Posted in Family, Personal life, Writing

Who Am I Again?

View of The Oval, the shopping parade in Sidcup
The Oval:  Sidcup’s  answer to the shopping mall

My mother tells a tale of her first expedition as a newly-wed to buy groceries at The Oval, the little parade of shops in our home town of Sidcup, Kent.

It was the 1950s, still about a decade before the newfangled concept of supermarket shopping shook up Sidcup with the arrival of a tiny Safeway complete with – wait for it – an on-site milk bar, which seemed the height of sophistication at the time. At The Oval, by contrast, the shops and their clientele were small enough for every customer to be known individually and to be greeted formally by the shopkeeper.

So on entering the butcher’s shop that morning, my mother was not surprised to hear the butcher call out a cheery greeting to her mother-in-law. She turned around, expecting to see her new husband’s mother standing behind her. But of course, my grandmother wasn’t there: my mother had just forgotten for a moment that now she was married, they’d both be answering to the same name. She’d been promoted; she was a grown-up.

I had a similar butchers’-shop moment myself this afternoon. I was sitting at my computer, typing away, when I became aware of a rustling at my shoulder. My daughter’s playdate was standing behind me, quietly surveying my muddly desk. She’s a sweet girl, cheerful and well-behaved, so I didn’t mind stopping work for a chat.

“Well, here’s something that’s cool!” she said.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“I’m the friend of someone whose mother writes books,” she said brightly.

I sat back in my chair.

“Oh, that’s nice!” I said. “Do I know her? What sort of books does she write?”

She fixed me with an old-fashioned look, the sort that says “adults aren’t always as smart as they’re cracked up to be.”

Then I followed her pointed gaze to my own book, published last month, a copy of which is now propped up on display at the edge of my desk. For a moment I’d forgotten I was an author. My goodness, I’ve been promoted too. Happy days!

Me at my book launch with some of my books
“I thought it looked a bit familiar!”

If you liked this post inspired by my hometown, you might also like this one: 

Bowled Over By Fond Memories of My Grandma

Let It Snow: My Best Christmas Childhood Memories

And in case you missed it, here’s more about my new book:

Sell Your Books! by Debbie Young


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

6 thoughts on “Who Am I Again?

      1. It’s almost like a dirty word isn’t it? “What do you do for a living?” “I’m a writer.” “Oh dear, how embarrassing for you. Never mind, maybe one day you will find yourself a real job.” “Thank you for that evil person, it’s going to be fun inserting you in and then killing you off in my next short story/crime novel!”

  1. Ha ha! Do you know anyone who actually feels like a grown up? I know I don’t, I feel like I am playing along but I do know of 1 or 2 people who seem to have embraced being a grown up (I have never asked them if they feel that way!) successfully. I don’t think I envy them, though.

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