The Silver Teapot
This old silver teapot has made quite a few cuppas in its time. It was a gift, a wedding gift to be exact. All the girls had chipped in, of course, it
was all new back then too. I used to look in this here teapot to fix me hair. I hadn’t done that for a while. I stopped pretty’n me self up years
back. I didn’t always look like I do now of course. I’m a bit tarnished and dinted just like this old tea pot. Humph! And I done worked a darn
lot harder too I’d recon. Where the old pots got tarnished, I got wrinkles and where the old pots got dinted, I got sun spots. Who do I look like?
I dun know really; I dun know who I take after.
Mum passed when we were just tykes you see, wasn’t long after and me and me brother Billy found ourselfs dumped off at the orphanage. Dad took off
pretty quick, just left us standin there, two rag bag look’n kids and one small broken brown suitcase. Not a leather one mind you, just a plain
cardboard one. The old ones with the strap n buckle. I’ll never forget that suitcase! I stood there lookin' down at it the whole time I was
stand’n in that empty hallway not know’n what was gonna happen to us. Billy had held of me hand so tight it turned as white and bumpy as a
Cauliflower, anyway never seen me dad after that.
Billy tracked him down once, when he was older of course; married to Peg and had their own kiddies by then. Well, anyway Billy walked through that
there wooden squeaky fly wire door with his two tan and white foxies at his heels. Snappy little things they were, never cared for them much. As long
as they weren’t under me feet, I wasn’t too bothered by em. He sat his backside down on that there stool and said nuth’n. I knew wat he was
think’n, so I made us both a cuppa, poured it right outta this sliver pot just as I’m do’n now. I went and got some drop scones from the larder
and we sat there, no one say’n nuth’n. He got up off that there stool and turned and that’s when he said he’d found dad, I just kinda stood
there with a stupid look on me face. Humph, I didn’t wanna see me dad, never could care about a man who just packs his kids up and pitch’n em out
the way he did, never could love a man like that.
Anyway he says dad had hitched up with some sheila and had a few more kids with her. I never wasted one more thought on my dad, not in all my seventy
five years since.
I was sew’n hems at a haberdashery when I first laid me eyes on Roy. He come in ask’n if we sold shoe laces. He was a tall solid look’n chap,
shoulders as wide as a bulls. His hair was trimmed close and he had the greyest pale blue eyes,;was if a storm was swirl’n in em. Even now I have
to catch me breath remember’n him. Takes my breath away it does. His smile was somth’n else, his top lip lifted and as it did it showed perfect
pearly white teeth and I know I didn’t and still don’t look like someone’s who’d be know’n what pearls look like, but I did you see. As I
said was sewn and pinn’n the hems of all those high stepper’s in the city. I’d see the pearls on em. They’d come in swinging in their fancy
skirts and showen off their pretty broaches and hair pins. And I swear his teeth were just as shinny. I’ll tell ya if I still see a pearl today I
think of his smile. He was such a sight I tell you, you know those good look’n blokes in those new snazzy under wear ads from the telly magazines.
Well, I reckon he would beat all those blokes hands down on handsomeness.
Well as you know, I wasn’t one of those ditzzy giggly girls, but that day, that first time I seen him, and he spoke to me about want’n shoe laces,
well I went as dizzy and giggly as those girls that spend all their summer sitt’n an waste’n time at the pier. I wasn’t one to be wast’n time
and I wasn’t one to be just sitt’n either.
Well any way, I felt me self go all dizzy just look’n up at him. I don’t know if I turned white like that time Billy squeezed me hand so tight or
I was pink as the geranium in that there hang’n basket. I’ll tell you what though. You know how they say that cupid shoots arrows? I think they
got it wrong, cause that day I’m sure he whacked me good n hard with a ruddy great big bat with stupid and giggly all over it. Well, I eventually
got him his laces, he put a penny in my hand, said thank you and walked out.
I looked at that penny for so long, I couldn’t dare part with it. So I went out back to my purse, took out another penny and put it in the register
and kept his penny with me every day since. I still have it see, it’s shinier now than it was back when he first placed it in my hand. I’m always
fiddl’n with it ‘n rubb’n it between me fingers. It’s polished all good and round now.
Anyway, after a day of needles and thimbles, I was walk’n me way to the bus stop. I looked up from stare’n at that penny and almost tripped up on
the curb. There he was sitt’n at the bus stop, stare’n down at his new shoe laces. I’m thankful to this day there that there was no one else on
that wait’n bench, cause I don’t know if me legs could of held me up much longer; they went all wobbly and I could hardly feel em.
He looked at me and I couldn’t help but look back at him he showed me that perfect smile, and then calmly as, he asked me if I wanted to get fish n
chips and sit on the pier. Well, I was all in for that wasn’t I so we sat at the pier sharing our chips n vinegar wrapped up in the daily news paper
just like you’d wrap up a baby. He talked a little about his mum and a little bit about his dad. He talked about his work as a baker from up north
and that he wasn’t going to be here much longer. A few days at the most. It sadden me heart hear’n that, but I was happy to make the most of it.
He come visit’n everyday day after that, and before long we found ourselves sittin on a fancier bench than the one back at the bus stop.
Everything in that court house was as shiny as the sap seep’n out of a tree and just as smooth as the golden syrup I use to make me dumplin’s. And
before I knew it we was married. How a plain girl like me could find and marry good bloke like that is simply boggl’n. Well, I put everything I
owned in a carpet bag that I made from off cuts from the haberdashery and there I was sit’n, waiting excitedly for the train to go when all of a
sudden bloody Maisy runs screaming and waving down the aisle, she caught me and bloody near strangled me with her hugs. She handed me a brown paper
parcel all tied up with string. She spoke so fast and mumbled, I could hardly figure out what she was say’n.
It dint take long for the conductor to shift her caboose off the train and back out onto the platform.
And there I was sitt’n his hand in mine. We smiled and laughed and he pointed out all the sights along the way, at times my mind raced just as fast
as the blurry cows and wheat that whizzed by. Then I remembered the brown paper package Maisy gave me, so I sat there and unwrapped it. Roy kept the
string, winding it up and putting it in his pocket, never know he said, it might come in handy. He was good like that found a use for most things he
did. Guess what was in that package, go on guess! It was this here beautiful silver tea pot. Oh, it was so shinny it was like a mirror! One of the
best gifts I ever got. This old pot has been here whenever anyone needed comfort. This old silver teapot has heard of loves and losses; its been here
to celebrate all the kiddies birthdays and more, oh believe me if this here silver tea pot could talk, it would have a lifetime of memories to chat
about. See me and this silver tea pot aren’t much different really.
The house was a nice little house on stilts. You know the sort build up high, keeps the house cool, nuth’n but dust n dirt underneath her old feet.
It was just around the corner from where Roy worked as a baker. I took on jobs of sew’n and mend’n, and what within twelve months of us be’n
married n setl’n in I fell pregnant with our first and there was many more to follow, mind you. I always thought I’d make a pretty good mum, love
the kiddies to bits and still do. Seven baby’s, twenty five grand kiddies and I lost track of how many great grand kiddies, it will come to me in a
Well six months after Johnny’s birth we all got news on the transistor radio from the prime minster that we was go’n to war. Roy was pretty eager
to pay his part and he did just that. He paid, I paid, and everyone else bloody well paid too. He wanted to set me and Johnny up first and he had
some mates back down south and their wives would’ve been alone too, what with all the blokes taken off to war and do’n their bit, so we packed up
and found this house here. Too right, this is the same house. I’ve been liven here close to eighty odd years now. Well, anyway, Roy and a few of
his mates took the day off work and caught the train to the city to enlist while us girls stayed back here drink’n tea from this here silver tea pot
and look’n after our young’uns .
The follo’n week him and his mates and some other blokes from here caught the train back to the city where they waited to be bussed a few hours away
to an army base. I kept me self busy what with Johnny and the sew’n n mend’n jobs I was get’n. I started knitt’n scarfs and jumpers for the
salvo’s too by then. Anyway he sent me letters while he was there. I still have em. Give me sec I’ll go get em.
I can read it, I still see good enough.
To my dearest Marjorie, funny read’n that. He used to say my name sounded like it came from the birds, Marjorie Florence he’d say ,then he’d
give a sweet little whistle. He like to whistle, and I liked hear’n him whistle.
Well anyway where was I? Oh yeah.
To my dearest Marjorie
I think about you and little Johnny every single day, I miss holding your hand and seeing you smile.
Hopefully we won’t be here much longer and when our leave papers come through I'll be straight back home for a time, that’s if all goes well, and
the fellas behave themselves and do what is expected of them. We did have one or two mishaps. It all came about due to an unhappy ending to one of
the neighboring farmer's sheep. She just happened to wander in through a fence. The sergeant is still trying to figure that one out due to him not
being able to find any breaks around the perimeter. The fellas and I were a little put off with the rations that were provided to us and we were all
itching for a Sunday roast. So we took it upon ourselves to solve the problem. We slaughtered the wandering sheep, well, actually that is not quite
correct as we had tied her up to a nearby tree. In any case, she roasted up very nicely and we all had a jolly nice feed. We were cleaning up just as
our sergeant plodded into our camp. I do believe he was sincere in our punishment and I didn’t mind doing a few extra miles up the track than usual.
It did bother me however when we were asked to chip in and pay the farmer for his loss, due to the fact that we paid him a good price for a lamb when
in fact, as I said previously, she was a sheep. The sergeant seeing no difference between lamb and mutton stood his ground and therefore ordering us
to pay highly for his lack of understanding on such a matter.
Well I must get back to it, I miss you Marjorie, kiss Johnny for me and I should be home soon
Well anyway Roy came home on leave for a bit and we made the most of it, picnics and walks in the park and so forth, and just about the time I fell
pregnant with our second he got his orders to go off to Syria. So there I was in the city, Johnny on me hip, baby in me belly and me try’n not to
cry as Roy and all the blokes boarded the ship. Never seen so many folk in all me life, they made it look like a big party they did. People were
laugh’n n cheer’n; I dunno if I was the only one not laugh’n n cheer’n , maybe I was struggl’n too much with little Johnny on me hip
wriggle’n an try’n to grab at the streamers. But I didn’t see nuthin happy about it. I remember get’n home to a dark house, putt’n Johnny
in bed and just sit’n. I think I sat there and did nuf’n most of the night. I must have dozed off at some point I suppose.
Things became routine soon enough, I’d put Johnny in with chooks while I hung the wash’n and dug in the garden. He couldn’t get into much
trouble in there, was always on the go he was. If I didn’t keep me eye on him he’d be off down the street. A few time Mrs. Reeve’s at the end of
the block would lead him by the hand back home. Real lucky we were a pretty close bunch back then. A few times I had to call on a neighbour for help
and a few times they’d call on me too. I never minded much, company was always welcome and this here silver tea pot was sit’n here ready for
anyone want’n some company.
I started get’n pains while I was dig’n some carrots, kind a threw me of at first so I got a hold of Johnny dragged him scream’n down the street
all the way to Mrs. Reeve’s house hope’n she’d be able to help me out. Of course she was. She quickly took Johnny from me, gave him some
biscuits and got another neighbour with a car to get me off to the hospital. In no time at all I had new baby girl! Oh was she a beauty! I named her
Daisy I did. Her hair was as white as a daisy, all the kiddies were born with blonde hair, didn’t get dark till they was all in their twenties. Dun
know why, but it was the same with all of em it was.
About eight months after Roy left I got a telegram from him.
I got shot I'm in hospital...all good...on crutches...love Roy.
Me heart skipped a bit, couldn’t stop the ruddy tears from flow’n, eventually pulled me self together and got on with it. Garden’n, knitt’n,
sew’n and look’n after Johnny and Daisy. Just everyday stuff like that, on occasion one of the other wives would drop by, cry’n n all, but a
cupa tea would solve most of their problems.
I was happy to get another telegram that Roy was come’n home for a bit. Thats when he told me how he got shot. They were in a trench when a bullet
ricochet’d of Dan’s helmet then go’n straight through Roys boot and kill’n a bloke lay’n behind him. Suppose you get lots of coincidences
like that from war. Well he was home for a spell and once again I found me self pregnant. Roy was off again it would be last time I’d see him in
five years. Some brilliant general sent him and the rest of his regiment on some beach somewhere with no ammunition. Wasn’t long and they found
themselves be’n taken prisoner and hauled away build’n train tracks. I didn’t know this at the time mind you, all I was told is he was MIA, you
know what that is don ya? Yeah that’s right missing in action. I cried me self to sleep many times in those years. Lucky I had the kiddies, some of
the wives had no one but me and this here silver tea pot for comfort.
Things were pretty tight back then, didn’t even have enough money to buy any wool for knitt’n. Had food though; I had the chooks and I was pretty
good at look’n after the veggie patch. And I was a good enough cook and made preserves and pickles. And we all swapped them with each other when we
could. I was happy to get another telegram say’n they found Roy. It didn’t say much other than that; still it relieved me hart to hear it.
I got four more telegrams from Roy in the year’s follw’n, they didn’t say alot either. Stuff like we are doing well, they are feeding us well
and everything is well, love Roy. I compared my telegrams to the other wives and they all said the exactly the same thing word for word, only the name
was different of course. Censored one of the girls kept say’n, I didn’t care if it was censored or not, I was just happy to be read’n his name.
Love Roy, that’s all that mattered to me. Love Roy.
Did I tell ya that railway became famous n all after the war? I’m kinda proud about that. Many of our blokes put their guts into that railway.
Anyway, we heard the blokes had finally got back into our waters and they had em on a ship just float’n around out there. Wasn’t sure why they
did that, figured it out once Roy got back home though. They had to fatten them up! The ship was like a big float’n hospital.
It took a while for things to find a new place in our days, everyth’n change right down to when I’d do the wash’n to when I’d feed the chooks.
But things was goanna be alright now; I had me Roy back.
As the years went on we had four more kiddies, good kids they were. It was the last baby, Betty, that had me scared, born premature you see, tiny
little thing she was. Didn’t have those fancy humidicribs like they have nowadays. Ended up put’n her the lower plate warmer of the wood stove.
Roy and I’d take turns watch’n over her, he called it picket. I called it kiss n cuppa time. He’d kiss me as we passed each other in the
passage and then I’d go sit in the kitchen watch’n the baby and then pour me self a cuppa from me silver tea pot. Weeks went by with us doin this;
the other kiddies were good of course. Didn’t cause no problems. Got themselves off to school n all, the bigger ones look’n out for the little
A year after Betty was born, Betty be’n our youngest, we lost Dorothy in a car accident. Dorothy. She was out with her friends. They must have
been go’n real fast to for the car to look the way it did. Toughest thing I had to go through I think, loos’n one of me babies.
Roy passed away a few years back now and I’ve been stubl’n through the days ever since, but crikey its hard without him. Everyone else has gone to
now, from the old days anyway. For some reason death keeps on miss’n me, dunno why that is, I suppose times up when times up. Oh, the kiddies still
visit once in awhile, normally round about Christmas time, try’n to drag me outa me house and into some nurs’n home. I won’t have it mind you.
Nope, you’re the only one to come visit and keep me company, besides this here silver tea pot that is, and I thank you for that. You sit’n here
list’n to an old woman ramble on about nuth’n important to anyone else but herself. I’m grateful for your visits.
Time for a fresh pot of tea I think.