After National Service.
Later in 1954 after returning to work after doing my time in the “Nashoes” I was transferred out of the accounts department and dropped into the claims department. I mean that, I was literally dropped in with absolutely no experience, I’d had I suppose 3 or 4 months in the underwriting departments back in ’51 but that was it, now I was one out handling every type of claim barring motor, workers compensation and marine. I’d also be torn away from my friends in the accounts who were now tucked away and hidden from me five stories/floors above. I was left with my chum Doyley.
Although I was still surrounded by mostly Catholics I didn’t get to mix and socialize with them, too, I never went round to St. Francis’s Church in lunchtime again. I also never went to that church again. Closed chapter! That was the last year I went to an ‘Insurance Institute Ball’; and you’ll soon find out why 🙂 or perhaps that should be 😦
For the rest of 54 and into ’55 I was galloping along having a merry (I was going to say gay) old time, though I did have a boss or two, (Mr. Bob Mitchell and his assistant John Buzolich (pronounce bew-zar-lee) a good bloke who when we first met I called Mr Buzz-oh-lick, he thought that was hysterical but I learned to call him Buzz same as everybody else) I had my own typist and was left on my own. I learned very quickly.
Of course my typist was a delightful young Catholic girl, Carmel Burke, you can’t get much more Irish than that, and she was very sweet and I do believe that everyone, Carmel and me included, thought that the ending was going to be inevitable. She really was a lovely sweet young girl a couple of years younger than me, I was probably 19 going on 20, going on 12, when it came to the gentle sex. This was pretty well covered by my post ‘Whatever happened to Carmel Burke’.
In mid 1955 my life changed forever, I was chatting with Carmel at her desk when a vision of breathtaking beauty passed my view, and I was besotted and enchanted and didn’t know what to do, I did know that I had to be hers and she had to be mine and I did not have any idea how I was to go about it!
I don’t know if it was Carmel or one of the other typist in the pool who told me that the vision had the name Joan Hunter, but it took me I don’t know how long to pluck up the courage to ask her to come out with me, naturally being scared witless and looking for a safe way where I felt sure I wouldn’t fail, I asked her to come to the Ball with me a few weeks hence. I was petrified when I stopped her and spoke to her the very first time. And when she answered me it was in a voice of great beauty, literally and I’ll explain why later.
She told me that she’d would have to get her Great Aunts permission and would let me know in a day or so, blushing and shaking I don’t recall what I replied, I think I was expecting either a straight yes or more likely no. I’d never asked a girl out before, it never ever crossed my mind to ask Carmel out, I must have struck people as a bit odd back then, and I probably was.
A couple of nights later I was working back and my phone rang. Now my phone never rang after hours and I didn’t know it could. I don’t know how she got the number she didn’t work for the same company, she worked for a small Insurance company that had rooms in the “Royal Building”, looking back on that day I can only suppose that she had taken a fancy to me; why else would she find out the direct phone to my desk and ring me late in the evening. Never realized it at the time, I was just so excited.
At first I was stunned, she told me that her aunt had thought it best if she not go to a ball at her age, (at the time she was but 16 years old; I was unaware of her age,) but would okay her going to the pictures (movies) providing she came straight home when it finished, and she had booked two tickets at the Metro on Collns Street for Saturday night when there was going to be a sneak preview of a movie and we wouldn’t know what it was until it started and she asked me if that was alright with me.
Was it? I can never forget the thrill and the excitement after I said I’d go pick up the tickets as soon as I knocked off work and we made arrangemets to meet on the Saturday as she thought perhaps we should become more acquainted before she took me to meet this aunt.
Of course she was Catholic. 🙄 🙂