I stood outside The People’s Palace on The Mile End road, one hot July afternoon in 1980. Somehow standing there I could feel her presence on that wintry evening all those years ago. She would have been hesitant, afraid, and yet thrilled. She would have walked up those few enlightening steps, gripped tightly and disapprovingly by her mother. Herbert Marks would have stood beside the pillared archway, smiling, his face lit to the cold night air… Dear Herbert whose stomach ulcers in time would become the better of him… was the most sweetest of men. They would have entered this great hall arm in arm and performed with an exacting elegance under chandeliers that sparkled like a thousand tiny gems. Here gowns would have been filled with paraded ladies of charm, whilst men squinted through solitary eyeglasses and ordered waiters and drinks around.
In my hand was her silver pendant, it gleamed at me from its loneliness. It had hung around her neck that evening… a heart shaped pendant that opened to a tiny portrait of her… later she had added a picture of her beloved Charles.
The stone steps leading to the terraced balustrade were worn now with the progress of time and footsteps, and the archway of pillared marble, chaffed and pitted by the chilling winter winds that rose from the east of the City… and as I stood there with my thoughts… a shiver ran through my veins.