The Departure

The Departure

A Chapter by Wild Rose

It was time to leave; Arthur picked up his battered attaché case which had previously been used to carry his football kit. He was not wearing his best suit, as many others did when answering the conscription; instead he had chosen to put on a comfortable Harris Tweed sports jacket and grey flannel trousers his comfortable brown shoes and his tweed flat cap, following the rules set by Leeds United for all the team players.

May was wearing the light grey twin set with a dark blue hat and matching gloves, which Arthur had bought for her last birthday with a matching skirt and her brown flat shoes, she was facing a two mile walk each way to the station and back; she wanted to look her best as Arthur left her for who knows where or when, and she knew that the last view would be as important as the first, Arthurs last view had to remain in his memory until such time; after all as a footballers wife she was expected to dress, look and act the part.

Exiting the house, Arthur locked the door, and then handed the key to May saying “Here you are love, it’s yours to look after ”, May put it into her handbag.

They set out to walk the two miles to the station, Arthur carrying his attaché case May holding Harry's hand. They walked in comparative silence, just an occasional word; each with their own thoughts; When would they meet again; how would May manage the household without Arthurs guidance?

It had always been a partnership, Arthur was the "Man of the house" but they had always discussed things. It wasn’t a case of do as I say, as was the case with many families where the wife had no say at all; they worked as a team, and now one of the team was being taken away.

 

Arriving at the station Arthur handed over the travel warrant in exchange for a ticket. The clerk had seen so many of these he knew where Arthur was off to he said "Best of luck mate" as he handed over the ticket and returned to his work; thinking when will I be in his position?

Only those who work directly with the trains are exempt the forces and more young women are being recruited to take over.

It was twenty minutes to the trains due time. Arthur carried his bag into the cold waiting room.

May said it’s cold in here.

Better that standing out in the wind though Arthur replied. I suppose so replied May.

It seemed like hours before the porter poked his head round the door and announced that the train was due in a few minutes. They rose and slowly walked out on to the platform, each trying unfailingly to put off the final moment of departure, May now carried the attaché case as a sort of last act of kindness for him, with Harry in her other hand.

The train pulled up at the platform, Arthur bent down to Harry and said "You are man of the house now, look after mummy for me"; he then gave May a cuddle and said “Take care love, I will write with my address as soon as I can” turned and entered a deserted compartment and lowered the window.

There was chuff from the engine as it began to pull away, May and Arthur touched hands. As the train moved on May followed waiving to Arthur until they went round the bend in the track and was lost to sight. 

May stood watching the back of the departing train until only the last whips of smokey steam left;  as though wishing it to return and saying a private prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary requesting her to ask her son Jesus to take care of him.

Please Mary Mother of God watch over Arthur and keep him safe, bring him back unharmed, please help me to keep Harry safe”

May and Harry walked home in silence. Each deep in thought of what the future may hold

May calculated mentally how she could eke out her money. Arthur got One Pound per week from the mill and another Pound from his football, less if they lost and more when they won. Now it would only be Tens Shillings from the Air Force and another Five Shillings from the United. She wouldn’t need food for Arthur or any snap for his work, that’s where much of the money went food for sandwiches. Then Harry’s clothes; the gas and electric were on prepayment metres; Arthur had left a jar of shillings for that, but it won’t last forever. I will have to keep saving shillings in the jar and hopefully I will keep on top of those, I can use the coal fire for heating a kettle and keep water in the Yorky that should save some money.

Gas was only used to boil a kettle for a drink and wash themselves and pot and pans with on wash days she used the setpot2

Yorky (A range consisting of an open coal fire with an oven at one side and a water boiler at the other, both heated by coals from the main fire) the front was bare metal  brushed weekly with "black lead" ( a mixture of carbon black and water - applied with a stiff brush) The door furniture were all made from brass, these were polished with 'Brasso' a propriety metal polish

2 Setpot _ a cauldron cemented in place; with a coal fire underneath > filled with a short hose pipe from the nearby sink. Hot water was removed by a laddle 





© 2019 Wild Rose


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Featured Review

You have written an account of what must have been a familiar situation in war time Britain. That last heart wrenching goodbye, not knowing whether you would ever set eyes on your loved ones again and leaving the home in the safekeeping of the woman in the family. And didn't they have to step up to the plate to keep the home fires burning. A good read

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year Ago

Thank you Christine > It is a chapter in a book in am slowly writing
Began with family durin.. read more
Dave Brown

1 Year Ago

I wonder one day if "they'll" be able to attach a machine to our head and play back the memories'read more
Wild Rose

1 Year Ago

Nice thought Christine
They do have voice recognition machines And THINK ones which can disti.. read more



Reviews

have to agree with Autumn .. edit edit edit ;) i see this is one of other chapters but the detail in clothing and the football helps me put this in a time and space ... hard to critique without reading the previous chapters .. but in just this one i want to be shown more of who the characters are .. as with May praying to our Lord's Mother .. i know she is Catholic and most likely carries some of the Catholic girl stereotypes with her ..the same with Harry as a footballer ... i enjoyed all the detail of their clothes .. could use more in the scene .. maybe the train whistling in the distance .. the diesel smell .. etc. ..you have raised my interest to look for your beginning and read all the way through .. needs editing :)
E.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

2 Months Ago

Thank you Einstein: 1939 steam in those days
I was writing parts as the memories came to me <.. read more
Einstein Noodle

1 Month Ago

wow! even better knowing its your family history .. rich with story .. farming to business .. great .. read more
what a story, it blends together and builds. Really great.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

5 Months Ago

Thank you for reading and commenting
You definitely need to edit this for grammar, as there is a lot of missing punctuation that would add clarity to the sentences for easier reading.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Off to war, no exceptions, well maybe some. Your country needs you.
Yet right away, there are two wars. Harry's war after a short training period.
Mays war, looking after the house and lack of money.
Great write. You can feel it.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 7 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

7 Months Ago

Same when it came to our turn to go for National Service
Some got exemptions for educational.. read more
Paul Bell

7 Months Ago

could you imagine that happenin g today. Just dropping your salary old chap, hope you don't mind.
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
.
Wild Rose, you are quite the story teller.
I often get lost reading stories and I can never pinpoint exactly why but your telling of it kept me engaged right through. I found myself feeling for this woman's predicament, and I imagine that there were so many women in the same predicament during those years when the men went off to war.


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

11 Months Ago

Thank you > Pleased it kept your interest right through
A heartbreaking scene pictured perfectly within our mind's eye on reading this familiar situation that happened during wartime in the UK. You could really relate and understand how they felt. Both the soldier going to war. And their families. The emotional piece is done, sensitively and nicely.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

11 Months Ago

Thank you Dawn
I was three at the time
Although you've omitted quotation marks and placed more than one speaker per line, the story is well-worded and easily understood. Even though it takes place in a different time and locale, I could easily sense their feelings, having been a military person myself. There's fear and sorrow all around, then the possibility of friction when the service member returns. By necessity, wives learn to take care of everything by themselves and may have difficulty returning to their previous role.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

11 Months Ago

Thank you for your constructive comment > It was written as a draft for a book about life as a child.. read more
A great reminder of how war puts the ordinary people to test. A greatly moving story of apprehension and deprivation. A reminder of the horrors to people in peace time.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year Ago

Thank you > I am the 3 year old seeing daddy off
More to be written > 'Arthur' > was dad ent.. read more
Dhara_Ditzy Kat

1 Year Ago

Those who have lived through it have so much to tell. They know what life is and how to appreciate i.. read more
What wonderful details, what heartwarming though sad as sad memories! Your thoughts shine loud and clear here, seems as if you've just set pen to paper and let thoughts and pictures flow - simply yet with amazing detail, touches of fact couched in such personal language. Reading the second time, aloud.. i can near hear the voices, the concern, the stress. The love. How many times must this chapter have been real, distinct - not just in our country but all over Europe. This is a story about courage and necessity, dear friend. Superb writing. Sighhh.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year Ago

Thank you Pleased you have read and you comment

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Added on May 30, 2018
Last Updated on August 22, 2019


Author

Wild Rose
Wild Rose

Lake Disrtict, Cumbria, United Kingdom



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