Life With Mabel: Part Five

This is the fifth part of a fiction serial, in 825 words.

They got into a routine, and Mabel settled for planning the wedding to take her mind off of Reg’s lack of ardour. She was going to wear mum’s old wedding dress, which had been carefully stored in a box for years. A lady up the street was going to alter it to fit her, and only the veil would need to be bought, as the old one had become discoloured.

Dad knew the man who ran the Scout Hut, and they could have that for a reception after the service at St Cuthbert’s. The mums would make the food for the buffet with what they could scrape together, and both dads agreed to buy the beer and other drinks. Harry Price knew someone who had a black Humber car, and he would drive Mabel and her dad to the church with some white ribbons on the front. He said he would do it for the petrol money, and an invitation to the buffet after.

Both sets of parents were happy for the newleyweds to live with them after the wedding, but Reg was against that. “We should have our own place, Mabel love. A fresh start without any mums and dads breathing down our necks”. As a result, he was saving hard, and evenings out were strictly limited to the cinema once a week. By contrast, Mabel spent most of the spare money she had after giving some to her mum for her keep. She bought new stockings, different lipsticks, and paid to have her hair done regularly too. Fortunately, Reg never questioned her extravagance.

Molly White was fond of saying to her daughter, “Mark my words, Mabel. That wedding will come round so fast, you’ll wonder where the time went”. After hearing that so many times, it sudenly came true. The wedding was only three weeks away, the dress had been made, and they had arranged for a plaster of Paris fake wedding cake to sit on top of the square fruit cake that was all they could make with rationing still on. It would look nice enough in the photos. Eric White was paying for everything, as custom decreed. He had dipped into his meagre savings to make sure his girl had a memorable day. Everyone called him Chalky, and he was a popular man in the borough.

The guest list had not been much of an issue. The Prices had a maiden aunt, the spinster sister of Harry. Other than that, there was a distant cousin who lived in Kidderminster who couldn’t make it as he had gout. Mabel had one uncle on her mum’s side who was a widower, and the two cousins that were his teenage children. They were coming, along with some of the girls from work, and the one bridesmaid. Lizzie was a girl Mabel knew from school, and she only asked her to be the bridesmaid because she couldn’t think of anyone else. Her dad said he would pay for Lizzie’s dress, seeing as he hadn’t had to fork out on a new one for Mabel.

One of mum’s friends was going to play the piano in the Scout Hut, so at least they could have a dance and a sing-song.

Reginald had asked his foreman at work to be the Best Man. He didn’t have any close friends his own age, and Norman was in his forties, married with three kids. So his lot had to be invited too. There was to be no honeymoon. Reg had paid the deposit on a one-bedroom flat in New Cross Road. It had a kitchenette, a small living room, and one bedroom. It was on the second floor of a house, and it would mean a longer bus journey for Mabel to get to work. He took the flat without even telling her about it saying, ‘It’ll do us for now, Mabel love”. At least it was furnished, so they wouldn’t need to buy much except bedding and some crockery.

As the big day approached, the weather turned. The forecast for the twenty-fourth of June was rain. Mabel tried not to worry about that. At least it was going to be warm.

She had her hair done the day before, and slept sitting upright. The man with the Humber car turned up early the next day to run the food to the Scout Hut, and collect the fake cake top from where they had hired it. His name was Dennis Elliot. He had been a Commando during the war, and had got married before leaving to land on D-Day. While he was fighting over there, his wife had been killed in a V2 rocket attack that destroyed where she worked. He had come back with medals, but as a widower. He was very chatty, and also very good looking.

He winked at Mabel. “You look like a million dollars, darling. So pretty”.

Reg had never said anything like that.

30 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Five

  1. Poor girl, too young… it reminds me of when my friend’s sister was going to marry the boy next door and he was the most boring bloke and what would be called ‘square’ back then. She was very pretty and clever had no need to marry ‘the first chap that came along’ as my mother would say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1a) Mabel’s old memories: She wore her grandmother-in-law’s engagement ring, and got married in her mother’s wedding dress. She and Reg arrived in a used Humber car. And the reception’s buffet consisted of the leftovers the mothers had scraped together. Even back then, everything was old!
    (1b) Overheard:
    Mabel, opening up a tin box: “Well, at least no one has touched the fruitcake!”
    Molly: “No, but half the town’s fingerprints are on the box. It’s been passed around for as long as I can remember.”
    (1c) The food was so bad that some folks ended up eating the plaster of Paris fake wedding cake. It was better than the fruitcake.
    (2) Mabel replaced the 64 crayons in her Crayola box with the same 64 colors of lipstick made by Mabeleen.
    (3) Everyone called Eric “Chalky” and Molly “Beachy Head.”
    (4) The Prices invited their Maiden Aunt Arctica because she promised to bring a penguin pie.
    (5) Tin Lizzie ended up marrying Tin Woodman. They bought a Ford Model T, and drove the Yellow Brick Road to their honeymoon cottage in the Emerald City.
    (6) The newlyweds wouldn’t need to buy much except some sheets and pillowcases in Beddingham and some Betty Crockery recipe books for the kitchen.
    (7) Dennis Elliot had married before hitting the beaches on D-Day. His bride was killed in a V2 rocket attack back in the U.K. Oh, the irony!
    (8) To this day, Mabel regrets not marrying Dennis. He even said, “If you marry me, everything will be as right as rain. We’ll move to France and open an umbrella boutique in Cherbourg.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Wizard of Oz again, and now The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Your film references are doing well, David.
      Anyone named White was always called ‘Chalky or Chalkie’ here back then.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.