re: your communication of the 5th inst.,
Monica stopped typing abruptly as a small posy of violets, tied with a wisp of grass landed, on the desk between her raised hands. She looked up with a severe expression at the man lounging in the doorway.
“Good morning, Miss Matthews, lovely day isn’t it!” and before she had chance to even think of a reply he was gone.
“Ooh, Mon, he’s rather nice, and those blue eyes!” Sheila whispered.
“Ridiculous idiot!” Monica replied, and slipped the little bunch of flowers into her desk drawer and continued to pound the keys of her typewriter.. She would try to find something to put them in later. She looked calm and focussed, her expression sphinx-like according to her sister. However, she actually felt flustered, unsure, he did indeed have very blue eyes.
Miss Spindle came into the office, Dr Bailey wants these results typed up now, she snapped, peering at the two young women over her pince-nez, and handing Sheila sheets of paper covered in scrawl. Daphne arrived, distracting her from Monica and Sheila.
“And where have you been, Miss Randolph?”
“Taking a letter for the Professor,” Daphne replied politely, trying not to giggle as Sheila pulled a face behind Miss Spindle’s back.
The martinet gave them a fierce look then retreated to her tiny office.
“Daph, that handsome boy from Dr Partridge’s lab has given Mon some flowers,” Sheila whispered. “He must have bought them from that old dear who sits in Petty Curie.”
“Maybe he’ll ask you to dance tonight!” Daphne was excited for her friend who was pretending to ignore her, pounding the keys furiously. Daphne sat down behind her desk, slipping a sheet of paper into her machine and carrying on the conversation. “We’re going to the Rex tonight, Sheila, we’ve seen him there before with his dishy friend, haven’t we Em?”
“The dark one is his cousin John,” Monica replied and then could have bitten her tongue, cross with herself for having been drawn into the conversation. She pulled the completed letter from the typewriter and was just checking it when Miss Spindle returned. Monica was to go to assist the telephonist, saving her from having to continue the conversation, but sensing that her friends would pursue it later.
As soon as Miss Spindle left with the completed letters, Daphne and Sheila continued discussing the handsome young man with the very blue eyes. He’d been in the Parachute Regiment, they’d heard, his sister had been two years above Monica’s sister at the County High School, like them he cycled to work, he wore a tie instead of a belt, he really was very handsome! And he’s not called John! Daph whispered – her boyfriend and Sheila’s husband were both called John. Everyone else in the world is called John! Daph whispered again, and they stifled their giggles in anticipation of an unexpected return of Miss Spindle.
I’ve been struggling for many years to write family stories, of my life and of my parents and grandparents. I just couldn’t find the right ‘voice’. It’s gradually occurred to me to fictionalise them – or maybe factionalise would be a better word, otherwise known as creative non-fiction. I have done this to tell the stories of ancestors I never knew, I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to tell my parents stories in this way! What I’ve written above is the beginning of an episode in my parents’ life, before they began to go out together; I have just scraps of a tale, the bunch of violets tossed onto her desk, the cheeky grin, the blue eyes – more tomorrow!