Monday, June 12, 2006


Story contd.

The Captain and Officers of HMS ----- request the pleasure of your company at
A Dance

It didn’t start till 9pm with ‘Carriages at 1am’ so the logistics were going to be difficult but I couldn’t resist a challenge and decided to accept. If I were going to be scrutinised I’d better not let the side down.

This was a very happy time. Mum and Dad treated me more like an adult and we enjoyed spending time together – relishing our walks and trips to the local flea-pit and amateur dramatics. Gran could be moody and Maddie had a few emotional outbursts – but these soon blew over. The work on the wards was rewarding and satisfying and my reports were good. The camaraderie both on and off the wards gave life an added zest

It was lovely getting letters from the children one had nursed and a regular was David Miller – the little Jewish boy who was sad I couldn’t marry him. His parents Maria and Hector invited me to visit them one Friday. Maria met me in town and we went to Hector’s office (he was a solicitor) and met all the staff. Hector then drove us home where the children were being looked after by their nanny. Because it was Friday night it was their special evening of Shabbat and at dinner there were candles and wine and Hector wore a skull cap and recited from a religious book. It was a beautiful ceremony and I felt privileged to be there.

Maria was like a surrogate mother and wanted to know what was happening on planet Pat. When I told her about the dance she said I must spend the night with them as it was too late to turn up at the hospital and too far to go home. I warned her it would be very late but she said not to worry and gave me a key. One problem solved.

Then Andrew said his friend Bill had an old banger and he and Andrew would come and pick me up and deliver me to the Millers after the dance with the proviso that I found a partner for Bill. Easier said than done. It didn’t help that I had never met Bill and all my close friends were either unavailable or reluctant to go on a blind date. Eventually Mary – a quiet studious girl in the set above me agreed to go. Now the only problem was what to wear.

As far as shoes, gloves, jewellery and evening hand bags were concerned I had endless choice from friends keen to help. The dress was going to be made by a trusted dress-maker from home. She copied a gorgeous gown from a Vogue photograph. We decided that ‘hair up’ would add a little sophistication and practiced by sweeping it up and to one side which had the added benefit of covering an ear which I swear was larger than the other. Home Sister, however, objected, even though I pointed out it was well off my collar.

‘It is inappropriate for duty nurse. Change it!’

Make up was just a dusting of Helena Rubenstein silk powder, a touch of Tangee lipstick and Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass perfume.

I didn’t tell Mum until it was a fait accompli. I didn’t want any nonsense from Paul sticking his oar in. He had already made a few snide remarks about Jamie when he heard about the projected Lake District holiday but Dad seemed to have learnt his lesson and ignored it, thank goodness.

So much excitement, so much to look forward to. It’s true what they say: ‘Smile and the world smiles with you…

1 comment:


Every time. 'N if it doesn't? It's loss