I�m not sure when we all stopped calling our mother Mummy or Mum (she objected to Mommy) and started Mother. Certainly when I came back that year I usually called her Maman cherie, which I later shortened to Manch for a time.
I stayed at home for a few months, with part of the time spent at Glencairn, keeping an eye open for a congenial job. I really hoped for work with a travel firm, and thought that my French and German might help, but could not find any opening.
Then I heard that the Royal Automobile Club needed someone with a knowledge of German for their South-West African correspondence, so I applied and Sir Alfred Hennessy the Chairman interviewed me and offered me the job at �8 a month. Somewhat intimidated by his jutting eyebrows and stern expression, I nevertheless stuck out for �10 because �8 was the basic rate for a shorthand typist, and I was offering more, and I won that round.
I found the work interesting and had congenial co-workers, but I didn�t really feel at all extended. Lunch hours were delightful when I took sandwiches to the Pier at the bottom of Adderley Street, and spent most of the time diving and swimming in Table Bay which was exhilarating and refreshing. Other lunch hours were spent in the Gardens or under the oak trees in the Avenue, sitting reading, eating sandwiches, and watching the squirrels.
Going home on the trolley bus one day, a friend asked me if I�d seen the advertisement in that morning�s Cape Times:
"WOMAN SECRETARYI said I had, and had not been impressed by the wording and didn�t want to apply for such a snobbish post. I decided however that I might as well at least find out more about it, so wrote to the Advertiser�s number, giving my references.
I received a reply from Mr B.K.Long, Editor of the Cape Times, telling me that the post was Secretary to the Editor and mentioning the hours of work expected: 2.30 p.m. till 6.30, an hour and a half for dinner, and then from 8 p.m. till whatever hour was required. He asked me to come for an interview and at the interview I mentioned that my parents did not much like the idea of the working hours.
B.K. said that he would be in touch later, and that evening he told his wife and daughter Una that he thought he�d found the right person - a Miss Wells. �Isn�t that Shirley Simpson Wells?� asked Una. �Oh, no,� said B.K. �she signed herself E.S.Wells.� Dad spoke to George Wilson, the Assistant Editor, and I duly received another letter from B.K., offering me the job, and hoping I would accept. "...At the time of the interview I did not know that you were the daughter of your parents." Dear B.K., he was a tremendous man, but couldn�t always express himself very well. I learnt later that he had drafted the advertisement himself, too, because he didn�t want his secretary to know that he was looking for a replacement. She was transferred to another department, and I found this all somewhat embarrassing.