Iris Simantel's Story

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   Here's a little bit about me and my beginnings.

Born July 5th 1938 in the East End Maternity Hospital, Poplar; spent

the first few months living with my grandparents on Blackwall Pier,

(East India Docks on the Thames), in the Blackwall Station House

where my Granddad was station master. Then spent the war years living

in Dagenham, (southeast London). During that time I was evacuated to

the mining village of Maerdy in the Rhondda Valley of South Wales.  I

lived with the Cooper family who I still keep in touch with

regularly, - she is my "second Mum". After the war our family, (I

have three brothers), moved to a new housing estate, called Oxhey

Estate,(some know it as Carpenders Park), near Watford,

Hertfordshire.  I married a G.I. in 1954, when I was just 16 years

old and came to the U.S. in 1955. He was from Chicago, and that's

where I lived until moving to Northwest Arkansas with my fourth

husband (yes, you read it right #4 - but we have been married now for

30 years).  We moved here to Eureka Springs in 1985 when we bought a

Bed & Breakfast which we ran very successfully for 16 years. We sold

the business and retired four years ago.  We built our dream,

(English style), house on beautiful Beaver Lake.  Between us Bill and

I have seven children, 17 grandchildren and three great

grandchildren. I just turned 39 years old and I am writing my life

story. Cor blimey, - me nose just started to grow!  Love to all, 

Iris (Jones) Simantel 


My Dad was sent to work at the Woolwhich Arsenal all through the war. 

He was a sand blaster, - working on bomb and

shell casings.  It almost killed him and did kill quite a

number of the men.  The sand blasters were so powerful that if you

lost your grip it would whip around and cut you in half.  Also, men

died from sheer exhaustion.  I tell more about it in my book (yes

gang, I'm still working on it). He went to work on the Woolwich Ferry

every day, and I have been on it once or twice myself. I understand it

is still in use, and I found some wonderful old pictures of it on the




Updated 8/6/04