« Visions | Main | 84 – A Furious Brawl »

U3A Writing: Marrying Mr Faichney

...He laughed, and his blue eyes twinkled, 'Oh, Edith,' he said. 'Now who would want to marry an silly old fool like me?'

I was standing, listening. Shaking, I went up to him and said, 'I'll marry you, Mr Faichney.'...

Shirley Henwood recalls her impulsive childhood proposal.

Shirley writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au

My grandparents had a friend called Jack Faichney. He was a lovely man, always kind to me and my sister, Joy. Once he gave me a five-shilling piece. This seemed an enormous sum to me to give to a young child, or it was in our family. I can't remember whether I ever met his wife, but everybody said she had been a lovely woman. Well she would have been, if she'd been married to him I thought.

Jack Faichney seemed to visit quite as often as we would visit him and his daughter at his home in Williamstown. We had to take the train on to Williamstown Beach, as that was nearer to the house, a terrace house in a row of others. The front of the house was almost on the footpath.

Inside they had a real leather lounge suite. It was dark brown with buttons, and very 'posh', my sister and I thought. Whenever my mother took us to Williamstown Beach, we walked around to their house, then would go back to the beach through a park, enclosed by a dark green hedge. This was a fascinating for children, because in the centre was a cage with all sorts of colourful parrots, guinea pigs and rabbits. We loved the cockatoos, and watching them dance and say 'Hello' to us. We never tired of them, and would have stayed all day in the park, if we had been allowed. But we weren't allowed to stay without our mother. You never knew who might be waiting to kidnap—or worse—little girls on their own. So we would go down to the beach next and have a swim in the sea, and eat our lunch on the sand.

When we had been there for some time, we would go back to Jack Faichney's house, for my mother to have a cup of tea and scones with them, pick up our things and go to the train station for the journey home. Sometimes we walked past the huge red-brick walls of a Roman Catholic Home, but all we could see were trees. It looked quite spooky to us, and we imagined all kinds of things going on behind the walls. One day in my grandparents' house in West Preston, Jack Faichney was joking with my grandmother. He could make her laugh more than anybody else could. Granma said, 'You should have remarried, Jack, you're wasted on your own.'

He laughed, and his blue eyes twinkled, 'Oh, Edith,' he said. 'Now who would want to marry an silly old fool like me?'

I was standing, listening. Shaking, I went up to him and said, 'I'll marry you, Mr Faichney.'

Mr Faichney said, 'Well, that's wonderful news. Now I’ve got myself a girlfriend, and she wants to marry me, would you believe my luck?'

I went bright red.

Everybody laughed. Mr Faichney didn't laugh. He kissed me, and gave me a hug.

'When will we get married,' I asked.

'Well, you'll have to grow a little bit older than you are, but I'll wait for you,' he said.

Whenever we saw him after that, everybody would say, 'Here's your boyfriend, Shirley.'

I would run to him, and he would give me a hug and a kiss.

When he died, I was a lot older, and I think I must have forgotten all about our marriage plans.

He was such a lovely man.


© Shirley Henwood

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.