The Departure

The Departure

A Chapter by Wild Rose

The Departure 

10 November 2019
13:11


The Departure 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 the 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 going, he said "Best of luck mate" as he handed over the
ticket and returned to his work; thinking 'How soon it will be 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 office work.
It was twenty minutes to the trains arrival time. Arthur carried his bag into the cold waiting room.
May said, "It’s cold in here."
"Better than 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 the 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 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 meters;
Arthur had 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' (1) 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 setpot (2)


(1) Yorky A combination fire range consisting of a central open fire with an oven to one side and a water boiler to the opposite Underneath them was a space open to the main fire where hot coals could be pushed to heat oven or water
Thus, the single fire could be utilized; saving on fuel  
Usually constructed of plain metal, which the house wife would burnish with ‘liquid ‘Black Lead’
The hinges to the oven door were often made of brass also polished, using ‘Brasso’ metal polish

(2) Setpot A cauldron set into a brick-built stand, with a space underneath where they could light a fire; usually, a few embers from the main fire would be placed in then covered with firewood.
The cauldron was filled by a pipe from the single cold tap and emptied by ladling the water out, the final drops had to be taken out using cloths or an old towel and squeezing them dry



© 2020 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

You do an amazing job of stretching out this goodbye scene with poignant reality for the situation. I would've made this scene about half this long or less, but then I would've missed out on how you made us FEEL the waiting, the impatience, & each little nuance as it's felt along the way. This is how it's done, focusing down on a scene & making us feel every inch of it. My only drawbacks . . . the first time you mention Harry, we have no idea there's a child & it feels like an earlier intro would be prudent . . . also, when you say more women are taking the clerical jobs, this needs to be expanded to explain the overall job situation at this time of women's history of being employed, how it was a BIG DEAL for women to be working outside the home, etc. That understanding is needed to get your passing remark about how more women were working. Overall, your storytelling is so vivid with details & facts, you put the reader right there (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

3 Months Ago

Thank you Margie > this is part of a much bigger story
follows from t "The departure and ret.. read more
Such a poignant story. So many people had those unhappy days, worrying, would he be back? Could we manage on our own until he was? I wonder what happened next? Thank you Wild Rose

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

6 Months Ago

A little bit before your time I think > In the previous chapter I described how they were storing so.. read more
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 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

10 Months Ago

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

10 Months 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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year 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 1 Year 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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year Ago

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

1 Year Ago

could you imagine that happenin g today. Just dropping your salary old chap, hope you don't mind.
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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year 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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wild Rose

1 Year Ago

Thank you Dawn
I was three at the time

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Added on May 30, 2018
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Author

Wild Rose
Wild Rose

Lake Disrtict, Cumbria, United Kingdom



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