In a time BQ (before quilts) I made porcelain dolls, as a hobby. I love every aspect of making the dolls, & I also love to make the clothes for my dolls.
It is an expensive hobby, & I made clothes for others, who didnt sew. I also constructed the dolls bodies for students who didnt wish to do it for themselves. This way, I could still afford to keep making the dolls.
We had a little local shop in the suburb where we lived, that sold fabric, laces, ribbons, buttons, & some clothing. All at bargain prices. It was a sort of offloading shop for a clothing manufacturer in the city.
As I was often in the shop, I got to know the girls who ran the shop, quite well. We became friends, & would share a laugh or two.
Rose was the Manageress. She had the most beautiful golden hair, & a lovely smile. Her mother had come to Australia from Poland, I think, & she said her father & mother had fought loudly & fiercely until her father left. Then her mother began to have a series of boyfriends who behaved badly, & she & her sister spent many fearful hours hiding in the wardrobe in their room.
By the time I met Rose, she was married & was expecting her first child. She had a beautiful little daughter, who had her mother's gorgeous hair, & dimpled smile. And within 3 years Rose was having another baby, & another little girl was born. Rose often had the second baby at the shop, and she was a dear little girl too.
Lorna was the other permanant assistant at the shop, a quieter girl. She had Scottish parents, & told the story or how, when her parents had been about to emigrate to Australia, her mother had consulted a fortune teller. The woman had told her that she would be moving to another country, & that she would give birth to another child in the new country. Lorna said her mother had scoffed. There was no way she would be moving country, & certainly NO way she would be having another baby.
But her parents did move to Australia, & her mother gave birth to Lorna.
There was another girl, called Margaret, who did part time assistant work at the shop, & she was a single mother, who was fiercely proud of her 8 year old son. She began another relationship with another man, & we heard the ups & downs of the relationship. Then, Margaret got pregnant again, & she was advised not to have the baby, as she had a problem with her heart. But Margaret swore she knew the baby would be a girl, & she was determined to have the child.
The father of the baby left, & Margaret was once again alone with her son. She did give birth to her little daughter, & was so happy. She arranged for her daughter to be cared for & returned to work, part time, as before.
One morning Rose opened the shop & waited for Margaret to arrive. Lorna was having the day off.
Rose rang Margaret, & her son answered. He told Rose he couldnt wake his mother. Margaret had died in her sleep. Which was just so horrible to think about. The children were in danger of being split up, after Margaret died. I think her sister wanted the daughter, but didnt want the son. I dont know what eventually happened to her children.
But that terrible death, was how I came to be the new casual part time assistant at the shop. I had not been into the shop for a time.
We had moved, & been through all sorts of harrowing times with a court case, for unfair dismissal, which we won.
What a hollow victory that was. It cost us almost as much as we ended up with financially. After the appeal, -by the ex employer- we were awarded more than the first Judge had awarded us, we were advised to take our case to open court where, the 2nd Judge assured us, we would be sure to receive much more money, than could be granted in the Industrial Court.
The toll it took on both of us was very high. Both emotionally & physically. It came at such a bad time, & was quite crippling in a lot of ways.
However, at last GOM found another job, & I began my new career as a Bank Teller. Which I loathed! I cried every weekend because I would have to go back to the bank on Monday.
So, after a stern self lecture, I told myself not to be stupid, I was 50 years old, & could bloody well do as I pleased, & no job was worth that kind of misery. And I quit!
And went to visit the little shop to purchase some small items for sewing. And was pounced on by Rose & Lorna.
"Where have you been ?!" "We have been waiting for you to come in!!"
A little shocked, I asked why? Then they proceeded to tell me about Margaret, & how they had both decided that they would like me to work with them, if I was willing. My lucky day! I just asked how soon could I start! And I loved it, & as we worked, I learned the stories of their lives bit by bit.
Rose told me how she had had a very bad love affair, & she had decided to kill herself. As she lay taking pills, her cat came & planted itself on her chest, & meowed at her so plaintively, she changed her mind, & began to think of the cat, & how no one would care for it if she wasnt there. And she chose to live instead. And then met her husband to be, & they married.
I really did enjoy working with those girls. They were such different personalities. They had such different backgrounds, & different lives. But we all got along so well.
Bread, Everything I Own.