Tuesday, August 7

Flatting Life.

In the early days of living in the Southern City, I shared hovels various dwellings, which were rented out as being fit for human habitation.

Some of these, I have blogged about previously, & I shared a few with Best Friend J. And because we were young & poor, we put up with things we would probably not be happy about, today. And usually the cooking facilities were less than ideal, & some were almost nonexistant.

We were friends with some Australian girls, who shared a flat in a very large old house, which contained around 8 flats. The Aussie girls would say to us, "Bring a pie, & come round for tea." Meaning we needed to take our own meal, not provide theirs too.

As things worked out, I ended up later living in a flat in that same house, sharing with a girl, Adele, who was mysterious indeed. She had been in a small flat by herself, & spent her days at home, alone. She told everyone her husband was an American, who was down on the Ice.

America has a Base in the Southern City, where the men, & I suppose there may be women, are stationed on their way to & from, the Antarctic quarters at the South Pole. At certain times of the year the city will be flooded with young randy Americans, who have just wintered over at the South Pole, or are about to depart to winter on the Ice.

These American Personel were loved or loathed, by the locals, depending who they were. Young girls were very attracted to the Amercians. They were courteous, polite, lavish with their money, & intent on having a good time. Of course mothers & fathers of young girls were not so keen on the Americans, & warned their daughters to 'Beware'.

Having already met GOM, & having a loose 'understanding' with him, I was not interested in said Americans, & really didnt 'know' any. Adele claimed she was married to one, called Jack, & she was pregnant with their first child. Jack was away on the Ice, so Adele was living alone. A larger flat became available upstairs, in the house, so Adele asked if I would like to share it with her. It seemed a good solution, as it was a two bedroom flat, with nice little kitchen, & large lounge- luxury compared to some of the other small flats in the house, which were basically just one room, with a cooktop in a corner, & small sink.

As we got to know each other better, Adele told me her story. She was not really married to Jack, he was unaware she was having his baby, & he already had a wife & sons in America. Not my business, really, but I did wonder how Adele managed to live, I dont know what she used for money. And I felt sorry for Jack, being unaware of what he would find on his return. Though it was supposedly a "my wife doesnt understandme, & we are about to part" marriage according to Adele.

I worked full time, & would find a nice hot cooked meal waiting for me when I got home from work, & Adele seemed happy with things. She was a good cook, & could make a nice meal for very little cost, so we shared expenses, & rent, & it seemed to work very well.

GOM would come calling from time to time, & Adele got along well with him. As time came close for her to have her baby, she was insisting she would drive herself to the hospital. There were some Army men living next door to the flats, & they insisted they would be ready to take her any time, day or night. All she had to do was ask. She had begged me not to tell anyone her secret, that she was not married, so I didnt.

The baby was duly born, (& no, I cant remember who took her to hospital!) a lovely little girl, & Adele came home quite quickly after giving birth. She called the baby Jaqueline. And she was a good little baby, & I dont remember being denied sleep to any great extent. I remember Adele got Thrombosis, & I found her crawling about her floor trying to bath the baby, so called her Doctor, who came to visit her. She recovered from that, & occasionally I would babysit for her to have a night out with friends.

I had not told GOM the true story of Adele & Jack, so when Jack eventually arrived back, Adele asked me if she could put the baby in my room, so I said OK. She said she wanted to break the news to him alone. GOM came around & was not happy. He thought Adele was in bed with her husband's best friend. It all sounded so seedy & strange. I finally told him the truth, which seemed much more acceptable than the lies Adele had told.

She stupidly told Jack, that Jaqueline was my baby. Poor chap. I think it dawned on him next day, who the baby was, because she really did look like him.

I have no idea what happened eventually. Adele wanted to move to another suburb, & I wanted to stay, so she went & I found another flat. I came home to find my scissors had gone, plus various other things of mine. Our neighbour had lent Adele some suitcases, & she was talking police, to get them returned. I heard Jack had returned to USA with a promise of return. Which didnt apparently happen.

Each set of tennants in that huge old house of flats had unique & interesting stories to tell about their lives. I can still remember some of them vividly.

And though this story is not at all funny, some of the other tennants were hysterically funny.

The young English girl, who had left her husband on her wedding night. She had a beautiful satin nightgown, & negligee, which she showed us, torn to shreds on the wedding night, by the suddenly turned-rapist husband. She had fled in the tatters, & never returned.

She was too ashamed to go back to England, so she stayed in New Zealand. GOM introduced her to one of his friends, & they seemed to hit it off very well. Extremely loud noisy sex would take place in her small flat, & the walls seemed very thin, between our kitchen & her bed. At first we thought she was being strangled or something. And had all looked at each other in horror. Then it dawned on us those were not cries for help!

GOM apparently had a quiet word to his mate, but there never seemed to be any decrease in the volume of noise. We would then turn up the radio.

Neil Diamond, Song Sung Blue


fifi said...

Poor Adele. I wonder wha happened to baby jaqueline? She is probably wandering around the US looking to find her Dad.

Haha, perhaps the nightie-ripper was more interested in the satin clothes than in the contents!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

My goodness, Meggie. You have lived the most interesting life of anyone I know!!

Leigh said...

Another interesting story. Thanks Meggie.

Catalyst said...

It's a book, Meggie, it's a book!!!

Bren said...

You have not had a boring life! I know all about those American cads!!! teehee!

Tanya Brown said...

Oh, dear. Poor, sad Adele! What a desperate mess people can get into sometimes, and then somehow manage to make it all even worse.

Good for the young English girl for fleeing her not-so-nice husband. That took guts. And, er, it sounds like she recovered from the experience.

Elaine Adair said...

Another interesting story - you are a great story teller! I have read all of them to the end - a rare occurrence in this surfing technology.

nutmeg said...

Hmmmm - flatmates, had quite a few of those myself. There usually is a good story in each, especially when you tend to share when everyone is young and "adventurous". But, the loud sex thing (other tennants of course!) would have to be one of the top ten reasons I eventually wanted to live in my own house!

Aunty Evil said...

I'm with Nutmeg. Hearing your neighbours hard at it is a truly repulsive sound. UGH.

Alice said...

After reading all of the story about the English girl, I began to wonder just who may have been the rapist on her wedding night?....tut,tut.

Sounds like very loud music of any sort would have been a welcome sound in that house.

Once again, you have kept us interested right to the end about the various people you have encountered along your walk of life.

Thanks, Meggie.

joyce said...

Sad but not uncommon story about Adele. It's strange how people come into our lives and then disappear, never to be heard from again. I guess taking your scissors insured that you'd never hear from her again. She must have felt guilty.

bec said...

great story, but I'm still having a chuckle about your category of 'fatting life' - when clearly, with the absence of cooking facilities, it was not!

Sheila said...

You really should write a book Meggie. Your stories are great. They remind me of Maeve Binchys books..!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Again, more fascinating characters and their stories. I am enthralled.

Thimbleanna said...

My gosh Meggie, you certainly have great stories. Have you considered that possibly you're an interesting people magnet?

ancient one said...

Your life and the people you met on the way..... it is all so interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Molly said...

So Meggie, when will we see your book in the stores?? You should at least get vol. one to the printers....time's a wastin'!

bluemountainsmary said...

See I knew there was a book in you (at the very least of short stories) but I reckon there is a novel there as well.

Stomper Girl said...

Poor Adele and little Jacqueline. Sad to hear about Adele's avoidance of the truth, her life may have been more straightforward if she could face up to facts.

Lucy said...

I got thoroughly absorbed in Adele's story while the tea goes cold!
Isn't youth full of sex?!

meggie said...

And why not? I say, Lucy. But dont share it with the neighbours! haha.

And Bec, I hadnt realised I had put 'fatting' life! Actually it was a bit- takeaways are not slimming!

Sheila, I have never read a Maeve Binchy book, so might give one a try.

You lovely people keep mentioning book. hmmmm. I find I do enjoy my recollections, & it is fun to write them down as I recall them.

My float said...

I love these stories. They are so readable and you have such a lovely way of storytelling.

Poor Adele. (And poor Jacqueline.)

I don't think I ever endured those kinds of sounds when I flatted. Damn, what fun I missed out on!!