Mamie Pearhouse was a much-loved only child who grew up scampering around the streets of Bradford. Her jolly bus-driver Dad, Wilf, watched with admiration as he sat puffing his pipe in the doorway of their narrow-terraced house. Bradford had been good to him, and he often reminisced about the good days. Back down south where he was from, he had been driving around the villages, selling wine from his van. That was ok, but this was much better…
Wilf was getting on well in Bradford, he not only drove the buses, but after lunch he was given a helping hand by the older lads on how to take his hobby – tinkering with engines – a bit more seriously. He had Sundays off, unless he wanted to take coach trips out to the coast, and he was getting on with his mechanic’s certificate. In a few years he’d be moving on to fire trucks!
You could always rely on Mamie to give a helping hand as she often assisted her Mother around the house and took a job as a machinist in a factory as she grew up. She was 22 when she married, and at 30 was devastated when Wilf, her dear Dad passed away. He had just turned sixty.
Fast forward fifty years. Mamie has recently passed away in a care home in Bradford.
We were appointed as administrators of the estate and began to uncover a web of stories that made the original picture, described above, look rather different.
Wilf had been married before, as a young man of 21 to a young lass named Molly, and they had three children together. We contacted this side of the family and they told a very different story. Wilf had left the family home as a young man and disappeared! They were not encouraged to have contact with him.
Then the story got a bit more complicated: Molly was not the first ‘lady friend’. Wilf had originally been sweet on the younger sister, but Molly had stepped in and their relationship had gone all the way to the altar.
There was another twist in the tale. Wilf had left Essex under very interesting circumstances. His move to Bradford to be with Mamie’s mother was not the reason, however. After several years, and three children, with Molly, he had reconnected with her younger sister, and they eloped to Bradford. This wrinkle in the family history did not last long, however, and after two further children were born to the couple, Wilf remained in Bradford. Meanwhile, the sister returned to Essex and resumed some form of cordial contact with the first wife.
Wilf therefore had three families by three ladies before he was thirty. But once Mamie, the delight of his life, was born, he stayed put and left a story and a half for us to uncover half a century later…
Written by Deputy Managing Director, David Walsh