A Good Runner: Part One

This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 765 words.

Mike and Edna.

By the time Michael Hollingsworth had finished his basic training, the war in Europe was almost over. He missed the celebrations in England though, as he was now part of the army of occupation, in the British sector of Berlin. At least they had taught him to drive, and to fix and maintain the trucks that he drove around, delivering supplies to various units stationed in the defeated country.

Lots of the soldiers took advantage of the situation. You could get a woman for the night for some cigarettes, sugar, or tinned food. The Jerries were desperate, and many were living in cellars, or in rudimentary shelters inside the rubble of the destroyed buildings. Not Mike though. He didn’t want to know about those women, or trying to make money by bartering for souvenirs or jewellery.

All he could think about was getting home, to be with his beloved Edna.

They had been together more or less since they were children. Living in the same street, playing with the same bunch of kids, and going to the same school until they were fourteen. The war didn’t really spoil their childhood that much, as living in Essex close to the Cambridgeshire border, they were sixty miles away from the bombing in London. Though the nearby American air bases made them very aware of the war, as well as the kids from London who had been evacuated and had swelled the numbers of the school.

Mike was twenty when he got home, and him and Edna didn’t waste any time. They got married two days after he was discharged from the army, and moved in with Edna’s mum. It wasn’t long before he found himself a job as a lorry driver, doing deliveries for a company in Chelmsford. They moved to the much larger town, and rented rooms above a hardware shop. Edna got a job working in the Co-op shop, which was on the opposite corner. They had never been happier.

It wasn’t long before the company asked Mike to help out fixing their old lorries, and he soon found himself appointed to senior mechanic, no longer having to drive around the county. Just as well, as Edna was expecting. Little Brenda was born in the spring of nineteen-fifty, and became their pride and joy. But with Edna stopping work, Mike’s plans to buy a car had to be put on hold. He carried on using his cycle to get to work, and put down to do overtime on Saturdays, hoping to save for the car he wanted so badly.

Over the next few years, things didn’t get much easier. No sooner had Edna gone back to work once Brenda started school, she fell pregnant again. This time there were lots of complications, and Mike could no longer work on Saturdays as he had to look after Brenda, and help out around the home. And with a baby on the way, they finally got high enough up the list to be offered a small council house on an estate. The extra space and small garden were welcome, but the rent was more than they had been paying. On top of that, Mike’s journey to work was fifteen minutes longer each way.

Not long after they moved in, Edna lost the baby. The doctors told her she would almost certainly never have any more, and she shouldn’t be trying anyway, in case she brought harm to herself. As she recovered from her grief, Mike took on some cash jobs, repairing cars and motorbikes in the street outside the house. But he could only do that in good weather, and not that many people around them owned cars in the first place.

Edna got her old job back, and took the bus into town. She finished earlier, so she could collect Brenda from school. That meant Mike could go back to working on Saturdays, and very soon his savings account in the Post Office was looking very healthy. When she turned eleven, Brenda started at secondary school, one on the estate, not far from home. She was given a doorkey, and Edna told Mike she would go back to full-time hours.

One day when he got home from work, Edna had exciting news for him. “My manager is selling his car, love. It’s a Ford Prefect, and only nine years old. He said we can have first refusal”. Mike looked at her as if she was crazy.

“I’ve waited this long, so will wait a bit longer. I want a new car, not some old one”.

59 thoughts on “A Good Runner: Part One

  1. My dad’s first car was a Morris Minor he then progressed to the Morris Traveller complete with the nodding dog…lol….My first car was a Rover Vitesse …Black and white with go-faster stripes my all-time favourite car and I passed my driving test with it…I loved that car…Looking forward to see where the new series goes ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Rover Vitesse as your first car was very swish indeed, Carol!
      This is a gentler serial, about the owners of a car over a long period in our history.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

  2. Our first car was a Ford Prefect. I remember it well. The pop up indicators, the chrome bumpers which I was allowed to polish. And the fact that I was dreadfully travel sick in the back. Didn’t help with three of us plus a dog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was constantly travel sick, even into my teens. The only thing that cured it was learning to drive, and then always being the driver. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

  3. Ah, a gentler serialโ€ฆ. This had me recalling moments when I was a child in the late 60s or early 1970s when one year we went abroad as a family and the concrete motorway in Belgium played havoc with the exhaust on my fatherโ€™s Hillman SuperMinxโ€ฆ..well, we did get it repaired, and as I recall didnโ€™t upset our plans too much

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Pete,
    I loved dozing away sitting in the back of the car my mother was driving. She loved to drive her used Mercedes 170. It was a two colour painted car my mother was very proud of. We mostly just drove around for fun when my mother was off work.
    Great picture of the Ford Consul.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a Ford Consul Cortina. Launched in late 1962, it was renamed ‘Ford Cortina’ in 1964. Various body changes saw the model remain one of the best selling cars in Britain until it was replaced in 1982 by the Sierra. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. (1) “You could get a woman for the night for some cigarettes, sugar, or tinned food.” What was the going rate for a weekend?
    (2) The school’s math teachers weren’t happy that the kids from London had swelled the numbers.
    (3) “They had never been happier.” And so, they lived happily ever after. Oh, wait! There’s more to the story?
    (4) I would have gone with Rita Hollingsworth. Reportedly, Mike and Edna named their baby after Brenda Starr, whose looks were based on Rita Hayworth. I just thought this was worth mentioning.
    (5) Mike gets all Huffy every time he has to ride a bicycle to work.
    (6) “Not long after they moved in, Edna lost the baby.” It wasn’t until later that doctors implanted a radio-frequency identification transponder in babies. #MicrochipMoppet
    (7a) Edna “finished earlier, so she could collect Brenda from school.” Brenda was thrilled to pieces.
    (7b) Brenda was a dorky kid with a doorkey.

    Note #1: Ford Prefect is a fictional character in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by the British author Douglas Adams.
    Note #2: FORD stands for “Fix Or Repair Daily.”

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  6. I remember the Ford Prefect. Dad bought an Austin that he christened “Flamer” because it was such a flaming nuisance. He used other words to describe it but they were not polite.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Pete,
        I had this car as well. Mine was very reliable. I had it for more than ten years. But that was my last car not being a Volvo.
        Wishing you a happy weekend
        Klausbernd
        The Fab Four of Cley
        ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Dear Pete,
            white was quite fashionable in 67, wasn’t it?
            We are just back from a long walk in the marshes and picking samphire.
            Love to you
            The Fab Four of Cley
            ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Dear Pete,
                we love Holkham especially the beach and the walk around the lake.
                That sounds like you had a great day.
                Happy weekend
                The Fab Four of Cley
                ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember running boards ๐Ÿ™‚
        My father had a sister who lived in Southend and I remember we drover down to spend a week with her. It took hours, we started before dawn and didn’t get there to mid afternoon.
        My parents put two biscuit tins in the footwells of the back seat and laid a blanket across it. My little sister slept on the back seat and I slept on the biscuit tins ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Have a wife and a daughter with the same problem ๐Ÿ™‚
            Wife always drives and the sickness bands work for the daughter.
            A friend of mine as a child was always given boiled sweets for car sickness. They worked, he is no longer car sick, but boiled sweets make him nauseous

            Liked by 1 person

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