It was a nice room, as I remember. Quite feminine, though not womanly. Mum always said a bedroom should be feminine. It’s restful, you see. What do you think of when you think feminine? Most folk might say their Mother, though I wouldn’t. Boots and a donkey Jacket isn’t exactly a girly thing. But most folk, would. Anyway, think of your old Mum, the next thing you think of is being rocked to sleep. Well, I wouldn’t. She was out so often with that many Uncles, not Uncles to her of course, I lost count. I was always left alone or with a neighbour. But most folk would think of being rocked to sleep by their Mother. Sleep and femininity go hand in hand. What else is there to do in a bedroom?
I don’t like harsh looking bedrooms – and I’ve not seen the inside of that many, but a few men I’ve known have wanted me to take a peek, just for my advice on décor I think. Goodness! Sometimes have they needed it! I knew a man once, Mr De La Coeur, had no taste whatsoever! There were that many colours in his room, I thought I’d stepped into a rainbow! Talking of rainbows, I think a Judy Garland picture in every room was a little over the top. I told him to replace the majority of them with Royal portraits, though avoiding Princess Margaret.
No, that room, almost a cell, as I remember was very pleasant. Dusky pink walls, paisley print curtains and a gorgeous brass bed. Never quite understood why there were ropes tied at each corner, the thing was quite sturdy. I should know. I had to bounce on it often enough, make as much noise as possible. “Faster! Harder!” he would cry. Child at heart I suppose.
I sat there, with all those hours to kill, thinking of being locked in my own room at home, and I use the term home very loosely.
That man Gerald was around again. Mum called him the rent man in front of everyone, but when they were alone, he was Gerald. This time he brought Bert. Bert was a bony little man with a colossal nose. Mum said she liked men with big noses. You could tell a lot about them. I suppose she meant they’d be good in a gas leak situation. They’d be the first to know. Anyway, Bert was the last through the door.
“And what do you do, so young?” he asked.
“Do?” I enquired.
Still soliciting an answer, Mother intervened. “She doesn’t do that!”
I asked her later what that was. Massage, like she did?
“I don’t do massage!” she came back. I’ll tell you when you’re old enough to understand.”
She never did tell me.
Mum must have been massaging Gerald. I was always sent up to my room every time he came around. From up stairs I could hear moaning, the occasional, “aah!” or “harder!” and sometimes a scream!
Mum must have made a lot of money out of massage.
“They live like Royalty!” Uncle Henry, Mum’s elder brother, would say. “It must be all her massage work.”
Of course Mum always replied with the “don’t do massage,” phrase. Everyone else always thought different.
It’s true, not many women that spent three mornings a week behind the counter in a toy shop could afford holidays on a Greek island and drive a Bentley. Well, she said toy shop, but when I asked her to get me a tea set for my friend's daughter, she said they didn't sell those kind of toys. Then, last week, I asked her to get me a doll. She brought home this huge blow-up woman. It was completely the wrong thing. What would little Betty want with an inflatable person, 5'6" tall?