Life story told by: Sally Hicks
In 1977, not long after I moved to Reading, I got to know my new neighbours Dorothy and May Sheldon. They were elderly, always wearing a straw or felt hat, they pushed an old carrycot on wheels to the local shops .
May was quieter but Dorothy loved to chat and talk to my son – young Edward in the pram ! They had lived in the house across the road from me (Bulmershe Road) all their lives.
Their father had been a clerk at the [Huntley and Palmers] biscuit factory. There had another sister Peggy who had died in 1973.
The women never married, not too many men around at the beginning of the twentieth Century as a result of not returning from the war. Together they set up their own Preparatory School in Belle Avenue/ Early Hill Road. May was the Principle and taught Art and Music, Peggy was a skilled dietician and Dorothy was the linguist and continued teaching right up to the end!
In 1993 I visited her in the Royal Berkshire Hospital after having her leg amputated from the knee down, she had just persuaded the young man in the next bed to take elocution lessons! Earlier she mentioned that they didn’t give her much anaesthetics and that she could hear and feel the saw action !
After retirement May continued to paint I would meet her up at the University with her sketch pad or pallet. She developed dementia in later live but remained at home right up to the end.
Dorothy spent the last 5 years on her own, I took her lunch every Saturday after we moved to Bulmershe Rd . Many ex pupils visited her so the back door was always open .
This is one of my favourite stories ! ……..One day when Dorothy had become bed ridden she heard the sound of breaking glass and young black man stuck his head around and looked into the bedroom… Dorothy threw herself into roleplay she greeted him like she was expecting to see him, he did some simple jobs, then he made tea for them both. He left taking the hall phone …
Dorothy was sharp to the end … she was an amazing woman. I was with her when she died, it felt like a privilege to me ! I felt so lucky to have known her!
Here is a close up look at the headstone – according to Sally “Grandmother Elizabeth. Theophilus father, Louise mother and Peggy has her name on the headstone. May and Dorothy are buried there but as they were old and sadly end of the line they didn’t bother adding their names !”
Buried in Section , Row , Number