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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: September 13, 2020      Views: 69
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Chapter 15 of the book Learning to Swim
Many twists and turns are experienced.
"Paddling Back" by Raffaelina Lowcock

Anna has more than her fill of problems and is learning, one stroke at a time, how to meet with disasters without completely breaking down.

The sudden problem with Les’s tonsils and the ensuing tonsillectomy was such a terrible surprise with the disappointing result of Les’s depression.
Acting as though everything was fine, was rather taxing, especially at Girl’s Club.  They wanted to know more about sex after marriage and it was difficult to deal with.  The one that was the most interested was Jackie Carlson, the girl that was going steady with Bob McNulty, the boy I had a crush on in High School.
“Tell us what complete love is like.” She asked.
I thought, I wish I knew, but simply answered, ‘No way I’m discussing my private life with you girls.”
“Why not?”  That from Pam Wingate.
The rest of the girls, Jackie Summers, Carol Crawford, the twins, Jackie and Marilyn Williams,
Jane Gordon, Shirley Miller, and Bev Lawrence were just as eager and added to the tumult.  Of course, I would not budge.
In retrospect I am seriously thinking of quitting even though I was the one who initiated the Club in the first place.  The thought that we might help some causes in the community never happened. Instead, it seemed, a venue for gossip which I cannot abide. 
I secretly wondered what they would say if they knew we were not experiencing complete love.
Meanwhile, I was at sea about Les’s depression.
He did not say he was depressed, but I could tell by the way he would stop talking for long spells as he stared off into who knew what.  Often, his whole body seemed to cave in like he had just run a mile and he was exhausted.
I tried to understand why, and of course when I thought it through it was not hard to see what might be going on in his mind. Firstly, the stress of knowing he had to have hernia surgery. Secondly, holding back the consummation of our marriage until his hernia surgery and recovery was bad enough, but then the tonsillectomy as soon as he had recovered was too much. 
I felt much the same for a while,  I knew what he might be going through because I was having my own longings.  I loved him so much and I yearned for him to wrap his arms around me and for things to be the way they should be when you're married. I was reading Calm Yourself, which was rallying me through my really deeply sad times and trying hard to practice “Mind Over Matter.”
I asked, “Les, I know you’ve been through so much, but is there something else?
“Well, I’ve been seriously thinking of finding a new job.  I don’t see much of a future at Baker Platinum.  The most that I could achieve there is becoming a salesman.  Management always comes from the main branch.”
This was a surprise to me.  I had no idea he was not happy at his job. I answered, “Why didn’t you tell me that?”
“There’s been so much to contend with, I didn’t want you worrying.”
“Well, have you decided yet.”
“Yes, I’m going to quit.  Is that okay with you?”
“Of course.  Whatever you feel you have to do.”
“That’s a relief.  I’m glad you agree.”
He found another job he thought he would do well at.   It was a company called Barret Roofing. 
When he returned to work, he handed in his resignation.
Unfortunately, that job did not turn out to be very satisfying. 
Les called his Uncle Ernie who owned his own business. He met with him and Ernie hired Les at a lower wage than he was receiving, but his future was brighter.  I had a good feeling about this.  He spent a month inside the plant learning every aspect of each department.  It was a Printing and Direct Mail Advertising Company called Key Advertising Service Limited.
Once he seemed to have absorbed exactly what Ernie was selling, Ernie decided he should learn to drive and be the Truck Driver/Salesman.  Les would deliver at the back, with a smock on. Then he would take the smock off and go into the front door and sell Ernie’s services.  Ernie also told Les he would be in management eventually if that was his aim.  He stressed that he needed someone he could trust.
He encouraged him to join the Young Men’s Advertising Club, which he did.
Well, all that took its toll on us.  Les, until he learned to drive, was taking the streetcar to Willowdale, which was a good two-hour ride in the morning and two and half or more coming home.  Les was in bed by 9:00 P.M. and up at 5 A.M.  We hardly spent much time together and I was just so lonely spending my nights alone and waking up with him gone.  I talked myself out of being desperate and faithfully read my book.  I thought long and hard about how to make things better.
When he was taking driving lessons, he could not go to bed early so consequently his hours were upside down.  Finally, after one and a half weeks, he got his license, and Ernie sold us his wife Muriel’s grey 1950 Chevrolet.
The first night we took it out we went to the Beach Theatre.  When we came out, at about 11 o’clock, we had a flat tire.  Les was at sea.  He did not have a clue yet how to deal with this.  He phoned his friend Bill Cook, and he came and changed the tire for Les.   Now, that is Friendship with a capital F.
My mother had proposed that she would like to return, and everyone was ecstatic.  My father and she exchanged letters, and he sent money for her train ticket.  I have no idea what was in their correspondence.  I can only imagine.
It seemed all was forgiven (sort of), and we met her at Union Station, tearfully happy.  She cried and hugged us all, except Puppa, who stayed well apart from us.
When my mother hugged me tightly, she said “Anna, my baby.”  I just melted.
We took a taxi back to my father’s house.  My mother sat between Mary and me holding our hands with her fingers intertwined.  I found this so hard to believe.  She was actually back in our lives.  I could not get over my joy.
The atmosphere at my father’s house was stilted.  Puppa stayed in the kitchen longer than was necessary, putting finger food together while we sat in the living room with our mother.
When he finally came in, I noticed both of them avoiding eye contact.  I wondered what the scenario would be when we left.
Mary and I brought our Wedding Albums earlier, and my mother happily looked through them.
She asked, “Did you both have the same dressmaker?” 
I answered, “Yes, we both used Mr. Simmons.”
“He did a lovely job.  You both look so beautiful.  I was so sad not to be here for the weddings.     Did your Aunt Betty walk down the aisle in my place?”
We looked at each other and Mary spoke, “None of the Delmonicos were at the wedding.”
My mother was obviously not aware of our estrangement and looked quite surprised.
I said, “We had a disagreement but let’s not discuss that now.  We’ll fill you in later.”
“I do want to know.  Can I ask you girls a favour?”
“Of course,” Angie said.
“Let’s just enjoy being together for a little while and please don’t ask me to talk about my leaving here.  Later, when we are settled in, we can talk.  It’s hard to think about.”
Mary, Angie, and I nodded our agreement.  But I thought that was a very odd thing to ask.  We were wanting to know as much as possible
We talked about the weddings and our honeymoons and Mary’s daughter, Karen, who had been next door at Puppa’s neighbour’s and now joined us.  My mother was totally engaged with her granddaughter, who was now walking and was going from one of us to the other.
Les picked Mary, Karen, and me up later and drove us home.
I wasn’t privy to how my father and mother got along since I only saw her two more times for lunch the following week.  But I am sure it wasn’t a walk in the park.  I intended to ask Angie how things went.
Here is the killer.  She stayed about one week and then left again.  Apparently, Lou had returned with her and went on to Hamilton, to find a job and a place they could live.  My mother deserved the Oscar for her Academy Award performance.

My father had a heart attack and ended up in East General for a few weeks.  Then home to recuperate.  Talk about  sad and twisting the knife.  Really!  These were not good cards being dealt.
There was another reason for returning to Toronto, that being to sue my father for the house.
It seemed she had been in touch with her family and they persuaded her to come back and sue for the house.  Our loving relatives!
The lawyer that represented Puppa was not too swift, in my estimation he did not really understand who was at fault here.  His assistant was no better and consequently he lost the case.
Fortunately, my mother had second thoughts and they came to a settlement.  When the house was sold, they split the proceeds. 
My father bought another house.

To be continued...


The book continues with It Is What It Is!. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
In life there are good times and bad times and sometimes, just bad times for long periods and then the trust you had escapes the heart that held it.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by Susan F. M. T. at FanArtReview.com

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