The milk had to be stored in the fridges. I opened the top and placed the bottles in the cavity. The old milk had been moved to the front the night before. Those would be sold first. Or used for milk shakes. That done a quick wipe around and the first customer. Just as the bread delivery arrived. The list of what was required handed to the delivery person.
Loaves of fresh bread came into the shop and a space was made for it in the room behind the shop. Only a few loaves were displayed. People had to ask for what they wanted. Usually a half loaf of high tin because bread was brought most days by people. The customer was served; in those days usually cigarettes or milk. Early morning fodder for the customer.
The trams were now rolling past filled with people going to work; along St Kilda Road or further on into the City. The traffic had increased and I had to sweep the front footpath. Most important to show a clean front door. And I swept and passed the time of day with people walking past. “Gday”. “Good Day!” All those traditional greetings, including “good job”. As the person skipped past me with my every moving broom.
Next door; the factory which made ladies shirts opened its doors for the women and girls who worked there. The factory worked on ‘piece work’ rates. The person who works fastest gets the most money. And the industrial sewing machines began to roar. The wireless went on for the girls to listen to music. The girls happy to have work and occupation and knowing that Fast is Best for Money in the Bank.
My Mum came out front to take over. I went inside to shower and get ready for work. I worked as a Stenographer at a building firm which had its Offices in St Kilda Road. I enjoyed my walk to work. Past the Alfred Hospital, across Fawkner Park and into the back entrance of my workplace. The building firm I worked for was building the Sydney Opera House and so the work was fascinating as the edifice of beauty far away in Sydney took shape. Ordering materials and negotiating with subcontractors. Making sure the Architect was happy and all the other things that led to our marvellous Opera House.
After work I went home to the shop and helped with the evening rush. Always busy with people going home from work. They hopped off the trams and came in the doors happy that their days work was done. Sometimes they stood three deep waiting to be served. Mum happy and me enjoying greeting people. I was known as “Mrs Duggin’s girl”. Hundreds of people came through the shop doors. Mostly I forgot them all. But strangely enough they seemed to remember me. Years later I would be at a dog show or a Writers Workshop and someone would smile and say “You’re Mrs Duggin’s girl”. And we would all smile in greeting.
27 August 2018