The Self-employed Housewife: A Seaman's Wife's Story Ch 21
Ever done any gemstone carving?
Months went by, life was good in many ways, but somehow she started to feel what loneliness was truly all about. Only by spending time in her workroom making goods out of leather could she escape her feelings that something was wrong with her relationship with Jan. No matter how hard she tried to pretend that her marriage was good and that her inner unhappiness was unfounded, the more she realized that her only escape from the truth was to stay being creative.
Sascia and Jeroen were growing up. Sascia was now in Sub B with high marks. She loved school, unlike her mother who had done everything to skip classes. Jeroen was a very skinny shy child with big blue eyes and the longest eyelashes had started Sub A, but he didn’t like school.
Her leather work was becoming known and people ordered straight from her home. Apart from the usual bags, belts and slippers etc. she was now covering bottles and molding leather into bowls and serving trays. Every month her need to come up with a new project had awakened a love for gemstones.
Every Saturday when Jan was home she would join the gemstone club to learn from other members how to carve raw stones into highly polished works of art. Gradually her combined leather and gemstones creations were finding their ways into gift shops, but always on consignment.
Jan had been working late again. When an ore ship was in the harbor his hours were long, but the moment the ship left port, he was free to work in his garden until the next ship would arrive. He was paid a full time salary. The worry that his job would not last like that kept nagging at her. She tried to encourage him to use his free time to grow plants with the aim of owning a plant nursery one day, but he was not interested.
As she was clearing the lounge before going to bed, her eyes locked onto an advert in the newspaper which Jan had brought home the night before.
The Hobbies Fair
The Feather Market Convention Center in Port Elizabeth was organizing a hobbies fair event in four months time and crafters were encouraged to book a stall as soon as possible.
In an instant she knew that was this event was meant for her. She was going to exhibit all her leather work. It would be her very first public show in Port Elizabeth. She had held an occasional morning selling session at a friend’s home, the same way that people held Tupperware parties, but she hated it. She never wanted people to feel that they had to buy anything, but having a show case big event in town might just be a start to getting her work known.
The rules were that every crafter was expected to show by working on their own skill and each stall holder was required to come up with an original way to display their crafts. She was already planning to have a log cabin. The visions were already established in her mind.
Doing something together
It was hard to wait for the right moment to involve Jan in her idea about the Hobbies fair. She had phoned them and they had sent forms for her to fill in. Jan was glad that she had found a way to sell her work from an exhibition, but he had no idea yet about her ideas for a rather ambitious stall design.
She had made drawings of a frame from wood that would have to support large sheets of paper on which she would draw wooden planks. There also had to be a counter for inside and places to hang both bags and belts.
“Jan please will you look at my drawings for my display stall?” The kids had already gone to bed by the time Jan had come home. She had kept food for him in the warming drawer of the oven and made sure his coffee was ready after he had had a shower. He was good at renovating their bathroom which now included a shower. Woodwork was getting to be a new hobby for him, especially after she talked him into buying a radial arm saw. He had made built in cupboards for the kids bedroom and many other alterations to make their home more to their liking.
It was her job to make sketches about renovation ideas, and he had no problem following them up. His next job would be to make a new kitchen.
“Look this must be simple for you to make surely?” she said hopefully when he sat down with his coffee and books about woodwork.
“Why can’t you just be happy with a table? Is this all necessary?” he replied, studying her drawings.
“I’m aiming to win a trophy, and it will be an opportunity to stand out amongst many other crafters.”
“Mmm, well I suppose I can buy some more battens when I order them for our new kitchen.”
She gave him a great big hug, which instantly gave him other ideas. Why could Jan not be satisfied with just a cuddle? It was still far too early to go to bed, and she was keen to finish her Atlas Shrugged novel.
One Monday morning Jeroen refused to go to school but remained in his bedroom sulking. She was wondered why.
“Mommy I know why?” Sascia whispered in the kitchen.
“Tell me, what happened?”
“Every Monday we have assembly. All the kids in every class have to stand in a row and each class must walk into the hall and sit down so the headmaster and teachers can talk to us all.”
“Yes, you told me that before, so what is so different this morning?” Sascia’s eyes were troubled, as if she needed to tell her something upsetting. Something must have happened that had totally upset Jeroen, but what?
“Last Monday Jeroen was told to come up to the podium.” She still could not imagine what was so awful. Yes Jeroen was a very shy child who would have hated being in the limelight, but...
“Why was he asked to come up the stage in front of everybody?”
“His teacher used him as an example for all the boys showing that his hair was too long. It was reaching his uniform collar. Sascia whispered knowing very well how upset her mother would be.
“What! You’re not serious!” Suddenly she saw her little boy all alone on a stage where everybody could see him being humiliated. No wonder he didn’t wanted to go to school. She was livid. Now she understood why Jeroen had asked her for a hair cut a few days ago! She needed to calm down for Sascia’s sake.
“Moppie you go to school and mommy will bring Jeroen later, after I have been to the principal’s office when the assembly is over.”
Jan was still sleeping but she now had to wake him so he could write a note for Jeroen to give to his teacher giving the reason for him arriving late to class. Writing an English note was not an option for her since she was dyslexic.
Going against all odds
Jan was so angry that all he wanted to do was throw a tin of paint over both the principle and the teacher’s cars. She had to quieten him down and convince him to write the note, making sure Jeroen didn’t hear him from his bedroom. She was determined to tackle the two obnoxious people who were responsible for her young boy hating school.
Jeroen took her word for it after she gave him the note for his teacher, now that he knew that his mother would be going to see the headmaster after he had joined his class.
“Mommy I don’t want anybody to know in class.” His soft frightened voice made her heart melt, but inwardly more angry all at the same time.
“Schatty don’t worry mommy will make sure nobody knows that I am at school.” She had no idea how she was going to tackle it all, but she was determined that they would not get away with it.
Her episode with the headmaster was an experience she would never want to repeat. After her verbal assault,(she was not lacking the words), he summoned Jeroen’s teacher to the office via the intercom. She knew she had made it very clear that their behaviour towards a six year old child had not only shown great stupidity and total lack of the child psychology expected of any person who held an educational post, not to mention a lack of compassion, but to traumatise her child in any way that made her little boy hate school was unforgivable and they would regret it if they ever in any way picked him out in front of others for whatever reason.
Both the principal and the class teacher believed that she was quite capable of getting the assembly drama published in the press and being reported to the educational school board. When she walked out of the office she felt drained, but knew that she had pulled it off.
Jan was waiting for her to get home before he left for the office. He was still angry and wanted to go to the headmaster himself but knowing that any major scene would only hurt the children, but he had calmed down in the meantime.
“You know what would be a good ending for the kids to this whole drama?”
“No tell me.”
“On your return from the office, buy a TV and have it ready in the lounge before they arrive home.” Jan was silent for a moment, looking surprised, but then he nodded and gave her a squeeze. That was as close he came to hugging her, but it felt good. For once she felt united in their relationship. Maybe it was not as bad after all.
Both Sascia and Jeroen walked home together and the moment they walked in it was Sascia who was the first to see the TV in the corner. It was a joy to see the happiness beaming on both of their faces.
Sascia jumped up and down asking; “Mommy when did you buy a TV?
“Daddy did. He came home with it. Better run outside and give him a big hug.”