Fuelled by my success in the competition, I decided that the short story was the way to go. I put the novel on the back burner and had an idea that I thought would be ideal for a magazine such as Women’s Weekly or The People’s Friend, two titles that still include short fiction. Unfortunately my effort was the wrong length for one, while the other refused it as being “too sad” for their readers. I had it down as wistful, I didn’t mean to upset them. See what you think, here’s the first instalment.
Elsie’s Magic Carpet
“The daffodils are blooming
And spring is on its way…”
The old 78 was so scratched there was more crackle than song, but Rob didn’t mind. He smiled as he gently lifted the needle and swung the arm back into place. Once the record stopped turning he picked it up and slid it into the paper sleeve, taking care not to touch the fragile surface. Then he looked again at the faded picture on the cover, a pretty face smiling in soft focus above the words “Elspeth St John in Springtime Review 1946.” It had to be her, it had to be Elsie.
He didn’t tell many people about his hobby, his passion for old musicals from the thirties and forties. He collected film posters and photographs of the stars, but the records were his real love. He had hundreds, all carefully arranged on purpose built shelves covering three walls of what had been the dining room in his small house. Two ancient phonographs were set up to play them and to Rob there was nothing finer than listening to a record and being transported back to the very moment when the orchestra played and the song was sung.
It had all started with Deanna. He blamed his Gran, if blame was the right word – he’d lived with her years ago after his Mum died and Dad was struggling to cope. Gran would make popcorn and draw the curtains for their matinee afternoons. They’d sit on the sofa watching videos of the old musicals and soon he was hooked. Deanna Durbin was his first love, and first love never truly fades.
Rob made his living as a landscape gardener. He’d never get rich, but he loved the time spent outdoors with the smell of the earth and the certainty that came from the ever changing seasons. And it was his job that had brought him to Elsie Crawford.
Part two coming soon…