On a narrow wooden armchair-bed was lying our hostess. Her nightdress was up round her neck. The organist, on his knees, in the nude, was deep in prayer, his face bent in reverence over his bride’s prostrate form.
Ever so slowly the organist raised his horrified eyes to ours. My sister, extremely slow to take in the delicacy of any situation, murmured, half to herself, ‘That’s funny, I could have sworn he was clean-shaven.’
Dolly Scannell, author of East End classic memoir Mother Knew Best, has now established her home front, wife to the embattled Chas, and proud keeper of her own house. Life is still full of small but piquant joys, sorrows and bizarre happenstances - like Dolly’s need to take her household rubbish back to her mother for fear of her new landlord. Before long she’s a mum as well, but then comes the war and her cheerful wit and unquenchable spirit are needed more than ever.
Gas masks, ration books, GI’s (over-sexed, etc), a chaotic Jewish wedding, husband Chas in the Army, while Dolly takes on his insurance selling door-to-door, encounters a murderous landlady and spends time evacuated from her beloved London to Wales and Suffolk - before being restored to her beloved and enormous family, her mother still matriach of all. A treasure, recalled and retold by the author at her inimitable best!
‘The author of Mother Knew Best in hilarious vein’ Yorkshire Post
‘You have to laugh with Dolly Scannell. Somehow that Cockney flow of funny tales shakes you up into laughter’ Evening Standard
About the Author
Dorothy Scannell was born in the East End of London in 1911, one of ten children. At the age of 63, when she was already a grandmother, she wrote her first book Mother Knew Best, an evocative and entertaining memoir of her working-class childhood in east London between World Wars One and Two. The book’s success prompted two further memoirs, Dolly's War and Dolly's Mixture, as well as a series of novels.
After marrying Chas, Dorothy had two children and two grand-children. She died, aged 96, in 2008.