Mabel M worked in a stamp factory before World War I, a fact that she always credited for the early loss of her teeth – possibly due to the sugar in the gum on the back of the stamps. She ran away from home to marry an older man, who hopped aboard a boat to Australia two days after the wedding and didn’t return for nearly four years, leaving Mabel to face the wrath of her mother alone. He wrote occasionally, calling her “Kiddie”. Her mother, who was a staunch Church of England attender, objected to her new son-in-law for his Catholicism as well as having taken her daughter away, and ripped up the marriage certificate – thus enabling Mabel to keep working. Her husband returned in 1916, and a new certificate was issued. They went on to have five children.
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