Every Quarter I receive a Magazine called PruLink from the Prudential Assurance Company Limited. I worked for them for Ten Years. I think I receive this magazine really because as the Widow of a Prudential Pensioner I receive a Pension from my late Husband.
Even though I worked for the Pru for Ten years I was denied a Pension in my own name, they claimed I was around a couple of days late to qualify for the Pension in my own name. My late Husband fought for me but to no avail, I can understand the Pru, but deep in my heart I still think it was slightly mean of them.
Yet that story reminds me of such a sweet lovely man that used to be a Friend of David, my late husband, (and myself) both on the same section on Engineers and Works Department within the Pru. This lovely man was due to Retire and on the day the precise day that he went over to sign all his Pension documents just as he had his pen in his hand he suffered a major Stroke and was rushed to one of the major Hospitals that was near the Pru. He did not die but he never recovered and eventually died and to this day I remember Charlie with love and tears. Before he died, I was Married to David and due to give Birth to my first Child, our Son and Charlie would tell David to tell me he was so looking forward to seeing the Baby. Before Charlie died he asked his Wife to buy the Baby a gift, she did and I still have it.
When David and two other close friends of Charlie found out what Pension Department did they hit the roof, and the “clever dicks” on Pensions were informed by them in no uncertain terms how legally wrong they were and the Pru did not like bad news. Charlie’s Widow received her rights.
Getting back to the Magazine, when I receive it, I always turn to the back pages to read the columns of names of those on Pensions who worked for the Pru, those that had died. I check the names and it does bring back so many happy memories when I see the names and the department Engineers and Works.
I applied for my job from Secretarial College and was hired by the most charming of Ladies Miss Evans I have never forgotten her, I was hired to Engineers and Works Department. I thought the Prudential was all Insurance, indeed No, they were Assurance and the Engineers and Works was the Department that took care of all that concerned all the Properties that the Prudential owned all over the UK and abroad, not just Offices but Flats Apartments. Some very famous Tenants occupied these Apartments, from Lords to Ladies to Filmstars, yes Film Stars even drunken ones like Ava Gardner, when maintenance were called out to her Apartment they were always told be “careful” she would more than likely be drunk, on the floor.
I loved work for the Prudential, I loved Engineers and Works, I hated Friday afternoons when the working week was over, and I could not wait for Monday Morning to arrive when I would return to work. The worst part was for a year or two my so called sister would have to escort me from our house every morning to the Train to London’s Liverpool Street Station where thank God I finally could cut the chains and go ALL ON MY OWN on the underground, from Liverpool Street on the Central Line right through to Chancery Lane, out of the Station and right there stood this most imposing Red Bricked Building, so wonderfully designed and would catch anyones eye, that was the Prudential.
I was 16 years of age and totally innocent, still a lot innocent when I left ten years later to Marry, believe it or not. At 16, I saw this man on Engineers and Works, his name was Mr Cottage – always “MR”, my Boss Mrs Eileen Gooding would not under any circumstances allow anything other than addressing the male staff as “MR”.
I took one look at Mr Cottage and bang I had fallen for him. He looked so like the British Actor Ian Carmichael, and when he spoke, oh his voice it was so wonderful, he sounded just like the International Actor James Mason, and he did to the day he died. Our eldest Son, Jonathan has the same beautiful clear voice like his Father. In fact when David died and for a long time when I would hear Jonathan’s voice in a room I would stop and be convinced it was his Father.
Long story for another time, that I fell in Love with Mr Cottage, who was Married, so nothing could or would come of it for 9 years. I knew David would not leave his Wife for me, there was not much between them I heard from others but David had made Vows he would not break. Long story cut short, he found her, caught her “red handed” with their Best Friend, always the way!! There was a Divorce and eventually we Married December 27, 1975. David was Thirty Years older than me, I had been warned, dear Charlie one of those, but “we young think we know it all”, we don’t. We learn the hard way, or perhaps true to say the hurtful and painful way.
Back to the Pru Mag, no names apart from one that I recognised today and he worked on E&W, on Maintenance, not with David who was The Chief Purchasing Executive, very good at his job and when David shouted E&W shook.
As I sat in my front Garden in the sun, reading the magazine, with Daisy my Dog by my feet, I said to her that one of these days my name will I expect appear. As I receive a Pension from the good old Pru, not all of my late Husband’s Pension but a Percentage.
I have always been loyal to the Prudential and I have always felt they have been loyal to me, putting aside a pension in my own name I just missed out on. When David Died they were so good to me, helped for years with the Boys Education for which I am and always will be grateful. When David was brutally attacked by two youngsters beaten with an Iron Bar across the Back of His Head and left for Dead on what is known as the “Holland Marshes”, they stole our Car the Car my Husband stupidly gave them and their underaged girfiends a lift in, all four stole not only the car but money. David in total darkness on the Marshes crawled when he saw a distant light, which turned out to be an isolated Farmhouse. The owner was in along with his young Family, must have scared them terribly to have someone soaked in blood knocking on their door that night. Later when David was better we went to the Farmhouse with gifts for the Children to say “Thank You”, it was the least that could be done.
David said as he laid semi unconscious on the Marshes he heard a Voice, he said he knew it was God and he heard “you must get home for the Children and Anna”, and thanks to God and others he did. Thank you to the Prudential who helped us financially when money would have been “tight” to pay our Mortgage, we had a small mortgage at that time.
So when I receive my Pru magazine, I remember those very happy days on Engineers and Works, the fun I had, the way the only young girl on that department got thoroughly spoilt by all the men, I loved it, I loved every moment.
December 1975, when I was to be Married David told me I had to retire from the Prudential he did not want me working, but then I had been employed by the Prudential Estates Department, not such fun apart from the very nice Building Surveyors, I found the Estate Surveyors the majority drunks and a pain in the arse. I also was informed when I handed in my Notice that I was to be given the Department I worked on, I was to replace the Supervisor that was Retiring, I was shocked. I had always been quiet and kept my nose clean so to speak, and thats why apparently. It made no difference to David that finally after Ten long years I was going to have this big promotion and more money, No I was to Marry and stay at home and look after the House and hoover etc, I did what I was told. Yes even in 1975 not all of us were Liberated, “No Burning Bra No Women’s Lib”.
My name not in the Mag today, but one day it will be. I remember the day I saw “David Anthony Cottage” – Engineers and Works Department and the date he started and the date he Retired and the Date of his Death December 15, 1994. Its silly but seeing that it finally registered with me that David was Dead, but it took in total 16 years of grieving for David until one day “a Friend” said something “innocently” in my house and BANG BANG the lights went flashing On and Off and it all made sense all those “was I right was I or not, yes I was”.
Thats another story for another time, be prepared!! Even Violence at my doors, only to be saved by my beloved First Dog my Rhodesian Ridgeback “Tara”, and A Husband who didn’t want to know. Meantime good old Pru every month my Pension, I will always be Loyal to The Prudential Assurance.
Take care and a Very Happy Fourth of July to all.
Thought this might interest you, I was not born then (true), news to me. I worked for the Pru Engineers and Works Department 1965 to 1975.