When Molly was a baby she lived with her mother and father at Normans Buildings, in West Holywell. Henry was at that time a teacher at Cramlington Elementary school. She described one of her earliest memories, a time when she was still the only child in the family:
I remember being about 3 years old It was around about November 5th, and Mother went down the yard for a bucket for water. Three “guisers” came in all dressed up as was the custom then. I screamed and fainted, they disappeared, and Mother dropped the bucket and came running.
Later she remembered the time, her father took her out one night to observe the path of Halley’s comet. This was in April 1910, and Molly was seven years old – her brother Roy and sister Norah would have been too young to go out, so this would have been a special moment alone with her father. He carried her on his shoulders down to the level crossing gates closing Blyth and Tyne railway line from the road to Backworth village where the view of the night sky would have been clear across the fields.
There is evidence that Molly’s father was quite artistic, a beautiful hand painted valentine card survives, which he gave to Jane when they were courting, and later he developed an interest in photography. Molly remembered him having a big camera. He hung a backcloth in the yard of the house in Holywell, and the children would pose for him.
As the family grew, Molly’s mother, Jane, needed help with the heavy household work. They were never rich enough to pay for a servant or household help, so every Thursday Granny Patterson came and baked and cooked while Jane “did” the bedrooms. I expect that meant topping and tailing the sheets (There was one clean sheet a week, the bottom sheet went to the wash and the cleaner top sheet was put on the mattress) shaking all the mats and sweeping the floors, and stairs.