former British colony for freed slaves became an independent nation. A British anti-slavery society had purchased West African land in 1787 from King Waimbana, and Britain created the colony in 1808. Sir Milton Margai took office as the nation’s first Prime Minister, and accepted the new constitution from Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who was appearing on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II. Opposition leader Siaka Stevens, who would become president when the Dominion became a Republic in 1971, was kept under house arrest until ceremonies were over.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 16Week 17

Sunday 16th April 1961
A good thing we did cancel the visit to Watford – or at least postpone it as Phil isn’t really fit yet & he’s not his usual happy self. We all went out into the woods this afternoon.

Monday 17th April 1961
Cyril at Waltham Abbey.
Dull morning but it cleared up & we’ve been out in the woods. Philip very miserable again – I’ve stopped the tummy medicine & put him on his tonic. Budget day but nothing for us – only against. Car Tax has gone up 20%!

Tuesday 18th April 1961
Hope its like this next Tuesday as its been a grand day, warm & sunny. We’ve been up to the village. Philip is much better tempered today. Letter from Joan also one from Lotts inviting us over on 30th.

Wednesday 19th April 1961
Saw Ruby Lummay at the clinic this afternoon with her very pretty baby. Dull day – not nearly as nice as yesterday. Letter from Mur – she doesn’t think she will be going to Ghana until August.

Thursday 20th April 1961
Dull day – the children have been very good – enabling me to do the washing and ironing before going out this afternoon. We’ve only been for a short walk and I’m toying with the idea of making some cakes before tea! (Yes I did make them)

Friday 21st April 1961
Didn’t  have much to do this morning having had a good day yesterday so we walked to the school this morning to enter Gillian’s name! The children are playing in the garden so we’re not going out this afternoon. May write to  Muriel.

Saturday 22nd April 1961
We’ve all been to L’head this morning – had a late lunch as I wanted to make a start on my baking (rolls & a rich fruit cake for Dad). Cyril did some gardening – but hasn’t been able to go out since lunch as its been pouring on & off since then – pity as its made the ground un-diggable for this weekend. Gillian & Philip aren’t very happy with having to stay in! Am going to wash my hair & have a bath this evening – I hope – if Philip settles. He didn’t last night.

Sunday 23rd April 1961
Cleaned & waxed the car this morning – only just finished it before the rains came. Its been very showery. Only a short trip to the woods this afternoon.

Monday 24th April 1961
Gillian has been very naughty today – and the climax came when she hit Philip across the head with a spade! She’s yelling now – haven’t been out – am preparing for the day out tomorrow.

Tuesday 25th April 1961
Cyril to Malvern for the day – us to Sedge(berrow)?
A dull morning when we left at 6.30 – arrived Joans 950. Gillian sick en route. It started raining about noon & poured the rest of the day. We enjoyed ourselves at Sedge though & left at 7pm – good run home in spite of rain – in at 10pm.

Wednesday 26th April 1961
Children very tired today. Phil has slept 21/2 hrs- & I had to wake Jill to go out! she slept from one til two fifteen! Dull & cloudy but I’ve dried the washing including the covers washed at Joans.

Thursday 27th April 1961
Cyril off today
Wel what do you know – we made it up to Barkers in Kensington High St. this afternoon & I bought 3 dresses (for £4.15.0.) also some tea cloths & towels! Home soon after five – we all enjoyed it very much.

Friday 28th April 1961
Cyril am. off.
We had a good night last night but Philip has been very miserable today – sneezing all over the place so it looks as if he might be starting a cold. Cyril went to Esher this morning – we had to have an early lunch ss he went to the office this afternoon.

Saturday 29th April 1961
Had a dreadful night with Phil last night – his cold & his eczema poor little fellow. Eventually I went into Jill’s bed with him & Cyril had Gillian in with him!
We all went into Leatherhead this morning – bought Gillian a pair of sandals – I took them out this afternoon while Cyril did some gardening.







Weeks 14-15: 2nd April – 15th April 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in April 1961.

  • The Soviet government approved sending a man into space on the April 12 launch of a rocket, and made a choice between the two remaining candidates for first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov.
  • Eddie Murphy, American comedian and actor, was born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Singer Barbra Streisand made her national television debut, as a guest on Tonight Starring Jack Paar. In TV listings, both of her names were misspelled, as “Barbara Strysand”.
  • At 6:00 pm in a conference room at the office of U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, President Kennedy convened a meeting to discuss final plans for the invasion of Cuba. U.S. Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas, who argued against the “Bay of Pigs” operation, was invited to participate at the meeting, which also included Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, CIA Director Allen Dulles, and three members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The meeting ended at 8:18 pm with Kennedy approving the mission.
  • The British passenger ship MV Dara exploded off Dubai. In the fire and in panic during the rescue, 238 passengers and crew died, while 565 were rescued. The ship sank two days later while being towed. A British Admiralty court concluded a year later that an anti-tank mine, “deliberately placed by a person or persons unknown”, had “almost certainly” caused the explosion.
  • Eight days before the scheduled invasion of Cuba, the CIA learned that the Soviet Union was aware that the attack would take place on the 17th. Even with the secret compromised, the CIA elected not to call off the operation nor to alert the participants. The information would not be made public until 39 years later, with the declassification of the Taylor Commission report.
  • At 2:07 p.m. local time (9:07 a.m. Moscow, 0607 UTC and 1:07 a.m. in New York), Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched from Baikonur, in the Kazakh SSR on the Vostok 1 rocket, and became the first human being to go into outer space. Gagarin made one orbit of the Earth before re-entering, and landed at 10:55 a.m., 15 miles southwest of the city of Engels in Russia’s Saratov Oblast.
  • The trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann began in Jerusalem. Eichmann, accused of more than six million murders, was found guilty on August 14, and hanged on May 31, 1962.
  • “MH-5”, the Materials Handling Committee #5 of the American Standards Association, approved the standard size for shipping containers now used worldwide, with dimensions of 8 feet high, 8 feet wide, and in units of 10, 20, 30 and 40 feet long.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 14 Week 15

Sunday 2nd April 1961
Mrs Mac (Birthday)
We’ve spent a very happy Easter Day & I enjoyed dressing myself & Gillian up & going to church this afternoon. She was very good during the afternoon. She was very good during the service
. Afterwards we all went for a walk in the woods.

Monday 3rd April 1961
Ted S. (Birthday)
Cyril left at 9am to fetch his Mum, Doris & Will & they were back here by 11.30. We’ve all spent a very pleasant day – although it has rained all day. Cyril took Doris & Will & Gillian out for a ride & has now taken them all back.

Tuesday 4th April 1961
Ellen de Jong (Birthday)
Damp & drizzley most of the day but we were able to get out for an hours walk this afternoon. All back to normal ater the long holiday! Philip hasn’t been too happy. Letter from Joan

Wednesday 5th April 1961
Showery again & very rough. We’ve been out for a walk to the clinic – Gillian wanted to ride in the pushchair all the way home so Phil had to walk! Packet of books from Edna this am. But no letters.

Thursday 6th April 1961
Nice day today & the infants have been out the biggest part of it – both filthy from the woods this afternoon so I’m going to put ’em in the bath now. Letter from Jane in Italy, & one from Mur.

Friday 7th April 1961
Daphne. (Birthday)
Dull day. I’ve tired myself out – and all the walls & paintwork in the kitchen have had a “flash down.” We’ve only been a short walk this afternoon.

Saturday 8th April 1961
All been to L’head this morning – & I’m now doing a bit of washing & my accounts while the children are out in the garden with Cyril. Don’t think I dare leave them much longer though!! I was right – I had to go to the rescue – so the three of us went as far as Weedons. Didn’t buy any sweets though – as I’m trying to slim as from Monday morning!!

Sunday 9th April 1961
Wet this morning – started raining as Cyril was washing the car so it didn’t get polished.
Gillian went to Lisa’s christening this afternoon – Phil & I met them afterwards

Monday 10th April 1961
Poor Philip is suffering from some sort of tummy upset & has several attacks of diarrhea – he is very poorly with it & so sore. If there is no improvement I shall take him to the Doctor tomorrow. He’s woken several times this evening. Dull day – very wet now. Has been rainy since 5.30.

Tuesday 11th April 1961
Philip very poorly all night with a high temperature. Dr Lyttle has been in today & prescribed M & B tablets – poor lad – he must stay in bed & have no food only drinks.

Wednesday 12th April 1961
History has been made today – the Russians have launched the first man into space – & returned him alive & well two hours later. Great jubilation in Russia!
Philip still looks very poorly & has lost a great deal of weight. He’s been down this afternoon but is washed out tonight & very miserable.

Thursday 13th April 1961
Philip had a good night last night but is still looking very poorly. Doctor L. came in this morning & says he is improving – cutting the M & B down to 6 hourly now. He is calling again on Saturday. Gillian behaving quite well considering we’re not able to go out.

Friday 14th April 1961
Phil doesn’t seem much better yet & is very irritable. He has been in bed all morning & went back for an hour after dinner Showery day. I’ve cleaned all the windows inside – & my slimming attempts have broken down today. Had some chocolate.

Saturday 15th April 1961
Philip is much better today – the Doc has paid his final visit – given him a couple of bottles of medicine – with the increased charge on prescriptions now – they have cost me 8/- this week. Lovely day. Cyril & Jill shopped in Esher – then this afternoon Cyril took Jill & Phil on the Heath while I went to the Jumble sale.







Week 13: 26th March – 1st April 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in March 1961.

  • Nine African-American students from Mississippi’s Tougaloo College made the first effort of passive resistance to end segregation in the state capital, Jackson, by walking into the whites-only main branch of the municipal public library. After beginning the “read-in”, the students declined to leave and were arrested by police. The next day, black students at Jackson State College marched to the city jail to protest the arrest of the “Tougaloo Nine”, and more demonstrations followed.
  • Actor Ronald Reagan gave a speech entitled ‘Encroaching Control’ to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. This speech was considered by some historians to be his finest and the moment his political career truly began.
  • Thunderball, the ninth James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, was first published, in a hardback British edition by Glidrose Productions.
  • U.S. President John F. Kennedy informed Congress that, as part of the proposed $43.8 billion defence budget, he was cancelling the Pye Wacket project, an experimental lenticular-form air-to-air missile, and the B-70 nuclear-powered airplane. Kennedy declared that “As a power which will never strike first, our hopes for anything close to an absolute deterrent must rest on weapons which come from hidden, moving, or invulnerable bases which will not be wiped out by a surprise attack,” and lobbied instead for ten additional Polaris nuclear submarines and an increased Minuteman nuclear arsenal.
  • Elvis Presley’s ‘Wooden Heart’ was No. 1 in the UK.
  • In rugby union, France defeated Wales 8–6 at the Stade Colombes to assure themselves of overall victory in the 1961 Five Nations Championship.
  • All 52 persons aboard ČSA Flight 511, a Czechoslovak State Airlines Ilyushin-18 airplane, crashed near Russelbach in East Germany after an onboard explosion.[63] The flight was on its way from Prague to Bamako, the capital of Mali, taking technicians and their families, half of them from the Soviet Union, to jobs in Africa.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 13

Sunday 26th March 1961
Summer Time Begins
Late getting up this morning –
owing to the clocks going forward. We’ve had another Sunday in! – in the garden. The children were quite happy playing out with the tent so Cyril got on with his digging.

Monday 27th March 1961
Week off for Cyril.
Fine but cold – Cyril has planted the gladioli & one row of peas – our first planting for three years! We’ve been out to Hampton Court this afternoon – the children enjoyed seeing the ducks – & the pretty flowers. Letter from Joan.

Tuesday 28th March 1961
We’ve had a nice day out – left home at 9.30 and went to Wittering – had lunch then on to the sands. We erected the tent and had a dig! – We had the beach all to ourselves. I wish Phil had been feeling a bit better – he has unfortunately caught my cold. Home at 4.15.

Wednesday 29th March 1961
Just as well we went to the coast yesterday as its been wet the biggest part of today. Cyril was out gardening all morning & this afternoon we’ve been over to Chertsey.

Thursday 30th March 1961
Have had a hectic morning in Kingston. What a crush everywhere. Bought shoes for me – skirt jeans & cardy for Jill, overalls for Phil. also had Jills hair cut. Didn’t get home until 1.10! – then the two went to sleep! Cyril went to L’head while I cooked the lunch. Made H.C. Buns this pm.

Friday 31st March 1961
Nice day – I’ve been doing a bit of everything – baking a cake & some Devonshire splits with the yeast I had left over. We had a ride out to Frimley this afternoon. Saw the Greens. Called on E’s but they were out. Home at 5.30.

Saturday 1st April 1961
Up earlier today than we have been all week – Cyril was off to L’head soon after 8.15 & home at 9.30. I’ve done Monday’s wash dried & ironed it in spite of a drizzling day. We had a run into Cobham this afternoon then all did some gardening – have iced an Easter cake this evening – you can’t see the cake for chickens – eggs & what have you!!!







Week 12: 19th March – 25th March 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in March 1961.

  • The Beatles; John, Paul, George and Stu (Stuart Sutcliffe), began the first of nearly 300 regular performances at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. Sutcliffe left the band after three months. Continuing with Ringo Starr on drums, the group’s final appearance at the Cavern Club was on August 3, 1963.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower was restored to the United States Army and to his rank as a five-star General of the Army, two months after completing his term as the 34th President of the United States. General Eisenhower had resigned his commission on July 18, 1952, after accepting the Republican Party nomination for the Presidency.
  • The Soviet Union lifted censorship restrictions, for foreign news correspondents, that had been in place since 1917. Except for two occasions in 1939 and 1946, non-Soviet reporters had been required to have their dispatches reviewed before transmission. Foreign office press director Mikhail Kharlamov cautioned that, although pre-approval of reports would no longer be required, foreigners were still required to keep copies of all dispatches for future review, and that persons who “circulated unfounded rumors about the Soviet Union” were still subject to expulsion.
  • A Mercury-Redstone BD rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on one final test flight to certify its safety for human transport. As with earlier Soviet tests, the American space capsule carried a test dummy. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 115 miles and was recovered in the Atlantic 8 minutes after launch. Stopped by Wernher von Braun from going, Alan Shepard had volunteered to take the flight, and would have become the first man to travel into space. Less than three weeks later, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin would, on April 12, would reach the milestone. Shepard would reach space, though not orbit, on May 5.
  • An American C-47 transport plane with eight men aboard disappeared over the war-torn nation of Laos after taking off from Vientiane toward Saigon. The U.S. Air Force did not announce the incident until two days later. The sole survivor, Major Lawrence R. Bailey, Jr., was captured and became the first American POW of the Vietnam Era. He would be released on August 15, 1962.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 12

Sunday 19th March 1961
Its been quite cold today – have had a few hail stones! – so we kept the children in this afternoon & been lazy! Gillian slept for a couple of hours after dinner. I’ve done the writing so can start on my knitting straight away this evening.

Monday 20th March 1961
Quite a fan mail today with letters from Dad, Joan & Ma-in-law. Joan is doing well with her driving lessons – wish I was. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever get to the wheel! Cyril gone to Welling this evening so will be late. Very cold day.

Tuesday 21st March 1961
Still cold but more sun today. Have been having a tidy up today. Cyril brought a bookcase back from his Mum last night so have put it into use & cleared out all of our old books. Have been to the village this afternoon.

Wednesday 22nd March 1961
Very cold and April showery. No letters & nothing has happened today, I mean nothing out of the ordinary. Rang Cyril this afternoon for a chat but Gillian howled so (temper) that I had to ring off! I think an early night is indicated for her!

Thursday 23rd March 1961
Bit better today – we’ve been out for a nice walk this afternoon & the children were both out in the garden this am. Letter from Mur this afternoon – she doesn’t think she will be going to Ghana for about 6 months.

Friday 24th March 1961
Finished Phil’s 3ply jumper in UNDER TWO WEEKS.
Fine & warm – did a big wash this am. – we had a family early lunch & then took a picnic into the woods – out at quarter to two – home quarter to five. Soon had the two in a much needed bath. Cyril’s bought them a tent & there was much excitement tonight when he erected it.

Saturday 25th March 1961
Olive (birthday)
up quite early & we all went to L’head – bought some wool to start Philip’s second jersey, the other one fits very well. I like the patterns. This afternoon I’ve done a few odd jobs indoors while Cyril has been gardening. The two were out there as well – and had to bath them again tonight!!



Weeks 11: 12th March – 18th March 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in March 1961.

    • Miami mobster John Roselli, who was assisting the CIA in its plans to assassinate Fidel Castro, met with a Cuban contact at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Roselli would testify before the U.S. Senate, 14 years later, about the delivery of money and poisoned pills for the contact to place in Castro’s food. Columnist Jack Anderson would break the story in his column of January 18, 1971. The CIA would acknowledge its involvement 46 years after the fact, with the declassification of documents in 2007.
    • One-hundred forty-five people in Kiev were killed in the Kurenivka mudslide, after a dam burst on the Dnieper River at the capital of the Ukrainian SSR. The disaster was not reported in the Soviet press until March 31, when it was referred to in Pravda.
    • At a meeting in London of the prime ministers of the British Commonwealth, Hendrik Verwoerd announced that South Africa was withdrawing its membership, due to continued criticism of apartheid, “the racial policy of the Union Government”.
    • A B-52F-70-BW Stratofortress bomber, with two nuclear weapons, crashed 15 miles (24 km) west of Yuba City, California after its crew bailed out. The two nuclear bombs were torn from the aircraft on impact, but did not detonate.
    • Albert DeSalvo was arrested in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while trying to break into a house. Confessing to be a sexual predator who had been nicknamed “the Measuring Man”, DeSalvo spent a year in jail. For 18 months following his release, thirteen local women were sexually assaulted and murdered. DeSalvo, arrested later in 1964, confessed to being the “Boston Strangler”.
    • The 18th Golden Globe Awards were held. Winners included Burt Lancaster (Best Actor – Drama), Greer Garson (Best Actress – Drama) and Spartacus(Best Film – Drama).

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 11

Sunday 12th March 1961
Mothers Day & I had a nice card & bowl of hyacinth from the children. We’ve had a busy day – chores inside, gardening, car cleaning & out for a ride for an hour! Am plodding on with Phil’s jersey!

Monday 13th March 1961
Lucy (birthday). Cyril to Bedford.
Cyril was away soon after 7.30. Phil doesn’t seem too well today, hasn’t eaten much & his gums are worrying him: we didn’t go for a walk. Have been working in the garden instead.

Tuesday 14th March 1961
Carolyn (birthday).
What a mess Gillian got in this afternoon – she hugged a telephone pole absolutely oozing with tar!- all on her best clothes! Its been a beautiful day & Philip seems to have been a bit less troubled with his teeth. Cards from Daddy this am.

Wednesday 15th March 1961
John (birthday).
Poor Gillian had a nasty fall this afternoon & has a bad graze on her knee. Very pathetic with it. Tried to ring Doris this afternoon but she wasn’t at home. Letter from Cyril – have just written him a few lines.

Thursday 16th March 1961
Lovely day – have done a big wash. Including hall & landing curtains. Rang Doris & heard Mum wasn’t at all well. We may go over during weekend. Been out in the woods all afternoon & am only just going to put children to bed 6pm.

Friday 17th March 1961
Timothy (birthday). Bill (birthday).
Not quite so warm today. there is a cold wind blowing up. Shall be glad to see Cyril this evening – heard today not to expect him before six. We’ve been out in the woods all afternoon.

Saturday 18th March 1961
Dip Booster Dr. L. 2.15
Stormy today – in fact we had a hail storm this afternoon, much to Gillian’s delight! We all went into L’head – Cyril has done a bit of digging. I took the children for their Dip Boosters & poor Philip has reacted all ready – at 6.15 he was very feverish & miserable. Have given him a Disprin. I had a few minutes in the Jumble sale – with Gillian!!!






Weeks 9 to 10: 26th February – 11th March 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in February and March 1961.

  • Professor Henry Kissinger of Harvard University was appointed by President Kennedy as a consultant to the National Security Agency. The 37-year-old Kissinger, who would later serve as U.S. Secretary of State for two Republican Presidents, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, had been the author of the 1958 book Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy.
  • Uganda became self-governing by holding its first general elections a year in advance of full independence. With 90% of the 1.3 million eligible voters participating, the Democratic Party, led by Benedicto Kiwanuka, won 43 of the 81 seats in the National Assembly. The Uganda People’s Congress received more votes overall, but won only 35 seats.
  • At the age of 79, artist Pablo Picasso married 35-year-old Jacqueline Roque. The two remained together until his death in 1973.
  • Elsie May Batten, a 59-year-old shop assistant and wife of famed sculptor Mark Batten, was found stabbed to death with an antique dagger at the London curiosity shop where she worked. Her killer, Edwin Bush, was the first British murderer to be caught by use of the Identikit facial composite system.
  • The first U.S. Polaris submarines arrived at the new submarine base at Scotland’s Holy Loch, as the nuclear missile bearing USS Patrick Henry sailed past protesters and in alongside its tending ship, USS Proteus, to begin a two-year mission.
  • Sir Thomas Beecham, the English conductor who founded the London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic orchestras died aged 81.
  • Plans for an invasion of Cuba were presented by CIA official Richard M. Bissell, Jr. for the approval of President Kennedy. In a meeting attended by the President, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, CIA Director Allen Dulles, and General Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, Bissell outlined the proposed “Operation Trinidad”, with an invasion force storming the beaches of Trinidad, Cuba by sea and by air. Kennedy rejected the plan as “too spectacular”, and directed Bissell to come up with a less obvious placement of troops. Only four days later, Bissell had drawn up a new plan, with the force to strike at the Bay of Pigs within a month. “The Kennedy team was impressed,” one historian would say later, “when they should have been incredulous.”


And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Week 9 Week 10

Sunday 26th February 1961
A fine morning. I was up early enough but I didn’t seem to get on very well! Cyril had a couple of hours in the garden & after lunch we set out to take the children in the woods, but it rained very hard so we only had a short ride round.

Monday 27th February 1961
Dry morning so I put out the washing – unfortunately it started pouring with rain and has been  doing so all afternoon. We haven’t been out. Gillian has been complaining of tummy ache again this afternoon. No letters. Am just going to do a bit of ironing.

Tuesday 28th February 1961
Fine morning – and I was able to get cracking with the work. Mrs. C. took Gillian out for 1 1/2 hrs. This afternoon too she took over G. while I took Phil to Esher. Bought him a pair of shoes! I was worn out by the time we got back!

Wednesday 1st March 1961
Cyril to Helston.
All on my own tonight – its been fine & warm this afternoon. We went to the clinic & made arrangements to have the children innoculated (Booster Dips) on Saturday. Have put a fruit cake in the oven.

Thursday 2nd March 1961
Lovely spring like day today. Children out in the garden early then Phil slept for about 2 1/2 hrs! We’ve been up to the village this afternoon. Have been able to dry all the washing outside. Haven’t had any news from Mur yet.

Friday 3rd March 1961
Beautiful again – unfortunately the children have both woken up with colds. Have been for a nice walk in the woods. Had hoped Mur would pay us a visit but a letter from her today says she is going to Malvern next week.

Saturday 4th March 1961
Booster Dips 2.15 Dr Lyttle
Had to cancel the innoculations owing to heavy head colds. We’ve all been into L’head & Cyril insisted I bought a dress – did very well – dress & jacket in sage green with white ?dogs! Very nice too. We have have crowded a lot into today. Gardening, shopping, walk in the woods & baking. I was at it until 9.20 – getting ready for tomorrow. Beautiful weather.

Sunday 5th March 1961
Family gathering. Grace.
Another glorious day – we were up early – not from choice!!! I took the children part way down to the village to meet the visitors. Have had a very pleasant afternoon – Lottie’s Dodger & Greenie & Mr & Mrs Devonal & Susan. They all left soon after eight.

Monday 6th March 1961
Beautiful day – and the spinner is repaired! Had a small parcel of old clothes from Mur for Gillian also letter from Dad. Cyril will be late tonight as her going to Welling to lay some lino for his Mum. Have had a nice walk in the woods.

Tuesday 7th March 1961
Good news today in Joan’s letter Rob & Margaret have a daughter born yesterday. No detail yet but we’ll probably hear in a day or two from Mag. Not such a nice day. No sun but quite mild. Have been to the village –

Wednesday 8th March 1961
Went to the clinic this morning & Miss P advised me to take Philip to the Doctor because he has an abcess on his gum. Lovely day, we’ve been out in the woods all afternoon. Cyril came home early & we’ve been to see the Doctor: he has prescribed penicillin. Am going to write to Dad. Joan now.

Thursday 9th March 1961
Cyril (birthday)
Lots of birthday cards for Cyril this morning, much to the nippers delight! We had a nice surprise too this afternoon – off out for a walk & met Cyril coming home – so we all went into Esher & bought him a tie & suspenders for his birthday!!

Friday 10th March 1961
Andrew (birthday)
Not a very good day to begin with but it has cleared up this afternoon. We’ve been out for a short walk. Nothing much happened. Just had a letter from Mur – Dave goes on Tuesday & think Mur is staying in Ripon.

Saturday 11th March 1961
Marion (birthday)
We’ve had an exciting morning – going into Esher & looking at plans of new houses going up for sale on this estate. We’ve put our mark on one – & now we’re hoping we shall be able to economize a bit & have some money saved by the time they are ready – 1962! It will be something to save for & I feel very enthusiastic about it. From there we went on to Hasham & bought a Nigelia for Cyril’s birthday. Am going to start a jersey in 3 ply for Philip!!!




Weeks 7 to 8: 12th February – 25th February 1961

Here’s what was going on in the world in February 1961.

  • Eight days after launching the seven ton Sputnik 5, the U.S.S.R. used the orbiting satellite as a launch platform from which to fire a rocket carrying the interplanetary space probe, Venera 1, towards the planet Venus. Contact with the satellite was lost after it traveled 4,650,000 miles, but the probe came within 62,000 miles of the second planet, and is believed to still be in orbit around the Sun.
  • Sabena Flight 548 crashed as it was approaching Brussels on a flight from New York City, killing all 72 people on board, including all of the United States figure skating team and its coaches. It was the first fatal crash of a Boeing 707 passenger jet.
  • Led by British author and activist Bertrand Russell, the Committee of 100 and a crowd of 5,000 people staged a sit-down protest at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, London, demanding that the U.K. call off its agreement to bring nuclear missiles to the British Isles.
  • Duncan Carse was dropped off alone at the British Antarctic island of South Georgia, for an eighteen-month attempt to become a latter-day Robinson Crusoe. HMS Owen brought him to the uninhabited south side of the island with 12 tons of supplies and a prefabricated hut, at Ducloz Head. The hut and much of the supplies would be swept away by a wave on May 20, forcing Carse to survive on what he had been able to save. He would finally be able to signal a ship, the Petrel, on September 13.
  • The last public trams in Sydney, Australia, ceased operation, bringing to an end the Southern Hemisphere’s largest tramway network.
  • A total solar eclipse was visible in parts of the Northern Hemisphere from France to the Soviet Union, with the Black Sea port of Rostov-on-Donbeing the midpoint of greatest eclipse.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Sunday 12th February 1961
Gave the car a good clean & polish this morning. Then went for a ride to Bushey Park this afternoon. Gillian played up though as she didn’t want to leave the amusements.

Monday 13th February 1961
Renee (birthday).
Cyril at Farnborough this week. Travelling daily. Quite a nice day – we were out from 2 – 3.45 – had a walk in the woods & saw several squirrels. Then to Jill’s delight we had 1/4hr in the recreation ground, on the swings! Cyril home early, about quarter to six. Another very good night.

Tuesday 14th February 1961
A lovely day – no wind & quite warm in the sun. Temperature has reached 65 in London. We’ve been out for a couple of hours – Philip enjoys a walk now. Letter from Joan.

Wednesday 15th February 1961
We saw an excellent picture of the eclipse of the sun on T.V. this morning – the best picture came from France. Its been a very damp dull day – such a come down after yesterday. Have to make arrangements for Gillian’s Diptheria Booster.

Thursday 16th February 1961
Hilary Lemon.
Letter from Olive today asking us over tomorrow so have given her a ring confirming it – we shall be early arrivals as Cyril leaves at 8am. Wonder what he will say about it. Damp & dull today. Letters also from Mur & Geoff.

Friday 17th February 1961
Eileens 11 + ??am
Have had a very nice day out at Frimley. We went with Cyril & arrived at Olive’s at 9am. I’ve really enjoyed myself & the childern were very good. Home at 5.10pm – I’ve baked & ironed since then & knitted.

Saturday 18th February 1961
Had a good night’s sleep last night. Cyril has been to L’head & Esher this morning while I’ve been attending to the chores. This afternoon we set off for Welling – & have had a very pleasant afternoon. Found them all well & Mum determined to go home in a few weeks time. I can’t think how she will manage. I had an hour in Welling – round the shops. Home at 8pm.

Sunday 19th February 1961
Lotts to tea
Bruce Andrews B’day
A lovely spring like day – Cyril has been gardening this morning while I’ve been preparing for our visitors. The Lotts arrived about 3.30pm & have just left – 8.40pm. We’ve all had a very pleasant day – G & P been good too.

Monday 20th February 1961
Another beautiful day. The washing isn’t all dry yet though – I’m still without a spinner! We’ve been wandering in the woods this afternoon. I should think Gillian & Philip are very tired – they were both in the garden this morning. The ?rose prints have come from Dad. Very nice.

Tuesday 21st February 1961
Very dull & cold today – we’ve been up to the village but I was glad to get in – its so cold. Philip has been very miserable today. Nothing much happened – letter from Dad. All well at home.

Wednesday 22nd February 1961
to Lotts for the day. Car for C. Service today.
Left with Cyril at quarter to eight this morning so arrived at Lotts for 8.05!! Have had a very nice day. We went into Hounslow & had a good shop fuddle! Have at last bought a dress to send to Edna for Valerie! Children have been so good. Geoff brought us home – arrived here 4.40pm.

Thursday 23rd February 1961
Almost looks like snow today – we’ve had very little sunshine. Went for a long walk in the woods this afternoon. Phil is a monkey when he has to go back in the pram.
Very Bad Night With Both.

Friday 24th February 1961
Wet today – the first rainy day for some time. I’ve done some washing & dried it between showers – we haven’t been out this afternoon so I did some ironing Have had a shocking headache all day.

Saturday 25th February 1961
Pouring with rain when we got up Cyril took Philip down with him to light the fire – & I had a lay in until quarter to eight!!! Lovely it was. This afternoon went out for an hour to the jumble sale – lot of junk there!
It cleared up about 3.30 so the children had 1/2hr in the garden and Cyril moved the raspberries.




Week 5 to 6: 29th January – 11th February 1961

A new year begins. Here’s what was going on in the world at the beginning of 1961.

  • Five days after arriving in New York after hitchhiking from Madison, Wisconsin, 21-year-old musician Bob Dylan met his idol Woody Guthrie. After hearing Dylan sing, Guthrie is said to have remarked “He’s a talented boy. Gonna go far.” Dylan settled in Greenwich Village and found fame in the protest folk music scene.
  • Disenchanted with life in the Soviet Union, American defector Lee Harvey Oswald wrote to President Kennedy’s newly appointed U.S. Secretary of the Navy, John Connally, to ask for a reversal of his dishonourable discharge from the United States Marines. The letter was never acted upon, and on November 22, 1963, Oswald would shoot both Kennedy and Connally.
  • Hermann Höfle, an Austrian born member of the Nazi Party who had overseen the deportation of Poland’s Jews to extermination camps, was arrested in Salzburg shortly after being identified as a war criminal by Adolf Eichmann during Eichmann’s war crimes trial. For nine years, Höfle had been working at his pre-war trade as an auto mechanic and was working at the Salzburg water department at the time of his arrest. His crime confirmed in the 1943 “Höfle Telegram”, in which he bragged of exterminating a total of 1,274,166 Jews in four camps during Operation Reinhard, Höfle would hang himself in a Vienna prison on August 21, 1962 before he could be put on trial.
  • The push-button telephone was put into public service for the first time, as Bell Telephone test marketed its “Touch-Tone” service for its customers in the cities of Carnegie, Pennsylvania and Findlay, Ohio.
  • At Wailuku, Hawaii, Stanley Ann Dunham, an 18-year-old student at the University of Hawaii, married Barack Obama, Sr., a 25-year-old graduate student from Kenya. Six months later, their son, Barack Obama, who would become the 44th President of the United States, was born in Honolulu.
  • Movie actress Marilyn Monroe voluntarily checked herself into the Cornell University Medical Center (under the pseudonym “Faye Miller”) after being driven there by her psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kris. Admitted on the premise that she would be treated for exhaustion, Monroe was instead taken to the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic and found “the worst fear of her life come true”, being locked inside a padded cell. After three days, she was permitted to make a phone call and reached her ex-husband, baseball star Joe DiMaggio, who flew to New York City and effected her release.
  • George Low, NASA’s Chief of Manned Space Flight, and his task group submitted their report, A Plan for a Manned Lunar Landing for consideration by U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
  • The Beatles at The Cavern Club: At lunchtime, The Beatles perform under this name at The Cavern Club for the first time following their return to Liverpool from Hamburg. 

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Sunday 29th January 1961
A filthy day. It hasn’t stopped raining & blowing gale force winds! Needless to say we haven’t been out – had a dirty (didn’t change!) lazy afternoon. I did ?turn the cuffs on one of Cyril’s shirts! Children have been very good.

Monday 30th January 1961
A better day today – at least it hasn’t rained & I’ve been able to put the washing out. don’t know if I’m sickening for flu – but I ache all over – sore throat too & I’m feeling so tired. Letters from Molly & Dad.

Tuesday 31st January 1961
Hairdresser for Pam 9.30
I went to bed at 6.30 last night with a temp of 101 (38.3°C)! Never thought I would get to the hairdresser today – but I did! Cyril had the lunch ready – took & fetched me (with both nippers!) We’ve also been into Esher & Kingston – bought shoes & boots for Jill – shirts etc for Cyril.

Wednesday 1st February 1961
Still feeling rotten & full of cold – early bed again last night but up several times to the children. Cold but dry today – I’ve done the wash & iron – in case I go up early again! Letter from Joan & one from Lotts saying they are coming on Sunday. Only been as far as Weedon’s today.

Thursday 2nd February 1961
Filthy morning but I carried on with the washing & praise be I’ve dried most of it outdoors. Poor little Phil has been sick this evening and is very flushed. I’m beginning to think he has flu – I do hope he’s not going to be very ill with.

Friday 3rd February 1961
Philip had a very high temperature 103 (39.4°C) last night – then this morning Gillian succumbed to the bug & they are both ill. Dr. Glover has been in & prescribed penicillin for Phil & linctus for Jill – she is being sick quite a lot. I have Gillian on the sofa & Phil up in his cot – Jill should be in bed but she was so miserable up there. Poor kids – they both look so poorly.

Saturday 4th February 1961
Welling? Cancelled.
Wretched night again last night – but at least the children have stopped being sick. They are keeping down drinks & Gillian has had a finger of toast this morning. Cyril has been taken with the bug now & is looking very poorly.
8.20pm – Philip came down for a couple of hours this afternoon – he is much better – Gillian has improved too. Cyril has been in bed since 1.30 – his temperature is 102 & he’s feeling very rough. I’ve just had a bath – almost my first sit down today. Have washed & ironed! Very blowy day.

Sunday 5th February 1961
Lotts to tea? Cancelled
A funny sort of Sunday – Cyril got up at lunchtime but went back to bed. Gillian keeps wanting to go with him. We had a boiling ?fowl for lunch but no one wanted much. We were all bed before 9pm!!

Monday 6th February 1961
Dr. Glover came in today and has given Cyril a certificate – the first one he’s had for years and years! Philip’s ear has cleared up so he’s to come off penicillin: he has a rash on his face today – just wonderful if that is a penicillin allergy! Letter from Joan.

Tuesday 7th February 1961
Doris (Birthday)
Cyril has been on his feet a bit longer today but he isn’t fit yet. The children aren’t well either. They both have very nasty coughs. I went up to the Village this morning. Have written to Dodo tonight & Rie Hoevemann.

Wednesday 8th February 1961
Poor Gillian was coughing half the night last night & is very listless today. She has lain on the sofa hardly bothering to speak. Cyril is up and about and is going into the office tomorrow – against my advice. I’ve written to Alice Goff & am pretty well up to date on my writing.

Thursday 9th February 1961
Gillian had a more restful night last night & seems a little better today. At least she is drinking & taking more notice. I’ve had a busy day – washed the kitchen curtains – also bathroom & toilet. Just written ?to Mur

Friday 10th February 1961
Not a very nice day. Neither with weather all children. Gillian is very niggley & has been crying on & off most of the day. Philip isn’t much better. Have done a big wash but it hasn’t dried very well. Shall be glad when these two are asleep in bed.

Saturday 11th February 1961
Mick (Birthday)
We had a good night last night – Phil woke up about 5.30 – so I had an early bath. We all went into L’head as it was a nice morning. Gillian & I did the shopping. Cyril has been gardening – I’ve baked & been out with Phil this afternoon. The nippers had their first bath for a fortnight & were down early tonight so I’m going to write a couple of letters and then knit.




Week 1 to 4: 1st January – 28th January 1961

A new year begins. Here’s what was going on in the world at the beginning of 1961.

  • Australia became the second nation to permit the sale of the birth control pill, and the first to allow the Scherer oral contraceptive, with brand name of Anovlar. The G.D. Searle pill Enovid had been permitted in the United States in May 1960.
  • East Germany’s Chancellor and Communist party chief, Walter Ulbricht, held a secret emergency meeting of the Politburo of his Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the SED, and told his fellow party leaders that East Germany’s own economic failures accounted for 60% of the departure of East Germans to West Germany. He warned the SED that the nation needed to take action to fix housing shortages, low wages, inadequate pensions, and the six-day workweek before the end of the year. Ulbricht also criticized East German schools, pointing out that 75% of the people who left were younger than 25. Most importantly, he created a task force to stop the loss of refugees; the solution would come in the form of the Berlin Wall and the heavily-guarded border in August.
  • John F. Kennedy was formally elected as the 35th President of the United States, as a joint session of the U.S. Congress witnessed the counting of the electoral vote. U.S. Vice-President Richard Nixon, who had opposed Kennedy in the 1960 election, formally announced the result, saying, “I now declare John F. Kennedy elected president.” The results were 303 votes for Kennedy, 219 for Nixon, and 15 for U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr..
  • The Professional Footballers’ Association, of England and Wales, called off plans for a strike in the middle of the 1960–61 Football League season. PFA director Jimmy Hill had threatened the strike after The Football League refused to lift a salary cap that limited even the best players to no more than £20 per game (equivalent to over £450 now). The Football League relented, as “the threat of a strike effectively finished the era of the maximum wage”.
  • Berry Gordy’s  Motown Records signed The Supremes to their first recording contract.
  • John F. Kennedy took the oath of office as the 35th President of the United States. For the first time, the event was shown on color television, pioneered by the NBC network.
  • In Sheldon, Iowa, bank teller Burnice Geiger was arrested after federal bank examiners discovered that she had embezzled money from the Sheldon National Bank. Initially, audits showed more than $120,000 missing over a three-year period. Mrs. Geiger admitted to stealing a total of $2,126,859.10 — an American record to that time, equivalent to $14 million fifty years later. Sentenced to 15 years in prison, she served five, and lived until 1981.

And here’s what was keeping Peggy busy:

Sunday 1st January 1961
Had a lie in this morning – until about eight. Philip woke at 5 but went back to sleep. Its Dick & Phyllis 10th wedding anniversary & we’ve been over to theirs for tea. Cyril was a bit poorly before we left – he seems better now though.

Monday 2nd January 1961
Dull & showery this am. but I put the washing out for an hour. Cyril went back to it this morning – his tummy seems better. We couldn’t go out this afternoon as it was pouring with rain – so we took the decorations down!

Tuesday 3rd January 1961
Cold & showery – had hail shower this morning. I’ve had a day of reckoning on the living room – & how dusty it was. I thought I would never finish. We’re certainly back to normal now – have been to the village for fish & meat! Letters from Jackie & Joan. Cyril late home – meeting – unexpected & missed two trains.

Wednesday 4th January 1961
A bitterly cold day – we’ve been to the clinic – only for C.L.O. (cod liver oil) & Orange Juice. Two more greetings cards today from Holland. Which has ?.. our total up to 77. Highest ever. Gillian took her pram today it has been a slow cold walk. Rang Cyril at 2.45 but no reply. Long lunch hour???

Thursday 5th January 1961
Cold, sunny & dry this morning – Gillian spent a big part of it in the garden. This afternoon we’ve been to the village. Philip walked part of the way home.

Friday 6th January 1961
We went out this morning to see about the non appearance of the Papers. Had to wait nearly 1/2 hr for the phone box as I had to ring Cyril. Also lost Phils gloves. So it wasn’t a very good morning Letters from Dad, John & Jan.

Saturday 7th January 1961
We were out with the lark this morning and into Kingston by 9.15 what a crowd at Bentalls for the first day of their sale. It was a free for all!! I joined in & got a couple of pairs of pyjamas for Gillian & a Kamella tweed coat for Phil for 42/6 – very nice too it is. While all this was going on Cyril was in the hairdressing department getting the childrens hair cut. Philip has had his first short back & sides & looks a real lad!!!

Sunday 8th January 1961
Had a surprising visit from Olive Valerie & Pete for half an hour this morning. We’ve had a nice afternoon – decided to look up the Lotts – & found they only live 10 miles away – no time at all in the car. It was very pleasant seeing them again. Late night Mrs C came in and we played cards.

Monday 9th January 1961
Frosty morning – not much drying. This afternoon we’ve been for a walk to the village. It was cold & wet though so not very pleasant Letter from Joan.

Tuesday 10th January 1961
Cold & wet and my spinner has gone wrong. SEEboard came to look at it but he hadn’t the spare part needed. We’ve been up to the village – Gillian is a bit better behaved today but only a bit. Letter from Jim!!!

Wednesday 11th January 1961
Nice cold & frosty morning. The spinner is back in action. (T.G.) Went out for an early walk – Met Mrs Roberts with her three & we all came back for a cuppa. Letter from Mur. Am going to knit ???? !!!

Thursday 12th January 1961
Gillian & I have been baking this morning! – she made some biscuits for Daddy!! Quite a nice day. We’ve been to the village this afternoon and met Mrs. Roberts and we joined forces.

Friday 13th January 1961
Damp today – we had a good night’s sleep – Phil didn’t rouse until 6.30. He hasn’t eaten much again today. Still having trouble with these teeth. Have a load of ironing tonight so am going to bath and shampoo Gillian before tea.

Saturday 14th January 1961
We went – all of us – into Esher & Leatherhead this morning – not a very nice day – cold & damp. Cyril did some gardening this afternoon while I took the children for a short walk. Afterwards I had a go at washing the car – but didn’t do a very good job of it! Letter from Mum today which she wrote herself.

Sunday 15th January 1961
Rob (Birthday).
It will take me a long time to let Cyril forget this – besides washing the car yesterday I polished it today & cleared out the interior – looked very nice too – we went out for half an hour this pm – mainly to post Robs card.

Monday 16th January 1961
The wretched spinner has gone wrong again & I haven’t liked to use it too much so theres very little washing dry yet. ?Fine cold day. Letter from Mur – talking of the possibility of Marg having twins! Heaven help them all!!!!!!

Tuesday 17th January 1961
Oh dear – I’m likely to be without the spinner for a fortnight – a bearing in the motor has gone. It also looks like being a pricey job. Damp & cold – we’ve been as far as the village – letters from Joan & Anne.

Wednesday 18th January 1961
Celia (Birthday).
Nice windy morning so I was able to wash & dry the woollies. Quite a large mail this morning with letters from Rob & Dad & some travel folders for Cyril. He fancies a holiday in Brittany!

Thursday 19th January 1961
Had a rotten night with Phil last night I am feeling the effects of it today! Got soaked on our short walk this afternoon. Pleasant surprise – parcel from Mum containing 2 prs nylons for my b’day! Cigs for Cyril sweets for children.

Friday 20th January 1961
Phil had us awake from 4am. – consequently I wasn’t too cheerful on rising! – and the eve of my 40th too!!! Cyril went off in a huff! I’ve dried some of the washing round the fire – went for a walk & had to push Jill’s pram back!!

Saturday 21st January 1961
My b’day
Had a bumper mail this morning – 13 cards (very amusing some of them – harping on my 40 years!!) & a pair of nylons from Greens. Cyril bought me a dozen tulips last night and is paying for a hair do at the month end. We all went to L’head this morning. Between us we’ve washed the car this afternoon.

Sunday 22nd January 1961
To the Lotts for tea.
We’ve had a very pleasant afternoon with the Lotts – Cyril spent most of the time playing Pontoon. We didn’t leave until nearly half past seven with two very tired children. The ?Devonals were there too & I’ve had a good natter.

Monday 23rd January 1961
Cyril to Malvern
We were up – at least I was several times last night – consequently we were a bit late waking up. However Cyril got off by 7.45. Very quiet during the evening. Had four more cards making my total 17! Ironed this evening.

Tuesday 24th January 1961
Very damp & cold & Philip is miserable with his teeth. I was up at quarter to six! – but they slept all night. We’re going to get ready for a walk to the village now. How I hate getting ready!! Letter from Mur. up for 2hrs in the night.

Wednesday 25th January 1961
Bitterly cold day – thought it would snow out but it hasn’t yet. Children had cards from Cyril today so he arrived safely! Been up to the clinic for some Ovaltine. Squared up my last years accounts.

Thursday 26th January 1961
I’ve been down in the dumps today – felt sure I would have a letter from Cyril but only cards for the children. Gillian had me up half a dozen times last night – aftermath of her smacking I suppose – she was so naughty on the walk – & again today. Yes – I’m feeling pretty miserable.

Friday 27th January 1961
A filthy day – very high winds & rain. We haven’t been out – I didn’t get up until 7.30 – Baked this morning. Cyril arrived home at 5pm – much to Gillians delight. He looks well & has enjoyed himself. Brought some ?prod??? from Joan & a nice dressing gown she’d made for Jill

Saturday 28th January 1961
Another filthy day. Cyril has been out shopping. I’ve boiled up some washing but goodness knows when it will dry.
Later – we’ve had a short trip out to Esher. & since our return I’ve put the wash out for a blow & have written two letters. Cyril is having a hectic time with the two. Am also bringing my accounts up to date.