Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Seven

This is the twenty-seventh part of a fiction serial, in 720 words.

As it turned out, Molly White made the decision for her daughter. Unable to speak, she was still able to write, so when Mabel told her she was going to take her to live with them in Huntingdon, she made a writing motion with her hand. Reg handed her a pen and opened his diary at the back for her to write on. The message was clear.

‘Not your house. Your life. Not mine. Home is OK’. Mabel asked her outright. “So you would sooner go into the care home than live with us, mum?” Molly nodded vigorously, and managed a crooked smile to confirm her wishes.

As Reg drove them home that evening, Mabel had to admit to being overwhelmingly relieved. Having to care for her mum for however long she lived was not a prospect she had been relishing, but she would have done that had the decision gone the other way. Reg was obviously happy too. “I wil drive you down to see her whenever you want, Mabel. Promise”.

So the move went ahead, and she felt rather grand in the spanking new bungalow. Reg employed a local company to do the painting and wallpapering before the carpets went down, owned by another one of his golf club friends who gave him a good price. She took a week’s holiday from Woolworth’s to get it all arranged as she wanted, then Elsie came round as usual on the Sunday, keen to christen the new bed in Mabel’s room.

Elsie also had some ideas to discuss, mainly about trips and holidays. “I was thinking we could go on some coach trips, Mabel. Nobody thinks anything of two women friends sharing a room, and I have seen some advertised for nice spots in Yorkshire, or Devon if you prefer. They are not expensive, and I can pay my way”. One good thing about Elsie, even though she knew Reg and Mabel were well off, she never once asked for a penny from her friend, or expected her to pay more than half for anything they did. “And next summer I thought we could get a caravan in Scarborough for a week. Reg won’t object, and we can spend some extra time together with no work or distractions”.

By the end of the month, they had a coach trip to Devon to look forward to, and had booked a caravan for the following summer, within walking distance of the beach at Scarborough.

But Mabel couldn’t go on the coach trip to Devon, because her mum died two days before. Elsie understood, but went anyway. “No point wasting two tickets”. Mabel and Reg had to pay for the cremation and service, and drive down to South London on the day. They were the only mourners, along with an African woman who worked at the care home. She had only come along in case nobody was there to see mum off. Mabel cried a bit on the drive home. She wasn’t really crying for her mum, but because all she had left in the world now was Reg and Elsie.

Still, she now had Scarborough to look forward to.

Molly White had left her daughter some life insurance money. It was only one thousand pounds, but must have seemed a lot to her. She had paid the insurance man every week at the doorstep, and he had ticked off the payments in her little book. Other than the money, there were some framed photos that were boxed up by the home. She agreed to pay to have them posted to her. In the box was her mum’s wedding ring, a rolled-gold bracelet that dad had given her the day they got married, the four photos, and mum’s false teeth.

Sitting looking in the box made Mabel sob loudly. That was the sum of her mum’s entire life, right there. Reg felt sorry for her. “Don’t bother cooking tonight, Mabel love. I will go and get us fish and chips. Why don’t you have a glass of Port? Make it a large one”. She had two large ones before he got back with their dinner.

After they had eaten, Mabel poured her third large Port.

“I’m not ending up like mum, Reg. Not never, I tell you. I won’t end up like that”.

35 thoughts on “Life With Mabel: Part Twenty-Seven

  1. (1) Overheard:
    Reginald: “I will drive you down to see your mum whenever you want, Mabel. Promise.”
    Mabel: “Just a reminder, Reg. I’m Mabel Price, not Mabel Promise.”
    (2) If Reginald wants a good price, he needs to get Mabel pregnant, and take care not to spoil the child.
    (3) “Elsie came round as usual on the Sunday, keen to christen the new bed in Mabel’s room.” But since she was hard up for money, she used sparkling water instead of champagne.
    (4) Bad citation: “And next summer I thought we could get a caravan for a week. After going coach, it would be fun to ride some camels during the day, and then hump at night!”
    (5) An African woman came to the cremation and service. I hope she didn’t forget where she parked her camel.
    (6) In the box was her mum’s wedding ring, a rolled-gold bracelet, four photos, and her mum’s false teeth. “I’m not ending up like mum, Reg. Not never, I tell you. I won’t end up like that. I’m gonna sell my jewelry, take a hundred selfies, and start brushing my teeth three times a day!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a car breakdown caused a coach trip to be cancelled in Part One. Everything else has been in ‘flashback’, (Mabel’s memories) until the final episode.
      Best wishes, Pete. x


    1. Every adult I knew as a child paid the insurance man at the doorstep. My mum had different books for her and my dad, and another one for contents insurance in case of a fire. We had the same insurance man until we moved to the Kent suburbs in 1967. I don’t think he ever took a holiday, as he never missed a week.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We had regular visits from the Prudential and Royal London companies. When my mum died I found an old insurance policy that her own mother had taken out on her in 1925. It was yellowed with age, but still valid.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Elsie’s the one Mabel ends up making excuses to so I think eventually she gets bored with her and learns to enjoy living with her clueless husband. Such arrangements can be quite comfortable!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Most people leave too much, but Molly seems to have had rather a sad life… my uncle’s parents never went anywhere hardly or did much- a looong retirement in the same little house. Older people these days do loads if they are lucky enough with their health.

    Liked by 1 person

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