Ethel lay on the floor screaming. The linen that served as a nappy was filthy and her little hands clasped and unclasped the air as her small red face crunched in another wail of unhappiness
Her mother pushed a damp lock of hair from her eye and sat back on her haunches, clutching the wet cloth in her hand. She sighed deeply and wrung it out into the bucket, then resumed scrubbing the floor. Her ears deaf to her daughters cries as she had much more work to do before the day was done.
Once she had finished this, she had to prepare her husbands food so he did not have to wait when he got in from the mine. He worked long hours to try and provide for them all. Thankfully the oldest, Clarissa, now had that job up at the big house, so that was one less mouth to feed, but Ethel was here now and soon would be eating their food too. Dear Albert was starting the apprenticeship at the bakery next week and she was very grateful that this would mean another 5s a week! They would eat like kings!
She pulled herself up once she reached the door, and holding her back, sighed deeply again. She looked around and was proud of what she had. Apart from Ethel. Ethel had been an accident. He had pulled out like the good Catholic Priest had told them to, but it hadn’t worked. Ethel was born into their world and had not shut up since. 9 children she’d had and she did not want another. But Ethel was there and she made the best of what God gave her.
Popping Ethel up and onto one hip, she walked towards the kitchen to start the evening meal. Shouting for Katy to come and give a hand she grabbed a few potatoes out of the bag in the shed. Her brother had dropped them off earlier. Filling meal tonight.
Kate popped her head in from the yard, ‘Sorry Ma, the bathtub was dirty so am just finishing off there. Get Mary to help ya’
With Ethel quietened down for a moment in a clean piece of cloth, she started to get the pans ready……..
Written as part of the Writing Tasks on Our Arts Magazine