Frank came home early one night in late September.
“You’re home early, Frank.” Margaret was ironing. She barely looked up as Frank entered.
Frank’s head sagged as he hung his jacket and cap on the coat rack. “I’ve lost my job, Margaret. About two hundred of us. Cars aren’t selling.”
Margaret set the iron on the trivet. “You will find another job, Frank. Won’t you?”
“More and more men are off work, Margaret. Not as easy as it used to be. I’ll start looking first thing in the morning. But we can do this. We had it worse back in the old country. We know how to do with very little. Do I have time to check on Rob and Jimmy?”
“Be back in two hours.” Margaret picked up the iron and heated it on the stove before starting again.
Frank walked over to Rob’s house and found him and Jimmy on the front porch.
“You’re both home early, too,” said Frank as he climbed the stairs. “A bad sign?”
Jimmy was the first to speak. “They’ve cut mah hoors in half. Ah’ll only get twenty hoors a week.” He snuffed out his cigarette with the sole of his foot in disgust.
“And you, Rob?” Frank lit a cigarette himself.
“They’ve sent everybody home early t’day. Told us tae be in th’ office t’morrah at eight o’clock fer a big meeting. Yer hame early yersel’, Frank.”
Frank took a long drag on his cigarette. “Won’t be buying these much anymore,” he said as he stomped it out on the porch. “Got laid off today. Me and two hundred others. Cars aren’t selling, and I didn’t have enough time in.”
“Wha’ will ye do, then, Frank?” Rob showed genuine concern. “Jobs are scarce nowadays.”
“Anyone heard from Jock?”
“Nae, no a word,” replied Rob.
“I am going over to Windsor tomorrow. Look up Dan Wells. Maybe he can take me on as a driver again. I still have my truck. Or maybe he knows someone. I’m still strong, aye? Stronger than most. Maybe it’s better in Windsor. What will you two do?”
“We’re talkin’ aboot movin’ oor families in t’gether. These hooses are big enough, an’ we can split the rent. Still better off than in th’ auld country, aye?”
“Aye, for sure that. Glad that the two of you still have half a job each, at least. Wonder about Lill. And Mum.”
“We’d have heard, ah think. Must still be fine.” Rob stood. “I best speak tae Jess aboot sharing th’ hoose. Think here, Jimmy?”
“Aye – yur hoose is better, Rob.”
“Still better than th’ auld country,” said Rob as he opened the front door and went in.
Frank turned to Jimmy. “Have you told Nessie?”
“Aye, had to, comin’ home early lik’ ah did. Didn’a tell her aw th’ bad news, though. She doesn’a know aboot all th’ men losin’ their jobs nowadays. She jus’ thinks it’s a slowdown.”
“Margaret doesn’t understand, either. Too busy tending to the bairn and the house. Not even interested, I think. Hopefully, Dan can set me up. I can take the bridge back and forth now that it opened. Easier than the ferry, and I don’t have to worry about ferry schedules. I’ll find something – we’ll scrape by.”
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