It all started in April 1975. I was a 22 year old office junior at this builders firm. I'd had a few boyfriends but no one that worked out. I had always assumed that I would one day get married and have kids but I wasn't in a hurry. My mum had got married at 20 and had me barely a year later but I felt that I wanted to enjoy myself a bit before settling down. There were plenty of guys at the firm and some had asked me out but they weren't my type to be honest. Harveys Partnership did put some work our way and would sometimes visit the office. It was usually one of the partners, a Mr Woolfson, a bald headed man probably in his late 50's at the time I would say who would usually come and that was who I had expected on that day too. But instead there was this good looking young man who seemed to be around my age. When he came he introduced himself to us as Stephen Cooper and said that he was articled at the architects' firm. He wanted to look at some plans relating to some work that the work that our firm had commissioned from Harveys. Our boss, an "old school" secretary, Miss Clarke, a lifelong spinster in her early 50's said:
"Mr Cooper, Miss Jackson here will get you the files, there are quite a lot of them and you might like to have a look through them to see what's relevant to what you need so I would suggest that you and Miss Jackson go together to the storeroom upstairs to have a look"
In today's climate of course it would to considered inappropriate for an office manager to order a female employee to go into a room alone with a strange man but times were different then. In any case I needn't have worried, Mr Cooper was clearly a perfect gentleman. He was also very good looking, about 6 feet tall with deep set brown eyes and a fine mop of light brown hair. He also had a deep voice which I found quite sexy and was clearly confident without being arrogant and charming without being smarmy. As we went through the files we got chatting, he told me about his job and where he was from and things like that, we had a few laughs too and I definitely felt that he was different to most of the guys I met and that it would be nice to get to know him better. When we had finished going through the files and he'd picked what he wanted I asked him if he would be coming again, he said that he might as Mr Woolfson was busy on other projects and the partners at the firm wanted to give him more experience of meeting with the firm's clients.
Some 2 weeks later Mr Cooper did come back and the time of his departure coincided with the start of my lunch break. I along with another office junior, Penny would usually go to a cafand have a sandwich there but on that day Penny was off sick so that meant that I would be lunching alone. However Mr Cooper (I'll refer to him as Steve which is what he preferred to be called from now on) as we were leaving the office asked if we could have lunch together. As I liked what I'd seen of him I agreed to that and we spent a very enjoyable three quarters of an hour in each other company and learned more about each other. At the end we agreed to go to the pictures together the following evening. I was over the moon!
Over the coming months our romance went from strength to strength. Here was someone who knew how to treat and respect a lady and being a rather shy and in many ways a straight laced girl (something that hasn't really changed in the last 40 odd years as many of my friends tease me about it!) I appreciated that. We had a lot of fun and shared many interests and had a similar sense of humour and as the months passed I was becoming increasingly confident that Steve was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. My parents also took to him and he had an easy manner with them too which helped! So when Steve did propose marriage to me in June 1976 I knew that the answer had to be "yes".
We spent the next year planning the wedding, which was exciting in itself. There was never any question of us moving in together before we had walked down the aisle, in those days it just "wasn't the done thing" for "nice" "respectable" girls. My parents would have been disgusted at the very thought and to be honest