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A 200 word short story

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Dermot Report 3 Mar 2013 03:27

I thought I'd add a little sad but true story concerning The Rotunda Hospital, Dublin. Here goes.

The following is the experience of a family friend as he told it to me many years ago. It's amazing how some things can be remembered from years ago whereas I sometimes find it difficulty in recalling what I did a few weeks ago. Anyway, read on.

"Our first child was born in the Rotunda Hospital in 1970 & this is a letter I received from the hospital informing me of what had happened".

The Rotunda Hospital

23rd July 1970.

Dear Sir,

I have to inform you that your new born baby died today.

If you wish to make your own arrangements for burial, you should notify Matron's office as soon as possible. If you prefer, the burial can be arranged for you by the hospital authorities by getting in touch with the medical social worker.

If the hospital authorities find it necessary to proceed with the arrangements, the charge is £2.15s which should be paid to the Accounts Clerk between the hours of 9am & 4:30pm Monday to Friday. A cheque or Postal Order together with your name & address can be sent to the Accounts Dept.

We would ask you to instruct us promptly in order to avoid undue distress.

Yours faithfully

Accounts Dept.


"Though I & my wife spent a long time in the hospital at that time prior to the sad event, this was the only official correspondence we had from them. The one person who gave me any help in the hospital was a lady who witnessed me crying in a public corridor while she worked with a bucket & mop cleaning the floor. She came over & spoke to me in my distress, put her hand on my shoulder & encouraged me to carry on.

She was a true samaritan".

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 2 Mar 2013 22:56

The Party
The hall had been booked for a year to be certain it was available, it’s plain walls were now draped in tie dyed sheets, the bar was well stocked and each small covered table had a candle in a jar & a bowl of nuts. The group was the best we could afford and the refreshment table was weighed down with meat & fish platters, bowls of salad and baskets of fresh crusty bread, cheese boards and golden curls of butter. (Not a cocktail sausage or cheese and pineapple hedgehog in sight, this was to be a real smart do.)

We had sent out invitations to our school friends, all we could do now was wait and hope that our families would not embarrass us.

The Group’s drummer was playing a Shadows’ drum solo as we stood by the door, hiding behind the curtain to get a glimpse of the first of our guests, before being seen by them.

First one of us giggled then the others joined in,” Look at us three like acting like 16 year olds”.

Friends from childhood we had vowed at our joint 16th Birthday party that we would repeat it when we were 50.

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 2 Mar 2013 21:30

Thank you, Dizzi, sometime you will have to share those stories & I will try to translate them into the written word for you.

Dermot, it is not rubbish


DIZZI Report 2 Mar 2013 17:06



Dermot Report 2 Mar 2013 15:18

"There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know." (Donald Rumsfeld - USA Secretary of Defence - 2002).

I had it in mind to write a short piece about the abuse of our lovely language by the likes of Mr Rumsfeld. But I had subsequent doubts when someone told me that the Plain English Campaign group had no great problem understanding his words. So, I won't. As our teachers used to say - 'Stick within your comfort zone' - or something like that. I will so!

Anyway, my own language-skills deficit could leave myself wide open to ridicule by readers of this dissertation no less than Mr Rumsfeld. Some understanding may be lost in translation too but, remember, the only way is English, despite what the planned Scottish separation referendum produces.

Reared on a small family farm, life constantly revolved around the farm animals because, one way or another, they were the ones to produce our living income to a great degree. The countryside routine was fairly simple - animals first, humans second. It has ever been thus & probably will continue similarly until we have shuffled off this mortal coil - as Shakespeare's Hamlet described it.

Certain farm animals could be very friendly while others could seem aloof or give the impression of being a bit arrogant - similar to people really. They all had plenty of human contact as you would expect in such small surroundings & had no great fear of human presence in their midst.

The turkeys, for example, had a lovely time in our back field all year long with plenty to eat among the grass tufts & supplemented by high-grade special supplement usually handed out to them by my mum. Authentic free-range no less. Of course, she'd never mention anything about Christmas in their presence and the need for turkeys to be pretty fat at that festive time of year as if that may raise their stress & anxiety syndromes - which it would do if only the turkeys had the sense to see what was coming their way. Luckily they didn't; birdbrain & all that.

Strangely enough, it is usually the thin & scraggy turkeys that survive having a Christmas Day walk-on part in the centre of the roasting tray. The one nominated for the special meal could run around the garden faster than Usain Bolt.

Everything seemed to go faster even in those pre-kindle days. We need to invent ways for us slow-coaches to keep up. Anyway, some human guile had to be used to net the poor victim but, as it was said, his name was linked with the roasting pot that year & that was that. The story of the turkey's demise would be accurate. Very tasty he was too plus cold turkey sandwiches for days thereafter! Nothing was ever wasted & horse meat never crossed our doorway.

And what a relief for all the other turkeys milling around the back garden who would strut up & down proudly gobbling amongst themselves about how lucky they were to keep their feathers on & survive for a little longer.

Farmers who rear geese know full well that they are one of the best 'guard-dogs' in any farm yard. When disturbed, they create such a rowdy rumpus with squawking all round. No sneaky fox would dare approach the geese's domain looking for a mouthful of poultry supper.

For those of us with aching necks, you might like to know that rubbing on the affected area with goose fat is a well-known cure to relieve such pains. Albert of Steptoe & Son recommend this cure to his son Harold in one episode broadcast many years ago. You cannot argue with that now, can you?

Of course, we have all heard of goose featherbeds which claim to offer a warm salubrious sleep to the lucky owner. They can be expensive to buy but keen poultry farmers sometimes make their own, remembering to air them well to get rid of the poultry smell. Nowadays, I suppose these young farmers or their lovely lady wives would just place an air freshener in the bedroom for the same purpose. Lazy devils!

That's enough of this tomfoolery! And using the recent theme by the now resigned Cardinal O’Brien: “For any failures or offences contained in this article, I apologise to you all who have bothered to read this rubbish”. By the way, you have 790 words in this article at no extra cost to the readers. What a bargain!

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 2 Mar 2013 13:44

The love of my life

Life was beautiful, as we strolled hand in hand through the countryside, sat watching the clouds, laughing as we gave names to their shapes. A perfect young couple, our friends and families said, known each other throughout our childhood, no hidden skeletons.
Then adulthood came, with the need to leave the village to train for the profession I had chosen. In our immaturity we thought that the miles dividing us for just three years, meeting on my days off, would do no harm to what we had; it did.
I had spent my first eighteen years in the bubble that was a collection of small villages in rural Sussex, where we all knew each other. Suddenly I was miles from home, living with other girls who came from other types of communities, my mind was broadened. There was life outside of the village; one I quite liked the look of, especially the bright lights, parties and atmosphere of London in the late 1960’s. I thought that he was not and never could be as exciting or interesting as some of the other males from all over the world that I was meeting at college, so after a year of only seeing him a few times a month I made a decision, I told him it was not working and broke off our relationship, thus giving myself freedom. He said he had realized that it was not working and wished me well.
The next time we met, I was unhappily married with a small baby. He told me he was getting married as his girlfriend was pregnant. Our eyes met and we both knew that we had taken the wrong turning, but each of us had to carry on down our chosen paths.
Two years later I was back in the village bubble, healing in mind and body after my abusive marriage was over. Jeff sought me out for a private chat; he was the friend I had had in my teens. We talked for a long time, filling in the missing years. To this day I do not know just how I covered my true feelings as I convinced him that he should stay with his new family, not hurt them, I would be fine by myself.
Time passed, I met my partner of the last 40 years, who is my second real true love. My first marriage was a big mistake, but it did give me a lovely daughter in compensation.
My Husband knows all about my past, he knew Jeff even before he and I met. Living in the same area and sharing the same interests we often all meet up. Will accepts the fact that Jeff and I ‘have history’ but is happy knowing that I am his ‘till death do us part’.
I will always love the young Jeff, but the man he has become is not that man.
You can live your life with regret, always looking back, or look forward making new happy memories.
.... <3


Claddagh Report 6 Feb 2013 10:30

My middle name being 'thick', I didn't realise you actually wrote this story yourself Carol.I agree with Ann, it is very well-written.


AnninGlos Report 5 Feb 2013 17:59

How sad Carol, but I like the story and you wrote it well, you should have joined the writers' group which seems to have given up the ghost now.


FootieAngel Report 5 Feb 2013 17:26

Thats a bit like the lady in call the midwife who kept searching for her children as no one had told her they had died x


PollyinBrum Report 5 Feb 2013 15:51

Such a sad and tragic story.

Lady Cutie

Lady Cutie Report 5 Feb 2013 15:41

That is so sad :-(

♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 5 Feb 2013 15:34

True in the fact that, a woman pushed an empty pram round & we knew that she had lost her husband & children in a house fire.

There is no head stone, she lost everything & had no money to pay for one. She was taken in by her brother & his wife, never got over the tragedy.

Names changed & ages


DIZZI Report 5 Feb 2013 14:28



PricklyHolly Report 5 Feb 2013 14:14

Sniff, sob, hiccup.

:-\ :-\ :-\


Claddagh Report 5 Feb 2013 14:11

This is so sad, has me in tears too. Is it a true story Carol?


BarbinSGlos Report 5 Feb 2013 13:30

So sad Carol

But thankyou.


♥†۩ Carol   Paine ۩†♥

♥†۩ Carol Paine ۩†♥ Report 5 Feb 2013 13:23

Here is mine :-D

Please add yours

A Woman's Tears

The two friends walked their dogs through the old church yard to the open fields beyond, as they had every school day for almost a year. They chatted and laughed as they walked, temporarily relieved of their offspring’s demands.
Unused to meeting anyone they were surprised when they noticed someone between the rows of weather beaten gravestones. A small, elderly lady was kneeling, planting forget-me-nots, carefully nestling their roots into the soil and singing quietly, tears running down her face.
Dragged by their dogs, who were excitedly straining on their leashes, ready for their game of chase across the adjacent field, the two friends discussed the elderly lady. It was the weird one, the one the children and many adults pointed & laughed at, told their children to stay away from, as she pushed a battered empty old pram.
On their way home they made a detour to the grave, stood staring at the newly washed stone & newly planted flowers, tears running down their faces.
1st SEPTEMBER 1925