Friday, February 29, 2008

Time to take Stock.

Story contd.

My trip to America brought my life into focus. It was a new decade; I was forty, in the next few years the boys would be leaving home and they were the glue that was holding our marriage together. William and I discussed this and he – half jokingly - suggested we should buy two separate maisonettes which had little appeal to me. I really loved my home and it suited the whole family. We had put a table tennis in the cellar and the apple loft over the stable had been converted into a teen-agers room.

# 1 son asked if he could have his birthday party there, minus adults, and we said yes provided there was no alcohol. He said no alcohol - no party - so there was no party. The good thing was he didn’t intend to deceive us which I applaud him for. We both took parenting seriously and spent as much time with them as they would allow. We often went to places of interest on Saturdays and I remember one that had a fortune teller in a caravan. William persuaded me to give it a try.

She spent some time studying my hands and she said I was not happily married but I would be eventually and would marry someone from my past. What a load of old codswallop I thought. I couldn’t think of a single person I would want to be married to. On Sundays we did ‘the walk’ and William would take us further and further each time, and then there was always a panic wondering if we would get to the pub before closing time.

The boys although both blonde and blue eyed were very different and had different tastes and talents. They both went on ski-ing and camping trips. I used to give them mini lectures about the importance of hygiene and the dangers of drugs. At least some of it got through; when I went to pick up the younger son after a cub week- end the cub-master was quite worried as my son hadn’t eaten all week-end. When I saw the trestle tables displaying uncovered food I understood why. I had told him never to eat anything a fly had been on. (Look it up -we did it in Biology). Between us we somehow managed to turn out two decent young men I think.

We had a glorious two weeks in Spain and that was the last time the four of us went on holiday together. We had a hairy drive to Granada which was so lovely and as a great treat we had a first class lunch in some beautiful grounds. We went to a bullfight and amongst others saw the matador de nos jours -El Cordobes - but the younger boy was disgusted and walked out. I felt I owed it to Hemingway to see what all the fuss was about but I never went again. Both boys would go sailing with William, the younger one would go youth hostelling and the elder would go on various holidays with either of us, in Scotland and later in France with me, mainly so he could drive as a learner with us chaperoning.

One year William and I took the rare decision to go on holiday together but with one of my old nursing friends (as referee?) – Vanessa who he approved of. It was to be taking a boat on the canals. William was always at his best on a boat and Vanessa and I enjoyed each other’s company and knew the boating couldn’t be too arduous on a canal.

The shop was running smoothly and we had a great team. The boys were now at secondary school and doing well according to their different capabilities; I had made some good friends in the theatre club and got plenty of acting and directing opportunities. I still had the odd upsetting dream about Jamie but on the whole I was content. Maddie had started working for publishers which meant travelling in Europe twice a year so she was a frequent visitor. She went to a Reunion in Oxford and saw both Liam and Jamie. She said later Jamie had problems but didn’t elaborate and I didn’t press her.

Just before we were due to go on the canal holiday with Vanessa, William walked into my room in the middle of the night and said he didn’t feel well. I put the bed-side light on, took one look at him and knew he was having a heart attack. Trying not to let him see my panic I sat him down and told him to just hang on and I would get the doctor straight away. I flew down to the hall and she answered immediately. She had just been out to a house in the same street – also a suspected heart attack- so that until we got the results we clung to the hope that it was just some infection. The doctor arrived very quickly – she said she could tell from my voice how urgent it was.

She did various tests with me still clutching William’s hand and trying to reassure him. The ambulance arrived soon after and the doctor told me to get dressed and to follow the ambulance in my car. I rushed into the boy’s bedrooms and told them that Dad wasn’t very well and I was going with him to hospital but he was going to be fine and I’d be back soon. They had no recollection of this the next morning and were furious with me. I phoned Vanessa and asked her to cancel the canal holiday. We were all in a state of shock.

20 comments:

rashbre said...

grippingly told (phew)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh My, Pat....that must have been incredibly scary...!
You write so wonderfully Pat.....I always feel I am right there with you...! It is such a gift, my dear!
I await the next installment with great anticipation....!

BTW: I heard just today that THE PLAZA is reopening in a few days!!! HOORAY!
Some of it is STILL A HOTEL! And supposedly it has ALL Been Retsored to it's "original slendor".....I was so very happy to hear this....Maybe the Oak Room can STILL be hoped for....lol!
It really had depressed me to think it was NOT going to "BE" anymore and would just be "condo's"....

granny p said...

Don't believe in fortune tellers - but that was interesting. William must have been a shock too - sorry about that. Such things bring back better pasts...

R. Sherman said...

The more I read, the more I think the "book" idea is a good one. Congrats, BTW, on the sons, although I would have told the Cub Scout that food hygiene rules are suspended on camping trips.

Cheers.

Ash said...

You had me mesmerized! I can tell that I need to come back and start from the very beginning...I am so glad Michele sent me here today!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

What a hideous experience for you both. Next instalment now please!!!

PI said...

Rashbre: that's how it was.

Naomi: thank you. That's great news about the Plaza. Meet you for drinks next Thursday?

Granny P: I don't either but there you go. On another expedition a handwriting expert said I had the hand writing of a nun - which caused a few guffaws.

Randall: thank goodness it was only a week-end. I hope you're right about the book.

ash: welcome and come and be mesmerised anytime:)

Zinnia: and I want to hear about what you have been up to?

kenju said...

I can empathize somewhat, having been through that - except with a stroke.

I cannot wait for the next installment!

~Easy said...

I'll look further, but could you place a link for the previous installment for those of us who have rudely arrived late?

Michele sent me today

PI said...

Judy: you were very much in my head when I wrote it.

Nea said...

I know a bit what that feels like, but I wasn't faced with it as closely as you. I'd taken our two small children to visit grandparents in England when my husband had his heart-attack. Being told that the first 24 hours were critical and not knowing if I could make it back home in time was the worst part, until Grandpa came in from the garden, while I was trying to pack for the airport, and told me that my 3 year old had just eaten poisonous berries!

PI said...

Easy: the episode before is 'Marble Pavements' Feb 22. The story episodes are marked as 'Story contd'
the other pieces are headed 'Asides'.
Hope this makes sense.

Nea: how awful! The stress must be much worse when you aren't there. And then little sunshine eating berries. Thank goodness you all survived.

kenju said...

Thanks, Pat.

Monozygote said...

Oh my god! I was about to leave a comment about the flies (we learned it in biology too), but now things have taken a turn for the serious, I'm not sure it's quite apropos.

Whoever said you should write a book of all this was right. It'll be a blinder.

sablonneuse said...

Definitely nailbiting, edge of seat ending to this post.
I have to agree about fortune tellers. I don't really believe in it but years ago I went to see one who told me I would have the chance to get together with the boyfriend who had just dumped me but I wouldn't want him. Since I'd have given anything to have him back in my life at that time I thought how daft. Many years later we met by chance in the street and he asked if I was 'free'. I was and we went out a few times but it just didn't work second time around. Coincidence or what??

PI said...

Judy::)

Mono: flippant and serious are allowed in the same post. It's the way to survive. thanks for the encouragement:)

Sablonneuse: I would nevet consult them seriously, but one does wonder sometimes.

Carmi said...

I'm hanging on your every word, Pat, and I can't wait until you post your next entry.

PI said...

Carmi: oops! I have been following your advice re working on the book, religiously all week - until this week-end. Thanks for reminding me:)

apprentice said...

Oh how awful. But he couldn't have had a better person around than you to deal with it.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Lucky you're such a cool head in an emergency, Pat, and that the doctor was near at hand. What a scare.