Thursday, August 12, 2010

1978: last bit

The mother's helper is named here, A. (I'm sticking with initials except for my own name, which I retain since it is mine to share), and I am left with my mother's question at the end, with no personal memory of the story.  I have a question of my own: How did my mother, who did not have money to spare, hire a mother's helper? Maybe this was such a bad experience, she never hired one again.

Keep in mind this is more of a journal -- my mother trying to catch the moment for later use -- with some artistry but also with some things that one might omit from another draft, such as the continued use of "disgruntled."

1978 last bit

“T. and I were students together,“ I said lightly, to include [the mother’s helper], to make her feel like one of the family. “But we didn’t know each other then. It wasn’t till we started to teach that we got to know each other.”

The children had started to hit each other. T. and I got up. A. stayed with her cup of tea. It was her first day, I thought, she must have felt strange, in this exciting city.

T. cooked dinner. I set the table. R. came home. Now there was a head of beautiful curls. Brownish red Welsh curls. But cut wrong.

“He ought to see to it,” T. said, “Beautiful hair like that, massacred, because he won’t pay more than £1.50.”

We ate. T. and I cleared the table. I did the dishes. R. and A. sat drinking their coffee. Not talking to each other. R. probably didn’t know what to say to a young American [student turned] mother’s helper with a new BA in drama. And A. wasn’t interested in anyone. Just disgruntled.

The children were bickering again. I gave mine a bath, then she asked A. to read her a story.

“Sure,” I said.

“Sure,” A. said and read a bit of Charlotte’s Web followed by Paddington Plays Golf.

I went up to give my littley her goodnight hug and kiss. A. stood by. Disgruntled.

“Lovely room,” I said. “We’re lucky to get a place at all in London. A room each. I thought you and Cait would have to share.”

A.’s room was identical to Caity’s. Bed, desk, 6 X12 or so. Shower next door. Toilet. Sweet, really.

A. said nothing.

Uh, oh, I thought again. What the hell’s up with her?

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