Sunday, June 30, 2013

My peers

We were walking arm in arm, three old broads who have know each other since childhood.
I the youngest by just a couple of years.The oldest probably 8 or 9 years my senior.
The Veldstraat in Ghent Belgium is a shopping street.
We had started there, walked by shops full of the latest styles. We made fun of the young who came out with shorter and shorter skirts. Hair with rainbow color streaks. Overly done black make up around the eyes almost looking like football players ready for the game.
We sure had a great time talking about our own mothers and how they would see this scenario now.
Of course I had to tell when my mother unexpectedly visited me in the Inno tearoom.
I was with a few of my girlfriend's not yet 15, blond hair down my back but once out of the house I changed it to the side sweep a la Veronica Lake (unacceptable to Mother) , then when we girls met at the tearoom we would gossip and one package of cigarettes did the delivery around the table.
I had no idea what to do with it so I puffed and puffed and blew a lot of smoke but inhaled nothing .
I did not know that the waitress the enemy. She called my mother at work and there she stood with the steel eyes. Took the cigarette out of my hand, looked at the girls. Said "Au revoir" and dragged me to the ladies room where my hair was again combed with a middle stripe, a comb on each side with a little pink bow on it.

My story brought my friends in tears of laughter, they had all known Mme. D. ,my mother, and sometimes they had to do with her antics after we all became adults.

At the end of the Veldstraat E. decided it was dessert time and coffee, so we found a cozy pattiserie in
de Volderstaat. We made sure we had enough whipped cream to last us a few hours. The stories continued.
A. had been my neighbor at one point, our enclosed back "yard" was very small , all cement and the outhouse and the coal and potato bins in a little cove next to that. The pump was outside and in the winter we had to make sure to have hot water on hand to break the ice before we could pump water for our coffee and face washing. A7 foot brick wall separated us. When my Mom yelled they would often yell back with an answer for her. When I got married in 1951 and bought a record player they complained that I was listening to Ima Sumac with all her vocals, I had 3 records, Johny Lane, Ima and Nat King Cole. What did they want from me? They wanted me to move out which I did after 1 year with mother and husband.

Finishing our coffee and on to another street and A. the elder, liked a little bit liquor, she could hold it too.
One wine for me and I will dance on the table or under it.
So the next big bar with lots of room we settled in and it was A's turn to treat.
They knew her and the barman from behind the counter said "Een kleintje,voor jou?"
( a little one meaning all hard liquor in small glass)
together E and I settled for a calmer beer.
More stories ...remember when....more laughter....
Then A. said that every Saturday she had to watch her husband as he would get a ladder and try to see above the wall when I sat in the galvanized tub to take my bath. I had not known that at the time but found out later so I started to put the tub in the corner next to the coal so he would not see me.
My turn to treat so another kleintje and another beer or two.
We started to entertain a few people who came in, they wanted to laugh with us.

It was a great afternoon and it was the last time I saw them.
We all 3 stood together and cried while hugging. We knew.

Yesterday I heard that A. has dementia and almost burned her house down with cooking sausages till they turned into smoke and alerted the gal next door.
E. has a new knee, totalled her car a few months ago but came out OK.
Her husband is older, he is pushing 89, like me he is deaf but he learned how to use the computer and writes me jokes every day, as well as to 121 other people.

We were young once and now we are leaving one at a time.....
Memories of the three broads in Ghent are still with me....I would hope that A. can find them now and then in her new world.

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