Tuesday 26 May 2015

Take your daughter to work

Well, would you believe it?  It's day 26 of blogging Every day in May, and I'm still hanging in there!  For today's prompt Cate has asked us to share a memory from childhood and I've really delved back into the past.  Back to when I was about 7 or 8, in the mid 1960s.
My dad owned his own business and as a treat, in the holidays I would sometimes go into work with him.  The company was called South Eastern Stationery and he made and sold many diverse things to companies, mostly office related.  These were the days before computers and printers and photocopiers being common place in an office.  If you wanted headed notepaper, you had to order it from a printers.  None of this designing and printing in house!  There was a whole room of machinery which was mostly printing presses.  I had to keep well out of there!
I would be given my own little 'office' in a spare room and had a desk and chair, telephone and of course I could just go into the store room and pick up all manner of papers and pens.  It was an Aladdin's cave of stationery treasures and how my imagination ran wild in my own little office.
He didn't just sell office supplies though, he had really obscure contracts too.  He did a lot of work for Ferguson who made televisions and record players etc.  One of the contracts was for speaker cabinets and in order to muffle any tinny noise, the speakers had to be filled with a kind of chopped up foam pieces.  So to keep me busy one time, I was given the job of stuffing stockinette bags with foam pieces, then tying the tops to hold it all in so it was ready to go in a speaker cabinet. 
I had a whale of a time although in all truthfulness I probably didn't make too many bags because I discovered that if you ran across the room and jumped into the pile of foam, it was a great feeling.  You sank down into it and then bounced back up, climbed out, ran across the room and did the same thing.  Over and over again. Until it was time to come home.  Dad came in the room, took one look at me and I could tell from his face that something was wrong.
You see, this was the 60s and the fashionable fabric for clothes was something like crimplene.  A really synthetic fabric that attracts other synthetic materials like a magnet.  Especially nylon foam.  I was quite literally covered in foam from head to foot.  My dress had a layer of foam sticking to it and once two synthetic fabrics have stuck together it is very hard to separate them.  Even my legs were covered, due to the fact that I was wearing some lovely thick nylon tights.  Lovely new tights that matched the colour of my lovely new dress.  Dad had taken me to work looking like an advert for a children's fashion shop and brought me home looking like a reject from a toy stuffing company. 
We tried ever so hard to get the foam unstuck from my clothes but it was no good, it refused to budge.  When we got home my Mum was not amused!  Something about brand new dresses and tights being ruined.  And strangely enough, future visits to Dad's work place were confined to the little office.


Cheri said...

Don't you wish you had a photo of that ruined outfit? Nowadays you could probably salvage it with the help of a few dryer sheets.

Sian said...

I loved reading this! I bet the smell of your Dad's place was a bit like the smell of my Dad's teacher storeroom..

And well done..you are nearly at the end of the month

alexa said...

What a wonderful story and beautifully told ... I giggled at the last sentence in your penultimate paragraph; so pictureque!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Ha - this is awesome, Deb. I love when you share stories from your childhood. :o)