INTERVIEW WITH ROSEMARY WALKER
Hi, my name is Lynne and I have been lucky to call Gran Alacant home for the last 5 years. People fascinate me and I love to hear about their adventures and life stories. Over the next few months, I will be sharing some interviews with GA’s very own Superstars!
What brought you to GA?
“We bought a holiday home here and enjoyed the weather and pace of life. Each time we visited, it got harder and harder to go back to Cambridge in England. Eventually my husband stopped working due to ill health at 58 and I decided at 61 I wanted to retire early so we moved here.”
Rosemary joined Acorn Computers, a small start-up company as a telephonist. At that time, she was in her 40’s, the oldest in the company, working alongside a handful of young technicians.
Acorn Computers Ltd. was a British computer company established in Cambridge, England, in 1978. The company produced a number of computers, which were especially popular in the UK. Acorn’s BBC Micro computer dominated the UK educational computer market during the 1980s. Acorn is sometimes referred to as the “British Apple”. Many British IT professionals gained their early experiences on Acorns, which were often more technically advanced than commercially successful US hardware.
Rosemary said, “I worked on the switchboard dealing with complaints. After a week of calls from customers who had paid for goods that they had not received, I walked into the Managing Director’s office and told him, ‘If I was one of your customers, I’d take you to court!’” Shortly afterwards Rosemary was given her new role as Progress Chaser. Rosemary’s role expanded and evolved to accommodate various schemes and initiatives the company was involved in. Rosemary started as a telephonist and ended up running the company administration as Admin Manager and Spares Co-ordinator.
Did you enjoy your work?
“Yes, I loved it. After I had my sons Stephen and Chris, I felt I lost my identity a little. When I went back to work, I felt like I found myself again. Work gave me a buzz and a new lease on life, but I had to learn to toughen up very quickly otherwise everything would be dumped on my desk.”
Do you think you had a good work/life balance?
“I think I missed precious family time, especially in the later years. The Financial Director told me I was working too many hours so the company bought me a computer so I could work from home. Looking back, I would not have put that much time and energy into my work and away from my family. However, I do feel very lucky, I did have the BEST working life, and I never thought, ‘I don’t want to go to work today’. I gave everything 100% and I enjoyed the challenge.”
Rosemary recounts a funny story at work when a Senior Manager patted her bottom in front of his male counterparts. Rosemary simply turned round and said, “I hope that did more for you than it did for me.” Much to the delight of all the other sniggering men.
Rosemary’s husband Geoff suffered from severe bronchial asthma. He was told he would be on oxygen for the rest of his life and would be lucky to see his 30th birthday. He was then put on steroids, a new drug in the 60’s, which dramatically increased his lifespan but also brought a few challenging side effects.
Rosemary and Geoff were happily married for 56 years. Geoff sadly passed in 2019.
When I asked Rosemary how she managed working in a male dominated workplace then coming home to a male dominated household, she replied, “My Geoff was great, we worked really well as a team.”
Rosemary recounts a story when she asked her eldest son to clean his bedroom. When he told her that was “women’s work” Rosemary went on strike for 3 months and made her rebellious teenager do his own cooking, cleaning and laundry.
What do you do in your spare time?
“I like to do things that challenge me.”
Rosemary showed me her hand embroidery and needle lace work. I am amazed by how beautifully intricate they are. The time and effort that goes into making each little piece. Some work takes months and even years to complete.
Rosemary also enjoys challenging her brain at Skipper pub quiz and challenging her body at BeatCamp at Bernar’s Place.
What are you grateful for?
I count myself very lucky. I had a wonderful marriage to a lovely man, I had a challenging job that I loved and I have two great sons.
Thank you so much Rosemary for sharing your story with us. What a formidable and inspiring woman you are!