The Dempsey’s were an upper-class family, living in the heart of Kensington London. Lord Jack Dempsey is a retired banker and a former MP for one of the boroughs of London. Jack who married Beatrice Carswell back in 1954 had two children and lived a life of luxury.
Beatrice, never in her entire marriage cleaned her four-bedroomed house. Cleaning was beneath her, Mrs Dempsy would tell fer friends. In fact, the most she did with regards to housework, was make her own bed.
If Beatrice had a dinner party and needed the house spruced up, she would call the agency, and demand Maggie be sent, as she knew the other cleaner didn’t understand her needs and what was expected.
Maggie came from a working-class family, who played bingo Tuesday and Friday nights, and would spend weekends with her son and grandchildren. From the day, she gave birth to her Michael, she was back at work, cleaning for the agency. She would plan her cleaning jobs around her beloved Bob (God Rest his soul) and Michael.
The only vacation Maggie had which lasted for more than a week, was when her Bob was made redundant at 64, and with a nice little settlement he paid for them, Michael and children to got to Disney World in Florida.
Every Friday Maggie would clean the Dempsey’s house from top to bottom. As time went on these last few years, she found that she was beginning to take her longer in her tasks.,
Maggie realised she was not as nimble as she was back then. Not once in Maggie’s entire 30+ years of cleaning for Mrs Dempsey did, she ever expect anything or ask for anything. In fact, to be perfectly blunt about it, Maggie knew that she would not even get a Christmas card, yet alone a present. But she never grumbled. She was thankful for the work.
Lord Dempsey on the other hand, was not like Beatrice at all. He would often drop an envelope into her handbag with a little cash and thank-you notelet. He’s such a kind hearted soul. Far too good for her, Maggie would think when she used to hear Beatrice bellow at him for silly little things.
Sunday morning, Maggie phoned Michael and told him she didn’t feel too good and wouldn’t be coming over today. And would phone him later.
Maggie knew things were deteriorating with regards to her health, but was too scared of what the Drs would tell her. How could she leave Mr Dempsey to fend for himself. She held a soft spot for Lord Dempsey, he was kind, polite, and reminded her so much of her beloved Bob.
Michael had suggested that she go and live with him and the kids in the past, but she never took him seriously. Who wants an aging frail woman living with them, Maggie would think to herself.
As she sat on the sofa, she saw Michael and the kids pull up outside. As he opened the door and walked into the lounge, he looked at his mother and said, ‘Ma, you look so tired and frail, you’ve spent too many years running around after that miserable old boot, Beatrice Dempsey. It’s time for you now, you owe her nothing.’
She replied, ‘But Michael!’
Michael quickly retorted with, ‘But Michael nothing, Ma, you’ve been her slave for over 30 years. Not once has she given you a birthday card, present or extra cash when you’ve worked extra. She knew exactly how much you were earning. You were getting the bare minimum wage from the agency and she knew it.’
‘And every year she has played you for a fool, working you to the bone and never have you ever asked her for a favour in return. Unlike her, always wanting you to run here and there on your way to work, knowing full well that you wouldn’t be paid for that extra half hour.’
‘So, Ma next weekend we are going pack up your things, and move you in with us. We love you so much Ma, and the kids and I want you there with us. It’s our turn to look after you and thank you for all you’ve done for me and the kids, since Sally’s death. I know Dad would want this for you too!’
Maggie, remembered that fateful day; the day Sally went out with her parents shopping for the kid’s school uniforms and she never returned. Their car was involved in a multi-car pile-up on the motorway, where 6 people lost their lives, including Sally and her parents. That was 5 years ago next month and still nearly five years on, the pain for her, Michael and the children is sometimes as raw as it was on that fateful day.
Then in a flash it dawned on her. Maggie realised now that Michael and the children needed her far more than Mrs Dempsey and her stuck up ways. Even though she felt excitement at her new future, she felt sorry for leaving Lord Dempsey in the lurch, because he could not leave that woman. But Lord Dempsey had he hobbies, she was sure he would be fine.
Maggie knew deep in her heart, that what Michael was saying was true, it was time to put herself, Michael and the children and their needs first.
From now on, as far as she was concerned, Beatrice Dempsey can do her own cleaning…
Her future was with her son and grandchildren. Her days of cleaning for a pittance, were over…
3 responses to “She’s all cleaned out…”
Such a beautiful story Bren.
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Thank you xx
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