Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Three

This is the twenty-third part of a fiction serial, in 762 words.

The Swinging Sixties passed Mabel by. Life with Reg had settled into a routine, and the new car had made trips down to see both sets of parents more comfortable. Reg had been right about doing well by the time he was thirty. Assitant Project Manager became Operations Manager, along with another big pay rise, and a company car, a Rover. Reg had to sell the Zephyr, but got a surprisingly good amount for it, which he duly gave to Mabel, as she had paid for it in the first place.

He discovered a new hobby too. With his fishing gear tucked away in the loft, he joined the golf club. “All the managerial types are members, Mabel love. It’s the ideal place to socialise with people of the same sort.” His increased pay meant he could afford the set of golf clubs and membership fees, though he had to pay someone to show him how to play it first. She accompanied him to a social evening there once, but the wives of the other men all looked down their noses at her. Probably because she worked in Woolworth’s, was her conclusion.

Simon and Helen still lived next door, though as expected, they had never become firm friends. But they did have a baby, a little girl they named Olivia. She was almost nine now, and she reminded Mabel of little Denise, and how grown up she would be. It wasn’t that the neighbours were not friendly, they just liked to live quietly. When Mabel had first told Helen about the best Butcher in town, she had laughed. “Butcher? Oh no, we don’t eat meat, we are vegetarian”. And they didn’t own a television either. When Reg ordered a modern replacement for Winnie’s old set, Mabel mentioned it to Helen. She was dismissive. “They don’t interest us, I’m afraid. We read books, or listen to music on the record player”.

Funny people, Mabel thought.

They still had that old French car too, and Simon drove it to work every day. Reg was amazed it was still running. “Has to be ancient now. You only have to listen to the racket it makes”. After Olivia was born, Helen gave up her job in London, and did part-time accounting for a company in the town. They dropped all the books off at her house, and collected them when she had finished. But it was a mark of just how little they knew about their neighbours that Mabel didn’t even know who she was working for.

With her fortieth birthday coming up, Mabel mainly sat alone waiting for Reg to get home, or when he was at the golf club. Her dad was ill, and her mum worn out looking after him. Harry Price had died the year before, dropped dead from a heart attack on his way to get the Sunday paper. They went down for the funeral, and Edna was remarkably chirpy. “It’s the way he would have wanted to go”. Not long after that, she went on a coach trip around the Italian lakes, flush with Harry’s insurance money. According to Reg, she had a fancy man now. He wasn’t happy about that. “Mum’s showing herself up. He’s only about fifty, they say. Don’t know what she’s thinking of”.

Other times, she wallowed in the fond memories of her short time with Winnie. The stolen kisses, the secret smiles, and those nights when they let go to passion. Reg wanted to take her to some restaurant in Cambridge for her fortieth. “It’s the bees knees, Mabel love. Derek told me the menu is in French, and everything”. Derek was Reg’s new pal at the golf club, married to Henrietta, the snootiest of the wives. He was retired, so she had no idea what him and Reg could have in common. She nipped the idea of that restaurant in the bud.

“Seeing as neither of us can speak French, and our favourite dinner is fish and chips, I can’t see the point of going to some fancy-pants place in Cambridge. Everyone will be looking at us, Reg. That’s not our sort of place”. His face flushed, and he got grumpy. “Maybe not your kind of place, but I’m managerial now, and I’ve been abroad. The waiter will tell us what the French means, I’m sure”. She wasn’t having it. “Well if Derek likes it so much, you take him. I ain’t going, and that’s an end to it”.

With that, she switched on the telly and ignored him for the rest of the evening.

27 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Three

  1. So, Pete, you got them thru the Sexual Revolution in the 60’s and neither fired a shot.
    And now Reg has contracted the Scottish Plague, and Mable can do nothing to ease his pocketbook; because Woolworths doesn’t sell golf clubs.
    Maybe Mom’s fancy man has a sister that could be a friend to Mable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) “The Swinging Sixties passed Mabel by.” I guess she just couldn’t get into the swing of things.
    (2) Gandolf loves driving his VW Golf, Bilbo’s MINI Clubman is a big hit in Bag End, and NASA claims its Martian rovers are truly out of this world!
    (3) Simon and Helen never become firm friends, but they did have a soft baby.
    (4) Simon and Helen are not interested in something as obsolete as television. They’ve installed a prototype holodeck that creates realistic 3D simulations in which they can freely interact with real or imaginary environments, and engage with fellow Beatnicks as well as alien Klingons.
    (5) George Jetson was surprised that Fred Flintstone was still driving his old Subaru Legacy to the quarry every day. That car had to be ancient by now.
    (6) After Pebbles was born, Wilma gave up on her dream to become a rock star.
    (7) Bad citation: “Harry Price dropped dead from a heart attack after reading his obituary in the Sunday paper.”
    (8) Reginald kept bugging Mabel: “C’mon, Mabel, let’s have dinner in Cambridge for your fortieth birthday. I know of a restaurant that’s getting a lot of buzz! It’s the bee’s knees!”
    (9) Overheard:
    Mabel: “Seeing as neither of us can speak French, and our favourite dinner is fish and chips—”
    Reginald: “No problem! Derek said we can order the poissons-frites!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have some experience with the class distinction thing. It bothered me a lot but my brother seemed able to totally ignore it which was no doubt more sensible. Mabel is going to find another interest soon but what will it be?

    Liked by 1 person

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