Love and Marriage

As the saying goes, the path of true love never runs smooth, and that has certainly been true for Meg Mortimer. Ever since she opened the Crossroads Motel in 1963, after losing her first husband, Meg has been on a romantic roller coaster with more than its fair share of downs, and her relationship with Hugh Mortimer was no exception. . . .

Hugh and Meg first met in the mid-sixties and they were attracted to each other right from the start. Hugh was rich, successful, good-looking and full of sophisticated charm. It was hardly surprising that Meg fell for him although she had her reservations about some of his more shady business methods. However, love conquers all, and Meg finally agreed to marry Hugh. After the engagement the romance continued to blossom – until Louise Borrelli appeared on the scene.

Louise was the beautiful daughter of one of Hugh’s American business associates, and she decided that, engaged or not, Hugh Mortimer was the man for her. In spite of the fact that the attraction was very one-sided, Hugh’s friendship with Louise caused a rift between Meg and himself and, anxious not to lose his fiance, he had a heart-to-heart talk with Louise, telling her that she wasn’t the girl for him. But it was too late. For Meg the relationship had soured, and it was almost a year before Hugh came into her life again.

Even then, she found it hard to rid herself of her doubts. Hugh took her to Paris for a romantic weekend, and although it was obvious that they were still in love, Meg wasn’t convinced. They separated, only to come back together again when Hugh was taken ill. For a time they feared that he was dying, and Meg realised that she didn’t want to lose him. When he recovered they talked of marriage and got engaged for a second time.

But this engagement was also doomed. Meg had flown to Tunisia on Hugh’s behalf to organise the opening of a hotel, while Hugh was in Australia sorting out some business problems. Or so Meg thought… until she received a telegram saying that Hugh had married someone else. The ‘other woman’ was Jane Templeton; young, pretty, and dying of a tumour on the brain. She came to England for an operation to remove it, and Meg’s bitter feelings had to be put aside. Jane told her that Hugh’s betrayal wasn’t as heartless as it seemed he had married her to give her a few months of happiness, knowing that she hadn’t long to live. She died in hospital, never regaining consciousness after the operation.

Anxious to put the past behind her, Meg worked harder than ever, and was soon being courted by the plausible Malcolm Ryder. Her barriers down after the heartbreak of her romance with Hugh, Meg married Ryder, and made a mistake that almost cost her her life. Ryder was a weak, unscrupulous man, and when he found himself in financial difficulties he decided to poison Meg and claim the insurance money. Fortunately he was discovered, and when confronted with his crime he walked out of the motel and out of Meg’s life. Some time later news came that he had burnt to death in a car crash in South America.

But what of Hugh? He had never forgotten Meg, and when they met again, some eight years after their first meeting, they fell in love all over again. Hugh proposed for the third time, and soon Meg was wearing engagement ring number three – a large, square-cut diamond surrounded by sixteen smaller diamonds. Surely nothing could go wrong this time.

Unfortunately, it could. News came that Malcolm Ryder was still alive, and the shock made Meg lose her memory for a time. She recovered slowly, faced with the awful truth that she was still married – to a murderer. Then her luck changed. Ryder came back to England and had the gall to turn up at the motel. Hugh immediately alerted the police and Ryder was arrested. Divorce proceedings followed, and at last the preparations for the wedding could begin.

Soon Meg was caught up in a whirl of activity, choosing her trousseau, planning the reception, ordering the cake, invitations and flowers and, of course, making sure that the motel ran as smoothly as ever. For the actual ceremony Meg chose a pale, mint green organza dress, to be worn with matching shoes and a large straw picture hat trimmed with yellow and white flowers and fine rouleaux in the same material as the dress. Then she picked out a flattering cream jersey dress as part of her going away outfit; to be worn under a very beautiful mink coat, plus several glamorous dresses for those romantic evenings on the honeymoon.

At last the preparations were complete, and the great day arrived. The wedding took place at the Birmingham Registry Office, and was followed by a Service of Blessing in St Philip’s Cathedral. Meg and Hugh arrived in a white Rolls, and as Meg said, it could have been a Royal wedding, they felt so grand! Needless to say, the bride looked radiant and the groom obviously felt very proud . . . as well he might after waiting ten years for this very day.

After the service, friends and relatives assembled for photographs, and then it was on to the reception at the Droitwich Hotel. If Hugh was nervous about his speech it didn’t show, and everything went off without a hitch. When at last it was time to leave, the white Rolls was there at the door, and it was a funny thing, but the chauffeur looked exactly like Larry Grayson!

It was a happy ending to a very happy day but, sadly, Meg and Hugh were to have just three short years together before Hugh’s tragic death made Meg a widow for a second time. After the anguish and bitterness of those first black weeks Meg has regained some of her old fighting spirit, but the wounds are still there, wounds that only time can heal.

CROSSROADS CHRONICLE

Like all closely-knit communities, King’s Oak and the Crossroads Motel have had their share of joy and sadness. Babies have been born and folk have died and there has been the happy sound of wedding bells for several couples.

Brian Jarvis, Meg’s nephew, married his father’s secretary, Janice, and all seemed set fair for the young couple when they were married in the parish church. But later Brian began to drink heavily. He went away for a ‘cure’ only to find himself divorced on his return

Another wedding at the village church was that of waitress Christine Fuller to milkman Ralph Palmer. The couple later started a smallholding and everyone hoped that it would be a great success.

One wedding which caused much surprise was that of the handsome young vicar Peter Hope to Marilyn Gates, who at first refused Peter’s proposal because she felt that she was not cut out to be a clergyman’s wife. But Peter finally persuaded her, with a little help from his bishop, and now the young couple are doing missionary work in Africa, where Peter finds Marilyn an ideal helpmate.

There was a delightful real-life postscript to this wedding when the dress worn by Marilyn was given to a young orphaned hospital patient named Irene who was suffering from a hereditary disease. Irene was a keen Crossroads fan and was shortly to marry her carpenter sweetheart.

After recovering from the traumas of discovering that she had bigamously married John Crane, Jill Richardson is now happily married to Stan Harvey, with an adorable small daughter, Sarah-Jane, who is the apple of Meg’s eye. Sarah-Jane is doubly precious because of Jill’s previous miscarriage, and the disappointment of giving up their ‘adopted baby to Sheila. Although many people were surprised at Jill’s choice of husband, the Harveys are very happy and Meg is sure that, despite their different backgrounds, Stan and Jill can face the future confidently together.

Romance has no age barrier and some time ago Wilf, Stan’s plain-spoken father, found himself a new wife in Myrtle Cavendish, which pleased everyone at Crossroads very much. Myrtle, who worked in a pub, and Wilf, moved into a flat above Stan’s shop.

But babies can cause unhappiness as well as bring joy as Jill and Stan found to their sorrow. They unofficially adopted his sister Sheila’s baby but when Sheila married the baby’s father, Roy Mollison, later on, she took the baby back. Jill was very upset but soon she had a daughter of her own to make up for her loss.

But another baby was responsible in an innocent way for the breakup of Vince Parker’s marriage. Vince, the friendly King’s Oak postman, married Diane Lawton, fully prepared to accept her baby by film star Frank Adam as his own. But when Diane accepted financial help from Frank Adam the marriage began to crumble; now the couple are separated and Vince lives in London, a sad loss to King’s Oak.

Two of the managers of the Motel have also found romance which ended in wedding bells. Paul Stevens and waitress Sandra Gould are now running a hotel in Guernsey, while Tessa Wyvern and her husband Nick Van Doren moved into their own hotel soon after their marriage.

Brian Jarvis has had more than his fair share of trouble. Acquitted of a manslaughter charge, his drinking causes trouble between himself and Janice, and despite efforts by both his parents and the Giffords to effect a reconciliation, the couple finally obtain a divorce.

And what of Meg herself? An on-off romance with Hugh Mortimer for some ten years resulted in a marriage to Malcolm Ryder with disastrous results. Malcolm tried to poison her for the insurance money he would collect on her death. When this attempt failed he fled and he was reported dead abroad.

Hugh entered her life once more and it seemed at last that Meg would find happiness, but Malcolm returned to England. Still alive, he had passed off another body as his own, but later he was returned to South America to stand trial for murder, and Meg was free to start divorce proceedings.

At last it seems that, after years of heartbreak and waiting, Meg and Hugh are to find happiness together at last. A Registry Office ceremony is followed by a Blessing at St. Philip’s Cathedral crowded with family, friends and well-wishers, setting the seal on a day Meg will always remember.

Wilf finds a moment in his busy day helping out at the motel to give Myrtle the barmaid a ring. Myrtle and Wilf later marry and go to live in a flat over Stan's shop.

Years of happiness and contentment seem ahead of them, but the fates decree differently. On a trip to Australia Hugh is kidnapped by terrorists, he suffers a fatal heart attack . . . and once again Meg finds herself a widow.

But still enjoying married life are Meg’s brother Andy Fraser and his wife Ruth Bailey, whose wedding was the cause of great celebrations in the 500th edition of Crossroads. After his marriage Andy left the merchant navy, which had been his life for so long, and at first the couple had a grocery business and later a travel agency.

But life has its sad moments as well as its times of joy, as several Crossroads people, notably Meg and her family, know to their cost.

Meg has lost both a dear sister in Kitty Jarvis and a beloved husband, but life goes on.

Bennie, from the farm at King’s Oak, lost Maureen, the girl he was to marry, in an accident on their wedding day, and now he makes a pilgrimage to her grave to relive their happy times together.

The staff at Crossroads were all terribly distressed also when Josefina got a letter telling her that her husband Carlos, their popular Spanish chef, had died in a fire, heroically trying to save some trapped children. And when George Petersham tried to commit suicide by jumping under a train because of becoming an alcoholic, the staff and all his fans were greatly shocked, for George has been in Crossroads since the first episode.

Tragedy hit the motel again when a blind girl was kidnapped by Edge Sharp, a gunman who killed a policeman and injured Angela’s father as they tried to rescue her. But later there was new hope that Angela’s sight might be restored.

So it goes on, as the lives of Meg and her family and staff and the customers at Crossroads are interwoven in a pictorial patchwork of bright and dark days when human emotions, good and bad, rule the lives of everyone.

The Harvey family – Jill, Stan and Sarah-Jane.
1978 // TRANSDIFFUSION BROADCASTING SYSTEM