Sunday, October 01, 2006

MEET THE FOLKS

MEET THE FOLKS

During our enforced wait in the sleazy area, I explained to William that if he had resisted the urge to condemn the bus conductor’s rabbits to an early death, we would now be on the bus and halfway home.  William, in his wroth had not noticed the conductor’s face soften, nor yet his proffered arm to help me up.  He listened, a little abashed and apologised.  I thought it ironic that his stammer didn’t prevent the snappy crack that would be better left unsaid.

There was a warm welcome and one of Mum’s special high teas waiting for us and William relished both.  After tea I went into the kitchen with Mum to wash up and let the men get on with the business of ‘permission to marry.’  Before we’d even started the cutlery, Dad appeared with a big grin on his face.
‘What happened Dad?’
‘Well t’lad couldn’t get it out and I knew what he wanted to say so I said it were alright and you could get married!’
‘Thanks Dad’.
You would think they were glad to get rid of me.
‘When were you thinking of?’
‘July – as soon as I have finished my Finals.’
‘Eeh Pat!  Couldn’t you wait a year?  We’ve just bought a three-piece suite.’
Mum caught sight of my face and said.
‘Never mind we can manage it.’  Good old Mum!  Well, she held the purse strings so she should know.

Over the week-end we discussed the arrangements and William suggested we got married at sea where, as long as you were three miles out, the captain could marry you.
I said I wanted to be married by our minister.  He and his wife had been kind, helpful and supportive during my teen-age years and when William saw the simple church (alas no more) he agreed.  It was a shame that Gran would be in the States, Maddie and family in Africa and William’s brother and family in Malta.

William sent off for an engagement ring that he had seen in a catalogue.  When Vanessa saw it she said she had never seen such a tiny diamond and you could get really good sized zircons for the same money.  I forgave her and asked her to be bridesmaid.  I also asked Annie, my old friend from the Convalescent Home.  We all met in Manchester and as often happens when you introduce your special friends to each other it didn’t go well.  Vanessa had a vision of them wearing striped creations in yellow and black.
‘We’ll both look like bloody big wasps!’ moaned Annie.

There was so much to think about and Finals were looming which was giving me nightmares.  William’s father had a heart attack and when he was convalescing his mother wrote how she was pushing his bed out onto the veranda every day so he could enjoy the spring sunshine.  This worried William and his brother as she was no spring chicken and had angina.  And then a bombshell!

William met me one evening looking desperately worried.  He had been called up.
‘Not another bloody war!’ I screeched.  Apparently when he left the Navy he was given the option of signing on as a Reservist.  This meant he would get an income of 1s 1d a day (about 14p but it went much further then) and as he was going to University he jumped at the chance.  Now however the Korean War had broken out; conflict between the Communist North and the American occupied Republic of South Korea.  I couldn’t understand why the British Navy had to be involved.  Maybe now history is repeating itself. I wondered if someone was trying to tell me something.

William was insistent that we should bring the wedding forward – even if it meant we had to get married in a registry office, he just wanted to be married.  He was going off to war – anything could happen – I had to agree.  I went to see Matron and explained what had happened.  She was very sympathetic and said I could have some leave to get married and would then return to take my Finals and make up the time off after then.  There were a few tears shed.  Most of my close friends had left so the people who didn’t know me very well, assumed I was pregnant and had to get married.  I was so sick of wars.

27 comments:

kenju said...

I think I smell trouble coming. Do I?

Life of a Banana said...

So do I. Especially with the mail order engagement ring.

AndrewM said...

Wrath methinks.

Wrotham is in Kent.

Carry on the good work.

PI said...

kenju: probably not as bad as you think - yet awhile.

banana: our expectations were so much lower after all the rationing and endless periods of austerity. I admit I wasn't blown away but there is truth in the saying 'Everything comes to he who waits.'

PI said...

andrewm; methinks if you look in the dictionary you will find both are acceptable. i always have difficulty with the pronunciation. Remember Phillip Roth who wrote 'Portnoy's Complaint' it was once described as 'the Gropes of Roth ' which I thought very clever, being hopeless at puns myself. Forgiven?

granny p said...

OH dear. Those bloody wars. A friend of mine was also called back for the Korean War and refused to go. Apparently a lot of people did. It was the first major refusal of call-up so they decided to hush it up, so as not to encourage anyone else; he got off scot-free. Your William clearly sterner stuff. But what a start. Wait for next instalment. (Can also see trouble of all sorts looming...)

PI said...

granny p: I didn't know that, but William would never flout real authority. He had had a strict upbringing by two old school teachers. I keep thinking of the song 'there may be trouble ahead ...'

Dandelion said...

Look, you pessimistic people! It was the olden days! It's going to be fine.

PI said...

granny p; I mean old-school teachers. Although they were both in their sixties.

PI said...

dandelion: ah! the optimism of youth!

apprentice said...

How long did you get between the wedding and him going?
It's amazing the change in one lifetine isn't it?

My Mum had a zircon.

PI said...

the apprentice: I can't tell you without giving the game away. And I want to make sure you come back!
Lucky Mum! I just want something big and sparkely 'cos I'm common as muck! I'm spoilt now.:)

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

It's all happening so quickly. It must have been a such a worrying, frenetic time to hear William had been called up for Korea. Were you ready for the wedding when it happened? Mentally and practically? Did you even have time to get a frock sorted out?

His mother sounds like a bit of a pill. I've a feeling we haven't heard the last of her.

Dr Maroon said...

I'm back on the case. I re-read from Vanessa and William, and I'm sitting here frowning away. It's a bit of a revelation reading all this from the woman's point of view, men can be utter dolts sometimes. I never realised.
The fancy dress bit was very funny, as was "I hope your rabbits die!", and the bit about looking like big wasps. I keep thinking of a dressing gown and cigarette holder and voila! Noel Coward. Meanwhile, William just sticks on his dungarees. See, that’s what I would do.
But, the man's an engineer, we must give him that, and he is to sail halfway round the world in the Royal Navy to fight Chinese communists!
He wasn't on the Amethyst was he?

Of course we shall be there for the big day. I shall be in my overalls, while she herself will be in the yellow and black stripes.
Bride or groom you ask? Oh, bride’s side, thank you.

Dr Maroon said...

I'm back on the case. I re-read from Vanessa and William, and I'm sitting here frowning away. It's a bit of a revelation reading all this from the woman's point of view, men can be utter dolts sometimes. I never realised.
The fancy dress bit was very funny, as was "I hope your rabbits die!", and the bit about looking like big wasps. I keep thinking of a dressing gown and cigarette holder and voila! Noel Coward. Meanwhile, William just sticks on his dungarees. See, that’s what I would do.
But, the man's an engineer, we must give him that, and he is to sail halfway round the world in the Royal Navy to fight Chinese communists!
He wasn't on the Amethyst was he?

Of course we shall be there for the big day. I shall be in my overalls, while she herself will be in the yellow and black stripes.
Bride or groom you ask? Oh, bride’s side, thank you.

PI said...

sam: it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. Nothing was ready because the wedding had only just been discussed - to be held in July and this was about February. No dress - nothing.
William's mother was a character who nearly drove me potty at times but I came, eventually, to be very fond of her. Like William she was a one-off, eccentric and totally outrageous.

PI said...

doc: no he wasn't on the Amethyst, in fact you may be surprised. Sorry it's difficult to stop dangling future episodes in front of you like those women at the windows in Amsterdam.
Glad you will both be supporting me on the big day.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Guess what Pat! I've got Creme de Cassis to make kirs for the big day! I got it today in a wierd little old liquor store which also sold liquorice pinwheels so I am a very happy wedding guest indeed and nobody's even said I do yet!

I'll be there though, with my confetti. Is it allowed? Flash photography?

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Right, third attempt. I tried to comment earlier but blogger was being a bugger and it didn't take either time.

Just to say I'll be coming to the wedding. I love a wedding, me. Is confetti allowed? Flash photography?

Guess what! I found some creme de cassis in an odd little liquor store that I think might only appear once every hundred years, Brigadoon like. They had liquorice pinwheels too so I had a very jolly time saying Aaaaaah look you DO have it and oooooooh look you have those too and ooooh I'm so happy I've found you! They bustled me out of the shop a short while after I'd found a bottle of Chaucer's hony mead with mulling spices.

Its kirs tonight! Huzzah! The Problem Husband and I will be raising a glass to you Pat. Can he come to the wedding by the way? And the girls? I'll bring milky buttons and that should keep them quiet during the service; it doesn't become a wedding to have middle-aged man stamping his feet and wailing in the aisles (unless he's the piper) because his wife forgot the Milky Buttons.

OK Blogger, bring it on! I'm ready for you!

Work!

Dr Maroon said...

Women in the windows in Amsterdam? Who mentioned women in the windows in Amsterdam? I had a perfectly good reason for being there. I'm sure I never mentioned women in the windows in Amsterdam.
Sheesh!
We travel there, at our own expense to be claimed back later, for an important conference on turbulant flow, and what do we get on our return? The women in the windows, flung in our faces. Well, I just won't go next time.
It's not as if they're even good looking.

PI said...

Sam: of course you're all invited - the little girls might like to be flower girls. I just have the two big bridesmaids at present - if they can ever agree on what to wear. It will either be yellow and black stripes or crushed raspbery. i'm hoping for the latter.
I'm on kir too - the chardonnay was just too dry and arid. Try not to outdazzle the bride honey!

PI said...

Dr M: Oops! sorry . No offence! The light was poor and it was when I thoughr you were the man on the boat. Dinna fash!

PI said...

Sam: PS Confetti galore and horseshoes and stuff but I think flash wasn't in use - not for the general public. Best not use it in Church. It may give the Reverend Sokell a heart attack or he'll think he's having a Visitation.

R. Sherman said...

I'm still enjoying this tremendously, dear.

Cheers.

PI said...

Randall: you mean you are enjoying my crises? Just kidding! Don't forger the wedding,

kenju said...

Pat, thanks for the visit! I am glad to hear that the Queen wears weighted dresses. I don't think I'd want to see what's under there if the wind was blowing...HAHA.

PI said...

Judy: now you've done it! There goes my knight hood!:)