Here is the first chapter of my second story. I hope you like it. A great deal of this story is true, more than you could even imagine. I really hope you enjoy reading it and can help me with the title. I have not submitted this story to any magazines or competitions yet, so I am also open creative criticism.
I hope you like the photo, the internet is a wonderful thing, and this photo fits my story perfectly. I lined up at this icecream van, or one just like it, dozens of times. I never shared it with a donkey though!
Chapter Two will be posted here in a few days. Thanks for playing and I hope you enjoy the game.
From you friend and budding author – Sandra!
Copyright © 2010 Sandra Thompson
July 1964 seems like such a long time ago now. I was on my summer holidays in Blackpool and the weather was gorgeous. There were a few puffy clouds in the sky, and a slight breeze, but it was as good as it gets in that part of the world. Blackpool is not renowned for sunshine. It is on the northwest coast of England, a favorite resort for those people who lived in Liverpool and Manchester. The dreaded Irish found their way to Blackpool too, making the local lingo almost impossible to understand. The place was and still is loud and brash, some of the streets are wide and noisy, packed with tourists, bingo halls and amusement arcades full of slot machines and cigarette smoke. The older streets were narrow and the wind whistled up them, howling like a banshee, but people love it. Blackpool has a huge tower, with a zoo at the bottom. There is quite a story about Tower Zoo and about ‘Young Albert’ who got a little too close to the lions and got eaten. I was never sure if it was true or not, but never got too close, when I visited, just in case. I don’t remember a great deal about my summer holiday, other than one very scary day which overshadowed everything else. We stayed in a nice little B&B. When I say ‘we’, I mean my mum and me. There was only my mum and me; well I thought there was until Tim turned up. Tim was a friend of my mum’s. He was never around for long. He would show up from time to time and then we didn’t see him for months. He was nice enough, a pleasant face, which if I had been older than seven, I might have found handsome, but he was in his forties and at seven I didn’t really know what handsome was. Well maybe I did. Cheyenne Brody was handsome! Anyway, my mum and I were staying in Blackpool, and somehow Tim was there. Tim and Maurice! I would never forget Maurice! He was funny. I remember he was always well put together. Good looking clothes, at least they looked good to me. Nice shoes, good overcoat, and he always wore a good looking hat too, with a little feather in the side. He walked with a swagger helped along by a snazzy looking cane and he had several gold teeth. They made him stand out in a crowd. He had graying hair, so I think he was a lot older than Tim, but I liked Maurice a lot. He was funny, and natural. I didn’t have a dad anymore, but if I could choose one, I would choose Maurice. He was funny and he made me feel safe!
Another thing I remember about Blackpool that summer was the ‘Tower Ballroom’. I ended up there, can’t remember if it was an afternoon ‘tea dance’, or a real evening dance, but I remember my mum was all dressed up and looking very pretty, and dancing with Tim. I was dancing with Maurice; my feet on his big suede lace up shoes. It was fun! Maurice took me for fish and chips and then took me back to the B&B where he ‘babysat’ while my mum stayed out dancing with Tim. He was sitting there, by the bed, hat pushed back on his head, with his feet on the table when I went to sleep. He made me feel all warm inside. Then when I woke up the next morning, he was gone, and my mum was there in the other bed, fast asleep with a head of pink spongy curlers and a smile on her face. Even at seven years old, I knew the smile was put there by Tim. Maybe Tim was going to be my new dad. That would be nice, not because of Tim, he didn’t have much time for me, but because it meant I would see more of Maurice, and he was fun, he pulled funny faces and really seemed to like me.
Anyway enough of that, you have the background, now for the real event! We were sitting on beach towels, my mum and me, I had a green swimming costume on, it was stretchy and had little squares all over it, I remember every detail about it, in fact I still have an old black and white photo of me wearing it! It tied around the back of my neck. My mum was wearing a pretty pink dress, with black trim, a little dressy for the beach, but I realized why when Tim and Maurice turned up, bringing their deck chairs with them. I don’t remember much about Tim at all that day, but Maurice was acting all funny and making me laugh! He took me down to the edge of the sea, where the sand was wet, and paid for me to have a donkey ride on a donkey called Silver. He walked next to the donkey as I rode, and I suspect the plan was to give Tim and my mum some time alone together. I didn’t mind the donkey ride was fun, the bells jingling around the old donkey’s neck as we plodded along. The sea breeze felt good against my skin. The ride couldn’t last forever though and we were soon back. It was a very hot day, I was covered in hot scratchy sand, but it felt good, that’s how summer holidays were supposed to be. We all heard the crackly tune which announced the approaching ice cream van; it was ‘O Sole Mio’ of course because ice cream was Italian. Well good ice cream was Italian! Yes the ice cream van used to drive along the beach in Blackpool. I was thinking how much I wanted an ice cream so I looked at my mum and she laughed and went to get her purse. I was excited at the thought of getting my ice cream and clutched the money in my sandy hand as ran along to the beach to get my 99, repeating in my head, ‘lime split for my mum and a 99 for me’. There was a little queue at the van when I got there, but not too bad. I joined the queue and waited patiently. The beach was packed full of holidaymakers, families, couples, older kids on their own, everyone loved the beach. They were building sand castles, kicking balls, having picnics. It was a bright colorful and happy scene, something to look back and remember during long winter afternoons at school when arithmetic didn’t keep my attention. I heard a plane droning above, a lazy summery sound that fitted in with lazy summery day. It was almost my turn to be served and the two kids ahead of me skipped away with their ice cream cones, no chocolate in theirs, I was getting a 99, it had chocolate in it too, which would be hard and icy cold from being stuck in the ice cream. I could hardly wait. The old Italian face (ice cream vans of course were always owned by Italians, if they were good ice cream vans) peered over the counter in the side of the van “wadda ya want little girl”…….something happened…… “A lime split and a 99 please”.
Suddenly I felt like I had shrunk to the size of a pea! I didn’t feel real at all!