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Dancing Man

Page 6

Karen Lethlean

‘How did you get to work, Mum?’

‘Riding buses, Sally. Might be home well after dark. Sometimes I needed to work late. Insurance very busy.’

‘Didn’t you feel afraid, walking home, on dark streets, right uphill from your bus stop?’

‘Not many men about, most away fighting a war.’

I picture her, mornings, stepping down off double-decker buses, over wet curbs of Elizabeth Street. Freshly ironed dress, swish of nylon stockings. Anything seemed possible. Building towers dominating, women with handbags and gloves. Her daylight hours spent embedded in clunking sounds of carriage returns, twisting papers into typewriter’s carriage, making sure to use correct paper and carbon paper.

‘Family connection helped get my job. Met Dorothy, don’t ever call her Dot, she hates it. You kids always called her Aunty. Suppose this doesn’t happen much anymore. Too confusing for young ones to refer to random adults as Aunty or Uncle.’ 

‘Lots of men wearing uniforms in the city.’

‘Why is that dear?’                                        

‘Troops on rec-leave from war fronts.’

‘What war? There was a war? How come I wasn’t told? After my uncle was killed in France in Great War trenches, they said no more wars!’

Page 6

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