Life With Mabel: Part Two

This is the second part of a fiction serial, in 733 words.

Sitting with her cup of tea, Mabel did what she liked to do best.

Thinking about the past.

It was the year 2012 now, and she would soon reach the milestone of her eightieth birthday. Reginald would have been two years older, if the second stroke hadn’t taken him. He hadn’t just been her husband, but the only man she had ever really known. They used to say childhood sweethearts at one time, but Mabel knew they were not that. He had just been around, and the first boy to ever ask her out on a date.

You couldn’t say he was good-looking or fashionable, but then neither was she in her teens. Maybe it had been the war, that had aged people, no doubt. Not that Reg had to go into the forces, he was only fifteen when it ended. But he hadn’t been evacuated as she had, and the Blitz had made him grow up fast. When she got back to London from Wales, everything looked different. Although their house had survived the bombing, the area was unrecognisable.

She knew him from Primary School, and he lived in the next road to theirs. His older brother Colin had been killed early on, somewhere in a desert in North Africa. Reg didn’t like to talk about that though. He first spoke to her seriously outside the baker’s. She was going in as he was coming out. Only fourteen at the time, she was already working at the local cinema as an unsherette. She got to see all the new films, and wear a smart uniform too.

He was awkward at first.

“I see you are working at The Roxy now, Mabel? No point asking to take you to the pictures, but we could go to the boating lake in the park on one of your days off. If you like.”

People would describe Mabel as ‘Stout’. She looked older than fourteen, with a prominent bosom, and larger than average build. No boy had ever seemed to notice her, and when her friends started to become interested in boys, she avoided the subject. She knew what to say to him though, her parents had told her.

“You would have to ask my dad if you want to take me out. He’s funny about that sort of thing”. Reg nodded. “That’s fine by me, I will go round and speak to him later then”.

She had smiled as he walked away. Could she really have a boyfriend?

Her dad had approved. Reg Price came from a respectable family. They had lost a son in the war, and Reg had an apprenticeship on the railways as an engineer.The prospects were good, as far as he was concerned. “You could do a lot worse, Mabel”, he told her.

One week later, he had rowed her around the boating lake, bought her tea and cake in a cafe, and walked her home. The doorstep pause was awkward, but he didn’t try to kiss her. She was grateful for that, as she had never kissed anybody. “So, can I see you again next week, Mabel?” He sounded like he expected her to say no. She had practiced her reply, in case he asked. “Does that mean we are courting then?” He gave a rare wide smile. “S’pose it does”. Then he leaned forward and kissed her cheek.

Dad was reading the paper in the kitchen when she walked in. “Tell me. Did he behave himself?” He tried to sound stern, but couldn’t help a smile. Her mum gave him a friendly slap with a tea towel. “Come on now, Chalky. Leave the poor girl alone”.

Mabel went out in the back yard to use the toilet. She sat on the seat for a long time after, excited to remember her date, and still feeling Reg’s awkward kiss on her cheek.

Having a regular boyfriend made her think about her job. She worked at the cinema most evenings and weekends, and Reginald was usually home from work by six, only working during weekdays. She made up her mind to get a different job with regular hours, otherwise they were hardly going to get the chance to see each other.

Three weeks later, she was working as an assistant at Woolworth’s in the High Street. It was a short bus ride, and she only had to work every other Saturday.

35 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Two

  1. She must have been fed well in Wales. Most people I remember from my childhood were very thin with all the food rationing during the war and after. I look forward to hearing about Mabel’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, overweight people were very unusual at the time, one reason why I decided that Mabel should be different. One of my older friends (now deceased) was evacuated to a farm in Wales. He told me he ate better than he ever did in London before the war, but was expected to help on the farm after school and at weekends. When he came home after the bombing stopped, he lost a lot of weight.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  2. (1) He hadn’t just been Eve’s husband, but the only man she had ever really known.
    (2) Memory can play tricks on an older person. The first boy to ever ask Mabel out on a date was Archibald, not Reginald.
    (3) The Blitz had made Reginald grow up fast. The Doldrums made me grow up slow.
    (4) “She was going in as he was coming out.” So they passed each other in the past, and now he’s passed away, and she’s still in this world.
    (5) Reginald wanted to row his boat into Mabel’s cove.
    (6) I was looking for a full spelling of β€œS’pose”…but I gave a “up”.
    (7) I really like the name Roxy Woolworth.
    (8) Mabel had a son named Abel. It seems that Adam once cheated on Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. When I brought my first serious girlfriend home at the age of 16, my mum said, “She’s lucky to have you”. My dad said, “She’s too good-looking for you, watch out!”
          We stayed together for almost seven years.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I blame Fraggle, she stirred up the idea of murder. What are we going to do with her? Maybe have her appear in the story? A time traveler, with a camera, someone who’s good with ear wax? xxoo

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    1. It certainly was. In the late 1950s, I had an aunt who seemed to have a different job every month. Not a real ‘Aunt’, one of those family friends always known as ‘Auntie’. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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