Feeling quite the lady
When I was fifteen I met a young man called Michael who invited me to lunch at the Plummer Roddis department store in Western Road. He was just a few years older than me and I felt rather posh being taken to lunch in a department store. Plummer’s was a store with several levels including a fashion department. I was a little smitten. He was a very nice young man and good looking too. Having been taught the etiquettes of table manners, correct knife, spoon and fork layouts, as I grew up, I felt quite the lady and fairly safe about dining in this rather nice store.
Penning a thank you note
However I must have been more smitten than I was aware and soon found myself faltering over the menu. We made our choices and food arrived including my side salad. Thrown even more as to whether to eat the salad from its own plate or pile it onto the main plate brought on quite a fluster. I am sure none of this was noticeable but it took a lot of my attention away from this charming young man. I knew Michael was going away up to York, to theatre school I believe. So next day I decided to send a thank you letter as a good gesture and a farewell note. I sat on my bed and scribbled my words, crossing out and redesigning as I went along.
Disaster had struck
Eventually, having finally decided how the letter should look I took fresh paper and wrote everything out calmly. Having a post box just a few doors up from our house I put a stamp on the envelope and went out to post. I felt this was a nice round off. And, who knows, maybe he will even answer me, I secretly thought. Well my heart sank as I entered my room again. There on the bed lay the intended nicely written letter and gone away in the post was the well scribbled over practice run. Now embarrassment really set in. I was quite insecure about life as it was but this really took the biscuit.
Recalling my lunch date
But back then, 1961, I was still finding my feet and openness was not my best talent. So I never did re-write but I often wondered how this young man was getting along and what he must have thought about such illegible scribble. In later years I saw him in one of our local Brighton papers as having taken part in a theatre piece somewhere so I was happy to see his progress. But I still get that tinge of excitement and frailty mixed up as I recall my lunch date on the upper floor in the store of Plummer Roddis.