So that's five. Five, Babs! She says that the first abortion was unavoidable. She didn't know where babies came from. I didn't know how you got pregnant. So how did you account for it, when you discovered you were, the first time?
I'd had sex before, when I wasn't in love with anybody, you know what I mean? There was no emotion, no love there, and then I fell madly in love with this jazz singer and I thought it was being in love which made me have a baby. She had the abortion, but then got pregnant again. And again. I'm not so sure. I think it might be that she gives of herself so much, so wants it to be the real thing, that she just does not stop to think. She doesn't stop to think that she might get pregnant. She doesn't stop to think that someone might not be entirely kosher like Ronnie. And without that reverse gear, how can you stop yourself making the same mistakes again and again?
I ask her what her longest period without a man has been. She says: "I don't think there ever has been, actually.
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Even when Scott and I split up [as they did temporarily before their marriage], I'd found another bloke within three months. I wonder, of course, if she thinks about the children she never had. I wonder if she wonders what they might have been like. Obviously, you do think, well, that one would be odd now. I'm sure if I'd had a boy he'd have been gay.
I'm positive of that. Because of my theatrical life.
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I've always had a lot of gays round me. It wouldn't have worried me. When I got into my late forties, and was still going to pop concerts, I always thought that if I had a son there would at least be a good excuse. But I don't think about it too much. It's not something I ever really wanted. I don't know if she thinks about Daniel when she has to get weepy on EastEnders. I didn't ask. However, I do think it's interesting that, over the years, she has gone from a man old enough to be her father Sid James to one such as Scott, who is young enough to be her son.
I hope it works out with Scott. He is Jewish, at least. I love all that, don't you? I like Barbara Windsor. It would be hard not to, I think, even though the sandwich thing does get irritating. Still, we have a good chat. We talk about Kenny Williams. You're the only person round here who does their teeth after lunch, like me. And Sid. No, it would never have worked if she'd left Ronnie Knight for him. We talk about Chinacraft in Golders Green. No, it doesn't frighten her.
Neither does ageing. Although she'd hate it if her legs went. I think you'd look most fetching in Dr Scholls and support pop socks. She laughs her dirty, Carry On laugh.
You know, head back, chest out, a tremendous gurgling sound, like the last bit of water going out of the bath in a cheap hotel with ancient plumbing. That must be her father's laugh, the one her mother hated so much. The thing about Babs, I now realise, is that, however old she gets, she'll always be young. She'll always be that small girl waiting at a bus stop, waving. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.
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Goodbye Girl (Epistolary #2)
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