Friday, February 08, 2008

After Tim

Story contd

I had always known there was no future for Tim and me and I knew the end would be painful, but after what I had been through with Jamie, years ago, this was bearable, and I was in the driving seat calling the shots. I had no regrets and believed I deserved to suffer. It was time to come down to earth and accept that for me, romance had gone forever. How little we know. One day, driving through the town I saw an accident; a man was lying prostrate on a zebra crossing. I was overwhelmed with the realisation that if Tim had an accident and was lying helpless I would never know. I had to drive into a side street to have a blub

We had outgrown the shop and left our first floor eyrie on the High Street for a street- level emporium with a huge basement. It was in the road parallel to the High Street and facing the Common. The front of the shop was all plate glass with a small area near the door for a display window. Our accountant told us we could afford it and we enlisted all friends and family to help us decorate. Once more one of the big stores was refurbishing and we acquired three large glass- topped counters and various shelves and cupboards

Downstairs in the basement there were four stalls in the large room, which we made into changing rooms with bright orange curtains. Then there was a room where we kept all foot wear- hockey, soccer and rugger boots and gum boots. The riding boots – being more valuable, we kept upstairs – in view. There was a small office, loo and kitchen. The worst thing that happened was the time when we discovered someone had peed in a gum boot.

On the ground floor our desk was by the window, looking out on the common. We felt naked with all that glass so had a brass pole fitted and hung, what were then fashionable restaurant curtains, which came half way up the window so we could see all that was happening outside. One day I noticed rats on the common and was told that they follow the same tracks for years. No more picnics on the Common for me then.

We had fun choosing the type of lettering for our shop sign which ran the width of the shop and was most impressive. That was the easy part; the actual move was a nightmare and I have managed to block it out of my memory. We had to buy lots more hanging rails and vowed that this was definitely our last move. We had gradually built up our part- time staff and were now down to two partners again. I had urged Jan – our third partner, to have investigations to see why she couldn’t get pregnant and she was found to have fibroids. After having them removed – again with much encouragement, she became pregnant which we were very happy about in spite of losing such a treasure. It was a girl and Mary and I became god-mothers. We considered looking for another partner until our accountant assured us that we didn’t need one.

I got great pleasure from driving into the town, leaving my little sports car in the middle of the common and walking down - it always seemed to be sunny- towards our magnificent shop. Friends would pop in at lunch-time and we had a choice of at least half a dozen good places for lunch. There was little crime in those days, fortunately, because in the school holidays we were turning over vast sums of money and in term time we needed to have a large amount to pay the customers whose garments we had sold. In the busy periods there was little time to enter up all the sales on the customer’s cards so I would often go in and work when the boys were in bed.

On the whole things ran smoothly although one day some schoolboys came in larking about, using foul language and drinking coke. I spoke sharply to them and one of them spat at me. That sort of thing didn’t happen and I was very shaken. I wasn’t going to let it lie – how dare they behave like that in my shop? I managed to trace which school it was – from the uniform, and informed the head- master. Then I forgot about it until one afternoon that same boy came in and apologised. I asked him if his mother knew about it and he said no and, with tears in his eyes, asked me not to tell her. I asked him how he would feel if someone had spat at his mother. Both of us, I think felt quite emotional and I had to restrain myself from giving him a hug. Even in the late sixties William was shocked and said I should never stand up to them. How times have changed.

Footnote. Years later after being re-united with MTL, Julia my talented friend in the theatre club bumped into Tim on one of her frequent trips to town. They only had a quick chat and Tim was never very forth coming but it appears he was married and Julia told him I had married Jamie. We had been each other’s confidantes so of course he knew who Jamie was and was happy for me

41 comments:

Catherine said...

I always admire those who run businesses and make them profitable, it is not as easy as it might seem.
I wonder how many more years of your story you have to go? Michele sent me for a catch up

PI said...

Catherine: I ask myself that same question frequently. If I ended before MTL and I got together again I think there may be murmurings. Maybe I should speed up. In real time it's nine years till then.

Z said...

Murmurings? Darling, we'd be on your doorstep bearing placards and chanting.

PI said...

Z: thank you for that! xoxoxox

R. Sherman said...

Then there was a room where we kept all foot wear- hockey, soccer and rugger boots and gum boots.

Now I'm confused. I thought it was football in your neck of the woods -- unless you used "soccer" to assist us colonials in figuring it out.

As for the confrontation with the school boy, you story distills the problem: Children now have no concept of respect and authority. Further, his desire not to have his mother find out, demonstrates who much things have changed. Now, the parents would probably blame you for provoking their little darling.

Cheers.

kenju said...

I would love to have seen your place of business, Pat. I'll bet it was quite the place to be. I know you must have been incensed when those boys came in and acted that way. I would have been very mad and also a little scared.

I guess you were glad to know that Tim found someone and married.

PI said...

Randall: I'm in deep trouble with # 1 son and my late father if I have got this wrong but I thought soccer was just a posh way of saying foot-ball?

PI said...

Judy: I have a photo somewhere - I'll try to find it. Sadly Mary died last year so I can no longer ask her.
It's a good job i don't have a shop now- I'd probably get knifed.
It was great to hear about Tim but I knew in my heart he would be fine.

AndrewM said...

The term 'soccer' has largely fallen out of use in mainland UK. 'Football' IS Association Football (see where soccer came from). 'American Football' is the gridiron nonsense, 'Ozzy Rules' is convict sport. 'Rugby' is either Union (proper) or League (think whippets and pigeons).

Hope this helps.

Next week, 'cricket for septics'.

PI said...

Andrewm: yeah - like I was sayin'!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

what Z said. And possibly even rioting a bit. I think you should keep going until the present day.

I was bracing myself for a cliffhanger, but there was a happy ending! Are you sure you're feeling OK? ;-)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I just LOVE the way you write, Pat....I can see that shop and evrything about it. I wondered if you had any pictures of the shop or the sign outside....! It would be so great to see it....! It was good to read your updaye on Tim, and good to know he was married, etc. It is scary how times have changed, isn't it? I mean in terms of vandelism, etc. In so very many ways times were really simpler back then....!

PI said...

Zinnia: yes thanks ducks! I suspect I feel happier now looking back, than I did then, looking forward. Hope that makes sense:)

Naomi: I'll try to find the one I had. Nowadays it seems you have to keep your head down when dealing with the general public and I don't think i could do that for long.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Rand's right. A lot of parents these days will automatically take their child's side in any dispute, even of they know fine well their kid's in the wrong. God knows what that does to children. God knows what kind of adults they're going to turn into. It's scary.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Rand's right. A lot of parents these days will automatically take their child's side in any dispute, even of they know fine well their kid's in the wrong. God knows what that does to children. God knows what kind of adults they're going to turn into. It's scary.

rosneath said...

how lovely that you got to hear the end of Tim's story (well, nearly).

I have to confess that I have many, many ex-boyfriends and I always think it is funny that you never find out what happened to them ...

belle

PI said...

Sam: sorry about the two comments. Don't know how it happened. Have you noticed- Rand usually is right?

Belle: I can never understand the ones who keep in touch and I think it's unfair to new relationships.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

So, everything is coming up roses, eh? Good for you.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

I told off some boys behaving badly in a chip shop in Oxfordshire last year. One of them had the grace to say "sorry", although his pal tried to take me on. It doesn't happen often on this side of the channel. Probably because we have better chips.

PI said...

Hoss:like the man said: 'All's well that ends well.' Or is it?

Daphne: not those old chips again:)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A wfine, well written story, Pat.

Michele sent me here.

kenju said...

Michele decided that I had to come back, Pat. Hope you're having a good weekend!

PI said...

Judy: Lovely thank you, my family are here.

R. Sherman said...

Not that I'm going to stop reading, or anything, but I liked your other profile photo better. Although, that's sort of like comparing Bridget Bardot with Sophia Loren.

Maybe I'll just shut up.

Cheers.

PI said...

Randall: since I got a new screen the old photo was terribly distorted on my screen - hideous! And it was two years old. This is fairly recent - I'll try to get a better one - but it 'aint easy:)
I want my old wizard photographers back.

gautami tripathy said...

Michele sent me here to catch up on your story. I enjoy reading about it.

BTW, thanks for doing the meme on my blog. I loved the quotes!

Bob-kat said...

I think you handled the incident with the school boy wonderfully. However, I have to agree with Randall, things would be very differnt today, as you say.

Sounds like you made a real success of your business - good for you! Michele sent me over to congratulate you as it must have been hard work.

Surcie said...

I've never heard the phrase, "have a blub" before, but I like it.

You convey so much sensitivity.

PI said...

surcie: thank you! I think it was P G Wodehouse who first spoke of 'having a blub in the lav' but it could have been one of the Miford gels.

Nea said...

You make a beautiful picture, but I miss your sparkling eyes.

Shephard said...

The thing that jumps out at me as I read your story is that, like the award in your sidebar, niceness seems to always have mattered to you. It's very encouraging in many ways. People often seem like they're in too big a hurry.
Enjoyed this latest chapter.

~S

PI said...

Jean-luc: my grand-daughter has put you on my side-bar.

Gautami: I thought that was an interesing post of yours.

Bob-kat: the shop was my passion for quite a while.

Nea: 'aint no pleasin' some folk:)

Shephard: it's easy to decry 'niceness' but it is such a comfort in life.

Catherine said...

Michele sent me back again to catch up on comments. It's easy to say that children are worse behaved these days, and violent crime certainly seems to be on the increase, but I gather here in the "colonies" things were far more lawless back in the mid 1800s.
Swings and roundabouts, I think - once it deteriorates for a while it comes back the other way

PI said...

Catherine: a week or so ago I wrote a post about two school girls which illustrates how splendid some of our youth are today. It is misleading to generalise I think.
'Teenagers' about Jan 22nd or 23rd 2008.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Neat stuff, Pat! Michele sent me today; I wish she'd do that more often.

PI said...

Susan: you have an open invitation:)

Anonymous Boxer said...

I run a small business, manufacturing not retail, and I'm impressed with both your tenacity in tracking that boy down AND taking his apology.

R. Sherman said...

Just to be clear, dear, I don't dislike the new photo. Your warm smile in the other one was always a day-brightener.

Cheers.

PI said...

anon b: thank you! That terrier like quality gets me into scrapes sometimes:)

Randall: maybe this will grow on you:)

gautami tripathy said...

I like this new picture of yours. You looks so graceful. Your other picture too was very warm.

Been reading the comments too. I think Michele should visit you..

PI said...

Gautami: I'd love for Michele to visit. She did once. Deep sigh.