No one, not even Trudy Menard, could have predicted that the two would end up dating when the two first met. And one that would commemorate over seven decades of marriage!
The more they got to know one another, the less people around them liked their relationship because Trudy was white and Barclay was black. Even the priest who was supposed to marry them was a source of contention for them.
However, their love won out, and they remained together until the very end—in 2020, when they both passed away just hours apart.
Trudy was employed by Bryant and May’s match factory in Britain, but when it was bombed during the Blitz, she was forced to look for a new position.
“I needed a new employment, and I was told that the Rootes aircraft factory in Speke was looking for girls. Engineers were assigned to us, and they advised me to choose Barclay. “I’m not going with a colored man,” I declared. Never previously have I seen one. But they threatened to fire me if I didn’t, so I just carried on, she told BBC News in 2017.
Barclay had recently moved to the UK from British Guiana, which is now called Guyana, in order to work as an engineer.
Young men from the Caribbean volunteered to support the mother nation because Britain needed engineers during World War Two, he said.
345 people reportedly traveled to Liverpool between 1941 and 1943 in order to boost wartime manufacturing, according to the BBC. One of them was Barclay.
He was given the task of working on Halifax bombers at the facility in Speke when he arrived.
Trudy was his assistant.
Trudy acknowledged that she was “frightened to death of him” at the time.
“After some time without speaking, he started bringing me tea, and then he started bringing me sandwiches.”
Even though it took them some time to get along, they ultimately found themselves conversing nonstop.
The other employees at the workplace used to remark, “They’re never going to come down now, they’re chatting too much.”
The two went on their first date during a lull in the action.
They rode the train to Southport, and despite the rude looks they encountered, they continued their date.
Even though Liverpool has one of the country’s first established Black communities, racism persisted.
Trudy added, “I didn’t let my mother know I was going to visit Barclay. “She mistook my trip into town for a meeting with the females. She had observed that I was really joyful, but she was unsure of why. When she did learn, she vowed to kick me out of the house.
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Even though everyone warned them they shouldn’t be together, Trudy and Barclay became closer by keeping their relationship an open one.
In 1944, after about a year of dating, they decided they wanted to move forward although though Barclay warned them that it would be “extremely difficult.”
Trudy didn’t care.
She was certain that she wished to be with Barclay a lifetime.
Marrying him, however, proved to be difficult. They visited a nearby Catholic church, but the priest declined to marry them.
“He remarked, ‘There are so many black males coming over here and leaving the women with children to go back home. Thus, I’m not going to wed you. We felt betrayed by that.
As a result, the couple decided to have a little ceremony at the Liverpool Register Office rather than the church wedding Trudy had requested. The event was attended by Barclay’s buddy and one of Trudy’s sisters, after which the group of four went out to eat.
They eventually moved from Liverpool to Manchester, although it was challenging for them to find a place to reside.
However, finding housing was challenging because no one would accept a mixed marriage, according to Barclay.
They eventually established a new life for themselves in Manchester after locating a room in a boarding house. Even yet, the pair went through a second ceremony when a Catholic priest wedded them.
The couple, who had been blessed with two kids, noticed a shift in society’s attitude on mixed-race marriages.
Trudy’s mother changed her mind, and other people did too.
People used to stop and stare at you or mumble and laugh as you passed, but today they don’t seem to care, according to Barclay.
Trudy observed, “People don’t walk on the other side of the street as they used to.
Prior to Trudy and Barclay’s passing in May 2020, they celebrated 76 years of marriage. When they passed away hours apart, Barclay and Trudy were each 100 years old.
Despite the difficult beginning of their first encounter, they remained friends till the very end.
I’m so relieved that Barclay and Trudy disregarded advice that they shouldn’t be together. Nobody else should care who you love.
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