Saturday, February 18, 2006

Prize winners 1947 Pat left 2nd row

HAPPY DAYS
Story contd


I knew as soon as I saw Annie we were going to be friends. We came from very different backgrounds. Her father was a mill owner and had a farm in Scotland. There was no side to her . She was big and buxom and her natural expression was a chuckley grin. It was hilarious when she put on her posh accent and reminded us she had been educated at a school for 'the daughters of gentlemen'. We were to share a room and thence started one of the happiest periods I remember.
It was a hot summer and after our evening meal we hauled our mattresses out on to the fire escape and read aloud from 'The Albatross of Living Verse' which Maddie had given me for my birthday. Falling asleep in the moonlight to the rise and fall of the tide with a chocolate in our mouths was an early taste of bliss. Underneath Annie's jolly exterior she was insecure. At her coming of age her father had given her an XK 120 Jaguar and an ocelot coat. She convinced herself that any boyfriends were only interested in her money and in driving her car.
I went home with her one day and met her parents. Her father was like Annie - no side and down to earth. He said he was very glad Annie and I were friends and would be training together at the main hospital. Her mother was friendly but quite grand and her older sister was both posh and glamorous. When Annie came home to visit she fitted in at once and everybody liked her. Gran was on one of her visits to the States so it was less crowded than usual.
Mum and Maddie and the aunts were busy arranging the wedding and I thought Maddie was crazy for leaving art school before graduating now that Paul was home. It must have been strange being engaged when they had only met for a week, previously, with me - like the poor - always with them. His time in India and Japan had changed him from a young soldier to a mature man of the world. His family lived in London but his father worked a few miles from the Convalescent Home and invited me out for the day. He was short, bald and looked like an Oriental sage. He seemed to know everything and I hung on his every utterance - fascinated - and decided I liked older men even though he made me feel a little gauche Well I was a little gauche.
We were all sad when Matron told us she was about to retire. She called me into her office and said, 'Nurse Buxton I am sending you to the main Hospital next month.'
'But Matron I thought I was to start in October.' I didn't want to leave before my time when life was such fun.
'You will cerainly start your training in October Nurse, but I want you to attend the Prize giving ceremony. After a rocky start you have steadily improved and I am proposing you for the annual prize of 'Best Practical Nurse.'
As soon as I came off duty I rushed to the Post Office to phone Mum at work. I don't know what demon got in me whilst I was waiting for them to find her but I said,
'I've been thrown out Mum.'
A word of advice - if you ever decide to play a prank on someone don't do it on the phone. It was ages before I could convince Mum all was well. What an idiot I was!
One of Paul's army friends was going to be best man and an old school boyfriend of Maddies - also in the army, would be an usher. Her best friend and I were bridesmaids and we managed to agree on a midnight blue crepe dress with a keyhole neckline as one of us wanted a high neck - probably prissy me - and one a low one. It was the days of 'powder blue with burgundy accessories.' Ladies didn't venture out without hat and gloves and handbag - ideally of the same hue. Maddie seemed to lose a lot of weight during the preparations but she seemed happy and excited. Only two more years and I would be 19. Would I follow in Mum and Maddie's footsteps?

11 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Hi. Just popped in for the latest installment. Keep it up. I hope your children and grandchildren are reading.

Cheers.

Universal Soldier said...

I've really enjoyed catching up on the last few posts.

fjl said...

I love the picture of you, you were a beauty.

Cathy said...

I really enjoyed reading this!
I am so glad you dropped by my blog and paosted a comment, otherwise I wouldn't have found you.

Which lovely girl in the photo are you?

PI said...

Randall: Thank you. when they have nothing better to do.

US: Great that you found the time after your busy week-end.

FJL: Thank you.

Cathy: Welcome! I'm far left, second row.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Best Practical Nurse? That's great! I do so love this story. Are you going to make it into a book?

PI said...

Zinnia: Just lately I have come round to the possibility. Previously I have not had the diligence to tackle a full length book on the off chance that someone, sometime, may read it or most likely it would languish at the bottom of a slush pile. As you know it is enormously encouraging to have people read and comment and give instant feed back. This gives one impetus.
As usual i have a slight problem in that I can save from Word but if I have a photo and copy together I have to do it from Dashboard which I can't seem to save. I should e-mail this but can't find the address.

Caroline said...

Great as usual.

You should be able to set up blogger to email your posts to you if you want to save them.

So to Settings: email

and Put your email address in the box after BlogSend Address

Hope that helps!

PI said...

Caroline: Thank you. This morning it worked. My usual problem I didn't wait long enough. I'll probably copy to CD for boots and braces security.

Caroline said...

Good idea - extra security of anything you value is always worth it, especially where computers are concerned... in fact putting the saved CDs at someone else's house is a good move too...

Guyana-Gyal said...

Are you still in touch with Annie?

Look at all you nurses, so femine and pretty.