Envious of their Lifestyle.


Despite being married with four children,  Sylvie was living a lifestyle as though she were single, going out when she pleased, sometimes staying out all night. It was at this time that she started making the trips to RAF Alconbury with her friend Josie.

Josie had been married two or three times and had lived with several different men. She was a large character both in personality and size. She was tall and statuesque, with long dark hair, wore bright red lipstick and nail varnish on long talon like nails.

Standing at about five foot ten she had manly features, size nine feet and a deep voice from many years of heavy smoking. The reason I knew I about her shoe size comes from one of the several stories that Sylvie would love to tell us;

Josie had proudly showed off a new pair of thigh length boots that she had bought and Sylvie described them as being enormous, size nine and with immense stiletto heels, about  six inches. When asking her how on earth she could wear them, Josie replied had that they were great for in the bedroom. Sylvie had questioned what for, picturing Josie dressed up in the boots and little else, when Josie declared, “Well when I’m on top, I can straddle a single bed in these”.

Sylvie would tell these sorts of stories from when I was a young age and really shouldn’t have been privy to some of the contents, but she didn’t hold back and would go into great detail, having us all in fits of laughter, partly because she herself would be nearly hysterical with laughter, almost wetting herself and tears rolling down her face. No matter how any times she would tell these tales she never failed to get the same reaction.

Having none of her own teeth despite only being in her early thirties, Josie had to wear dentures. These dentures where to become more fodder for Sylvie’s stories.  Eating a cheese and tomato sandwich in our house one day, Josie put down her sandwich and was running her tongue vigorously around her teeth. She said “Oh these bloody tomato seeds!” and promptly proceeded to take out her top denture without any flicker of embarrassment or attempt to conceal them, turned them over and ran her tongue along the underside to remove the seeds then popped it back in her mouth and continued eating, oblivious to our stunned reactions.

On another occasion, on one of their trips to Alconbury, Sylvie and Josie were stood at the bar having a drink when one of their companions, a tall well-built American airman arrived to join them and greeted Josie with and exuberant “Hi there Josie” and added a playful slap on her back. Sylvie loved to relate with elaborate gestures how Josie’s dentures flew out of her mouth and whizzed along the bar to land in front of another airman. He took one look at the dentures, put down his beer, looked at Josie with a raised eyebrow and with an American drawl of the Deep South just said “Excuse me ma’am?”  Apparently, Josie simply hopped down from her bar-stool, skipped along the bar, picked up her denture, popped it back into her mouth, said “Thanks very much,” and slid back onto her stool and continued her drink as though nothing had happened.

Although it would appear that Josie was somewhat course and hard-nosed, she was actually, in a lot of ways, a lot kinder and soft hearted than Sylvie. Josie liked having a good time and never made any excuses for her lifestyle. She wasn’t one to care about the state or cleanliness of her house, didn’t ever think to put a meal on the table and would go off out in the evenings, leaving her children to fend for themselves. Whilst she was neglectful I don’t ever remember her being cruel, unkind or violent towards them and certainly not in the way I was treated by Sylvie. I remember frequently feeling envious of the lifestyle of Josie’s children, of their freedom and the luxury of not having to suffer frequent tongue lashings, face slaps or constant put-downs.


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4 thoughts on “Envious of their Lifestyle.

  1. I am fond of your writing. In your case, a painful childhood lived in extreme conditions has resulted keen observation of those around you. You bring Sophie to life in vivid detail. She must have been a wildly interesting character. I especially like how you imagined her children to have a better life, one without rules and harsh enforcement. I will be reading you often. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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