Saturday, November 28, 2015

Self-indulgent Saturday-Sunday #4

This fourth episode covers just 3 years, 1967-1970. Previous episodes are at #1 and #2 #3).
I returned to work in the County Record Office older, wiser and I'd like to think a tad more... erm..sophisticated. By this time my parents had left Yorkshire and were in the midst of their own itchy feet expeditions, almost as mixed and muddled as my own. I found a decent furnished apartment above a hairdresser's shop in Beverley's market place (top floor of building on left of photo) - it was a short walk to work. I had no telephone, but there was a phone box in the market place opposite; no fridge, no TV for a couple of years, just a record player and a transistor radio. Beverley is a lovely old town, some picturesque streets and beautiful Minster church.

 View of  Beverley Bar (ancient gateway)
The next three years proceeded in a much calmer steadier mode than the previous twelve. I took on extra work at the weekends, at home, to make a little extra cash.
Mr H was doing some extra work himself, on the archives of ancient Trades Guilds in London and I agreed to type and index for him. Later a friend of Mr H, a child psychologist, had some reports and data to type up, which I took on. The extra cash went towards cost of an annual vacation.

One vacation during this time was a trip to the Loire Valley in France - alone, by train and ferry across the English channel - all very adventurous! Stayed in a tiny hotel in Tours, a town with easy access to the many famous chateaux (castles) in the area. I treated myself to a couple of trips around the region by coach, tried out my schoolgirl French - it was just about enough to get me where I needed to be.

The following year I wandered back south-west to Devonshire for my vacation. While walking along the sea front early one evening a guy came up and walked beside me, asked if I knew...don't recall what exactly - the time? The way to....? Something. Hmm - is this a pick-up was my question! We chatted a while, both lonely it seemed. He suggested going for a drink . He took me to a bar in what was probably the poshest hotel in town. This fellow was quite "posh" himself it seemed to me from his accent - not one of my usual rag, tag and bobtail suitors.
I'll call him Hal, he was in town selling pet-related products to pet stores and supermarkets, a job he didn't much like but had been more or less forced to take, for reasons I could only guess at - perhaps divorce and loss of whatever. He had previously been a lion keeper, had been employed at Longleat Safari Park on the estate of the then Marquess of Bath. (Off topic - the current Marquess of Bath, by the way, is a character and a half).

I'd met a diverse bunch of people in my travels, but never a lion keeper! We got on well, but once his work was done in town he had to move on and so did I as my vacation ended. Hal wrote to me several times (always drew a little lion as part of his signature) suggested coming up to Yorkshire...then, I don't recall exactly what happened to stop him - maybe lines became crossed and several things happened at the same time.

 With Dad c. 1969
During this three years my Dad had a health scare - it turned out to be less serious than first thought, but still meant a week in hospital for him and some surgery. It was the first time I'd encountered any such serious worry about someone close, and came as a nasty shock to the system for us all. But in that instance all was well....what's the expression: Dad "dodged a bullet", and so did we. There would be many more bullets to dodge (or not) as years went by, but this first one taught us never to panic too soon.

I had few opportunities to meet people outside work so decided to try joining an amateur dramatics class planned locally. I turned up but was one of only two individuals who showed interest, so it was ditched. I was happy at work but increasingly lonely at home. I'd occasionally spend time at weekends with my grandparents - 2 bus rides away, or  go to see my parents, who were flitting around a lot back then - I think during this time they were in the midst of a move, but my memory's blurred on detail.  They did actually come to stay with me for a  short time, between moves.

There's a follow-up to a story from episode #3: the once apple of my eye, "O", who had disappeared, was eventually sighted again. His sister had promised to let me know if she had news of her brother, she wrote to me, told me that "O" was in a military hospital in North Yorkshire, suffering from TB, but recovering well. I arranged a visit, took the fairly long bus trip up to North Yorkshire and saw him once again - albeit with me wearing a mask and gown! The sparkle had gone out of my eyes - and heart - sadly, but it was still good to see him again. Once fit, out of hospital, and eventually out of the military he wrote to me, asked if I'd go to London with him. I had a bad feeling about it and gracefully declined. I was lonely, but that inner antenna was sending out warning signals that this would be a mistake. I was learning - well...kind of.

Separated but not divorced; outside of work this was an unpleasant limbo time, and was to continue for quite a while longer. Divorce was very difficult back then, especially from a Roman Catholic who made it his business to disappear, whenever it suited his purpose. It was years before I was free and single once more. I swore to myself that I'd never marry again - not ever!

Roads not taken, roads taken and reversed, roads still to be taken....
To be continued


Sonny G said...

aww Annie..

another great portion of your story.. Thank You.
Life is such an adventure of twists and turns, ups and down and round and round we go , Until......:-)
Good for you, listening to that inner voice.. I really believe in doing that and have suffered the times when I shut my ears and heart to it..

What a beautiful place you lived. It looks like a movie set... wow

mike said...

Thanks for the memories, Twilight! Beverley sounds like a very nice town to find oneself in for a duration, particularly when between life's scenarios and in need of a respite, until further direction arrives...LOL.

My late 20s and early 30s were sobering and the feeling of maturity was gaining on me. I finally graduated university (WSU, Pullman, WA) and had a full-time, staff position in the Molecular Genetics department. I felt that my plane had finally landed on solid ground after so many lean years supporting myself through college. It was a long-term objective that I struggled to achieve and I finally recognized myself as a member of the adult-set.

Like you, I had a deficient relationship that wasn't fit for survival, but difficult to terminate; a quagmire of deceit and betrayal that I wouldn't completely absolve for another several years. I'm not sure why I delayed the requiem, as the death had long passed, but I held for the resurrection that never came.

I had a fair number of friends, but typical of an isolated college town, so many moved-on after graduation, but always newcomers to replace the voids. Yet there was an underground of graduates that remained and became permanent residents, not recognizing that fact until a decade or more had passed. I eventually sought new vistas and packed my bags for new adventures. I had the realization that remaining in this rather idyllic life would become too comfortable and confining, and best to leave while I could and before the moss grew around my feet.

Leaving was difficult, but opening the barn door led to so many wonderful and exciting opportunities. My life was forever changed. I moved to Albuquerque, but due to extenuating circumstances, my stay was a brief six months and was a stepping-stone to Boston. I would NEVER have thought that! I was offered a position with a prestigious biotechnology company that I couldn't way. The relocation wiped the slate clean and began a stunning new life that I had never envisaged.

BTW - The cold front arrived several hours ago...brrrr! It looks like ice may have covered some of OK. Can you ice skate out your door today?

mike (again) said...

Hey, Sonny...where's your bio? I thought you were going to divulge your past shenanigans. Or are you a taker and not a giver...LOL...?

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Thank you - yes Beverley is a lovely old town - it was even nicer back then than it is now. Anyjazz and I visited Beverley a few times while he was with me in Britain. It had changed, as have all places in intervening decades, but main points of historic interest remain to keep the town well above average. :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh - that was interesting - many thanks for this slice of your own story. It seems we both had similar emotional slip-ups early on! Your chosen career must have been highly specialised clever stuff! I bet Albuquerque then was a lot quieter than it is now - traffic-wise. (I think we've mentioned this before - anyjazz and I have tried to stay there twice but traffic irked us so we moved on).

I shall look forward to a tale or two about that stunning new life you mention, next time. :-)

Re cold front aka Winter Storm Cara...We have ice dangling from every tree branch here, and one such branch has come clattering down on our roof already. Oh joy! Our power went off during the night for a few hours - surge protectors on computers and TV were screaming out, anyjazz was seen stumbling around with a torch at 3 a.m. trying to shut 'em up. Electric back on around 6 am. Still raining, but we're doing better than other places in OK according to radar pics online.

Sonny G said...

I didn't want to ignore your comment.. Just needed to figure out what to say.

Last week I told you about the JOY of building and how I enjoyed it and how it allowed me to live a fairly comfortable lifestyle and raise and educate my children.
along with , meeting some really great folks and knowing that all those families are living in a place where they can be Certain that as safe- sturdy-secure and long lasting as a place can be- theirs is..

Yes I have a life story and millions of memories and if this wasn't a public blog and if it was only you and Annie, then I would share it with you..
as the astrologer you recommended to me said " " wooooooooooooow, I don't know how you made it this far~!! but since you did, please know it'll be clear skies and smooth sailing by comparison for many many years to come "
it was worth every penny he cost just to hear those words and believe me I hold tight to them.. for how I got this far is also a wonder to me and everyone I know too... but I did.. suffice it to say much of my story is hard to write and might be hard for ya'll to read.

mike (again) said...

Twilight (Sonny & others) - I received a this-may-interest-you email from Netflix yesterday about "The Best Offer" movie. I watched it last night and I thought it was VERY good. This is Rotten Tomatoes synopsis:
"Virgil Oldman is a solitary, cultured man whose reluctance to engage with others, especially women, is matched only by the dogged obsessiveness with which he practices his profession of antiques dealer. He's never been close to another human being, not even Robert, his only friend - a young, skillful restorer of mechanical devices from every era. The day he turns sixty-three, Virgil receives a phone call from a young woman who asks him to handle the disposal of some family works of art. But when the time comes for his first site visit, the girl fails to appear, nor, for various reasons, is she present for the taking of the inventory or for the transportation and restoration of the pieces. More than once Virgil is tempted to bow out of what appears to be nothing but a bothersome mess, but on each occasion, the mysterious young woman, locked in her own obsessional world, convinces him to continue. And with this, the old antique dealer's life begins to take an unexpected turn. It is Robert who shows him, step-by-step, how to win the heart of a young woman who is afraid of the world and, caught in the middle of this puzzling game of chess, Virgil soon finds himself enveloped by a passion that will transform his grey existence forever."

Sonny G said...

thanks Mike~!!
that sounds like a good movie..
as you know, I had a 4 12 year span where I too, wouldn't go out in the world- at all. I was totally house bound . Standing at any exterior doorknob, shaking all over, heart pounding till it would drop me too my knees, tears rolling down my cheeks and the internal screaming- WHY WHY WHY ~! I was trapped in a personal Hell.
admittedly here 3 years later, I don't go out too often, but I can go and as long as I limit the amount of time I'm out and how crowded a place is- I am ok , at least for a few hours. Then the inner tension starts and I accept it and make my way home.. while this wouldn't work for most folks, to me its a Miracle..

I'm watching the Hatfields and McCoys trilogy .. but I'll search Netflix and be ready to watch The Best Offer in the morning while I finish decorating the great room, wrapping my packages and doing some sewing.
so thanks again for the review and suggestion.

mike (again) said...

Sonny - I bet I had a weirder earlier life than yours! Hard to say, as so many of us come from very dysfunctional families and have had to repair ourselves best way we can. There's so much I'm not mentioning in my brief bio-snips, as it would seem rather fantastical and hard to believe.

My graduating college was a monumental achievement for me, because I was probably the least likely to accomplish the task!

My parents were strange birds and each had their problems. I have no idea why, but they thought I was doing drugs at the age of 13, when the beatnik era was popular. I have no idea why they thought this and I certainly wasn't doing drugs. I went to our state fair in late August, 1963, with a friend and we successfully purchased a beer for each of us, which was my first-ever beer. I returned home in the late afternoon and my father met me at the door demanding to know what drug(s) I was on. I told him that I'd had one beer, but that didn't suffice, but it was the truth. From there it went and I was constantly being inspected for drugs!

I decided that I would come-out to my folks, as I'd recently recognized that I was gay, and I thought maybe that was the change they were sensing. Wow...what a mistake! I became a criminal and a derelict overnight. I think they would have preferred the drugs...LOL. At that time, homosexuality was illegal and considered a mental illness. My parents institutionalized me for reparative therapy! I spent the next two years in a decrepit state hospital. I was raped twice by a psychiatrist and spent time in seclusion. I ran away when I was 16 and I have been completely on my own ever since...sink or swim.

I took a bus to Kansas City and had no idea what I was going to do. I stayed in the lobby of a rather posh downtown hotel for four days over a long weekend. Monday morning, the hotel detective-security inquired what I was doing and I concocted a story about my parents being out of town and I had returned from visiting relatives earlier than they expected. I'm sure the house detective saw right through me. He took me to the hotel's cafe and gave me a hearty breakfast. He called the cafe's manager over to see if she had any busboy positions open, and she did. She gave me a pay-advance, enough money to rent a dive room at a sleazy hotel in the stockyard district. All of the restaurant staff were SO WONDERFUL to me! I could have all of the food I wanted and the short-order chef was always telling me that he "mistakenly" made this plate of whatever and was going to trash it, so it was mine if I wanted. That is how I made it into the adult world.

I was completely on my own at the age of 16...sink or swim...and I managed to stay afloat. I completed my high school equivalency exam (GED). I was 21 when I decided to go to college. Sold everything I had, went to S Europe for the summer, then returned and started junior college.

That's why graduating college was so amazing to me.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Re "The Best Offer" - we watched it last night too! SNAP! Enjoyed it - best we've seen for a while on Netflix. I have a post-it note in front of me to remind me to tell you about it. LOL!

Re your further life memories - WOW!!! Well, thank you for those - what an astonishing story! I did know you were gay, but the way it all evolved is amazing. Goodness me!
As they'd say in Yorkshire "I'm gobsmacked!" I shall just repeat...WOW!!

Sonny G said...


what good friends we would have been.. Thank you, I know that wasn't easy for you to write..

as with Annie and the sept 28 bday,, another coinky dinky,,I too was alone and out at 16 and 3 months :( different reasons but that feeling of aloneness is hard to comprehend by any who have not experienced it. I got my ged at 18 but LIFE was already too busy and complicated plus I wasn't the college type..
Parents~!!!! they give us life and then too often they do all they can to destroy it.. You survived and thrived thru it all and I am so glad you did and that I have a chance to know you in this life.. means a lot to me and shows me again that the universe will make certain I am exactly where I am supposed to be at every moment for reasons beyond my knowing.

I am awed and amazed by your True Grit and perseverance.

I'll write more in lil spurts when I can..
again, my sincere thanks .

mike (again) said...

“My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky.” Alan Moore

anyjazz said...

Twilight, your story is gaining speed. I wish I could remember details in my life like that. Perhaps that is why I am so careful with photographs. They are pretty much how I am able to remember things.

Your writing skill continues to improve. You are able to draw the reader through one event and link them to the next, while telling how you felt at the time. Good work.

Mike, you're a tough bird and I am proud to know you.

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Gotta love Alan Moore! :-)

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ Thanks muchly! :-) I'm thankful to have a good memory and to have retained most of it. My time in the County Record Office helped train my memory - I often didn't need to use the card index at all, and often surprised Mr H that way. It's not as sharp as it was, too many years' worth of data - and too much "stuff" best forgotten and covered in dust.

mike (again) said...

anyjazz - Thanks and the pleasure is mine! I know you through your comments and your mate's prolific writing. Your photo gallery is an amazing archive and I've noticed many are from Kansas and surrounding states, so I suppose some could be related to me, know it or not. I think we are all tough birds, though some have more gunshot in them than others...your photo gallery is a testament to survival.