Trevor Wedlake's Writings
First published in the Village Journal May, 1977
|The alarm clock rang no summons for Harry that day. It was the first day of his retirement, and from now on the world would get on very well without him.
The thought as he awoke, filled him with panic. He did not think of long, free days ahead, but pondered with regret and remorse the great mass of his days piled up in decades one upon another, irrevocably behind him. What had he achieved ?
He thought of his wife now fat and sixty and downstairs making tea, and how slim and pretty she' d been when they first met. He looked back and saw himself, ambitious and earnest on his last day at school and felt a keen compassion for the willowy youth innocent of the great obstacles of the world.
Also in this cavalcade as it passed nebulously before him were his parents in the old home now demolished and his aged black-skirted grandmother. He never thought of his grandmother without seeing wild violets and tasting strawberry jam. Violets because at twelve years old he had picked violets to place on her coffin, and strawberry jam because he had never tasted any like she had spread on thickly buttered slices of farm-house bread.
Then he saw himself the soldier. The war in the Middle East, the heat, the cold, the casualties. And Italy, Anzio and Naples. Yes, Naples. He saw now a lovely black-haired girl in a village just outside Naples. She was “A Brahmin”, she was indeed. This picture drew a smile across his lips. He guessed she was fat and fifty now.
He wouldn't have missed the war. For all its tragedy it was a time of great meaning and purpose.
Except for a few years of gradually diminishing powers, his life was now nearly over; not so distant the time when everything would be as though he had never been. It was the end of the road.
Then the door opened and his wife brought in the tea. “It’s a super morning", she said, “and the dog's waiting for a walk”. As she went out she called back “The postman's brought the brochures you sent for about the new green-house".
He was looking forward to erecting the new greenhouse. Oh, and he’d better see about a load of dung. If he could get the garden well organised early, there’d be plenty of time for cricket. For the first time in his life there would be time to watch all three days of a county match. Not only that, it was the Australians this year and he would get to Lord's for at least one day of the Test if it killed him.
He’d ring up old Sam, they might travel up together. What a fearful proposition on a green wicket old Sam had been in his day - fast left-arm round the wicket ; very awkward.
Perhaps, after all, leaving one's job didn't mark the end of the road at all he thought; more, it was the beginning of a new term. The curriculum looked good.