Today, I’m welcoming author and blogger Sally Cronin to the Mirror to share one of her wonderful characters and tell you about her new book, What’s in a Name?: Vol. 2. Needless to say, I think she’s a superb writer, and this is one of my favorite chapters in her book, Just an Odd Job Girl. Take it away, Sally…
Thank you so much Diana for inviting me to share my odd jobs and the characters I met that now star in my stories.
The Cosmetic Department.
I had been working in one of our large local department stores as I waited to begin my training in the Royal Alexandra Nursing Service.
Following on from my six weeks over Christmas and New Year in the shoe department of the store, I moved downstairs to the cosmetic department.
I was nineteen, and into make-up, as most of my generation was at the time. This offered me the opportunity to sample anything that I wanted, within reason, as I was appointed ‘roving consultant’. This meant that I would be trained by the different cosmetic houses in their individual products, and on their regular consultant’s day off, I would take her place.
For example, one of the cosmetic firms offered a powder blending service to its customers. This involved checking the skin tones of the client and then mixing a specific blend of powders for their complexion. There was a base powder and about twelve different shades that could be added. We used a giant spatula to whisk the powder over the tissue paper with little pinches of the different shades added until the perfect blend had been achieved.
The combination was noted on the client card, and would then be made up to that formula each time the customer needed it. The variety in my new position made my life much more interesting and I loved working with cosmetics and perfume.
I had been in the position about four weeks, and was practising my powder blending technique, when a rather large, reddened hand stretched across the counter towards me.
‘Have you something that might tone this down a little please?’ said a rather deep voice.
I looked up, a little startled by the depth of this female voice, to be confronted with rather an arresting sight. She was very tall with broad shoulders that were draped with long blonde hair. She also sported a five o’clock shadow. I was rather taken aback, as this anomaly was something I had not previously encountered. My training and upbringing took over and I stopped staring directly at her face and concentrated on the hand still being proffered to me.
‘I think that we might have a foundation that would tone down the redness,’ I offered.
‘I can then blend you a powder to ensure that it lasts all day if that would help?’
She smiled at me and perched on the little round stool the other side of the counter. The following half-hour was both informative and enjoyable. My new customer was funny and totally unconcerned by her strange appearance. She introduced herself as Dolly and regaled me with her recent escapades on her path to becoming the woman she wished to be. One of these being the removal of hair on the backs of her hands and lower arms. Hence the reddened skin on show.
As I came to the end of her particular powder blend, she leant across the counter and motioned for me to come closer.
Slightly reluctantly, I leant forward until I was staring into large blue eyes, below rather bushy eyebrows that were considerably darker than the cascade of blonde hair.
‘My real name is Arthur’ she whispered quietly. ‘I have to dress and live like this for a year before I undergo more treatment.’
This encounter was to lead to a rise in takings for the cosmetic department, as we became the best place to go for advice and products to enhance feminine beauty, for anyone who needed it.
Dolly became our unofficial PR agent, and I was invited to a party in a pub one night, where I was delighted to see all our advice and products being used to their full advantage.
What a lovely bunch of ladies and they taught a young woman much with their bravery and support for one another.
Dolly went on to star in my book Just an Odd Job Girl with some creative embellishments.
All the previous posts in the series can be found in this directory with links to my host’s blogs: Sally’s Odd Jobs and Characters
About Sally Cronin
My name is Sally Cronin and after working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998. Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition.
I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released ten others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.
My latest book – What’s in a Name? – Volume 2
Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.
Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.