The Sewing Room #short story

Another one from my creative writing course. Based on my mum’s life. I was the baby in the pram 🙂

The Sewing Room

Betty was really nervous. This was the first day of her first real job. Things hadn’t gone very well at school; she’d managed to leave with little more than a pregnancy after a drunken fumble with her boyfriend. She didn’t have much in the way of qualifications but she did know how to sew. She’d spent her pregnancy and the first few months afterwards making clothes for the family – shirts for Bob & for herself plus lots of beautiful little dresses for her baby girl.

She’d managed to use this skill to get the job at Jackson’s who made uniforms for air hostesses. Now there’s an exciting job, she thought, but not one she would ever be able to do now. No, she would have to make the best of it and instead make clothes for the women she could only now dream of being like.

She walked into the building with a shudder. She couldn’t help it. As glad as she was to have the opportunity she wished that it was housed in a nicer building. The dark grey walls seem to loom at her menacingly, like some street thug wanting to do her harm. She was sure she was just being silly but it was hard to imagine the rooms inside being cheerful and inviting when you looked at the outside.

Taking a deep breath, Betty went inside to start her new working life. She’d not been able to meet her colleagues during her interview and was curious as to what she would find. She really hoped that there would be some other young women there. It was bad enough that the neighbours stared at her walking past, pushing the pram barely out of nappies herself. She wasn’t sure she could bear it if she had to suffer that at work as well.

The glamour of the fifties and the cool of the swinging sixties seemed to have passed this little northern town by. It’s the 70’s now, she though, people ought to accept that young people want to live their own lives rather than continue on seamlessly from their parents.

“Ok I can do this” she says to herself, mentally preparing herself for stern looks as her elders as she walked through the door ion her platforms and flares. The first thing she saw was Fred Jackson himself, her new manager and the guy who had interviewed her. Just like that time he was poured into his shirt and trousers, the buttons almost popping as his shirt strained against his huge belly. Beside him were the machines, great big beastly sewing machines all in neat cramped rows like giant teeth just waiting to clamp down and sour faced, weary looking older women grinding away at their piece work. Yep she was right in her thinking; the inside of the building was just as glum and imposing as the outside. Then the door slammed open and three younger girls walked in.

“Hi, It’s Betty right?” they ask. “We heard we were getting a new girl. It’s so great to get another young’un like us, did you bring lunch, come and sit with us, aren’t these machines awful. Don’t worry you’ll soon have them purring away like a kitten”….

And away they went to their machines all youthful smiles and chatter. Betty smiled. Maybe things would work out just fine.


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