Continuing my thoughts of the Beatles, their number HELP brings back a vivid memory when I was a very young mother. I didn’t wear many scarves then around my neck, but it was quite fashionable to wear a long skinny one around one’s waist. I no longer have the one I wore when I shouted Help on that scary day, but I still wear a long one, let’s say a much longer one, round a wider waist today. I have chosen a girlie design, silk of course, reminiscent of the teeny boppers of the day. Mind you, I was probably more into Scottish country dancing than rocking but at that moment I was a stay at home mum with two children twenty-two months apart with little time for dancing!
At the time of my tale, the baby was a few weeks old and the older one about two. We lived in a modern house with an open tread staircase. The older child had conquered the stairs and unknown to me, had mastered another skill. I had gone into the nursery bedroom at the rear of the house to check on the baby, the elder child was playing with her dolls on the landing. Suddenly, I realised the door had closed and I heard the sound of a key turning. I was locked in. Clever girl, I said in what I hoped was a calm voice. Now, turn it the other way. This instruction was continued for some time. Either she didn’t understand or didn’t have the strength to turn it anti-clockwise. Now I asked her to take the key out and push it under the door. She managed to remove the key but the floors were carpeted and the key got stuck. Now, I felt in a panic, opened the bedroom window and shouted HELP! I shouted and shouted, but nobody heard. We didn’t have mobile phones way back then, I was alone with a baby who was due for a bottle feed and was now grizzling. We were new to the neighbourhood, the house was on a busy road and the child needed supervision on the slippery open tread staircase. I knew the back door was open, but could one take all these risks by sending her to the main road for help? A two year old doesn’t even have a big vocabulary. I shouted HELP out the bedroom window until I was hoarse. Nobody heard.
Then, the idea came to me. I whipped off my tights, my long skinny scarf, removed the dressing cord from the child’s dressing gown, and lifted the now screaming baby from her cot to steal her sheet. I knotted them all to make a makeshift rope and tied it round my daughter’s little red Wellington boot. Trying to sound calm, I said .... Now darling, we’re going to play a little game. I want you to take the key, hold on carefully on the stairs and go out the back door. I don’t know how long all this took. It felt like a lifetime. I lowered my ‘rope’ out the window, hoping the boot would stay in place. What a clever girl, I said, now pop the key in your boot and Mummy will pull it up...... I was trembling as I hauled up the precious cargo. Needless to say, after that all keys were removed from internal doors.
That lockdown was far more threatening than this present one and the scarf more precious than all the Hermes which would be mine in later years.
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!