Sunday, 31 January 2010

I Hate Changes

There used to be a Post Office on the corner of our street. The friendly Post Master knew us all, especially the local writers who handed over unsealed envelopes for weighing and then asked for two lots of stamps, one for the envelope and the other for the sae inside. He never held the envelopes upside down or tipped out their contents by mistake. He was a Post Master who cared. He cared about the pensioners, the local businesses, all of us. The authorities ignored our objections and our petitions and they closed it anyway. I hate changes.

The other day I was standing in the long queue at what is now my nearest Post Office. I was holding my manuscript together with covering letter, synopsis and sae, all carefully prepared, checked and placed in a large white envelope ready for weighing, stamping, posting and travelling off to Scary Editor. The queue was barely moving. An occasional shuffle was a highlight. Someone started chatting.

‘Did you know that exactly 100 years ago they built the first ever cinema in Leicester,’ said Chatty Lady. I didn’t know, but it made me remember that, when I was young, there used to be a cinema on the corner of our street. The Evington it was called. It had a grand facade outside and grubby, velvet seats inside but it was our ‘local’, a cheap, enjoyable night out with no parking problems or crowds to push through. It’s a care home now. I hate changes.

‘And what’s more,’ continued Chatty Lady. ‘In 1913 they built the De Montfort Hall.’ Now we were talking real nostalgia. All the live concert tours visited Leicester’s De Montfort Hall in the 1960s. I was a regular. I’ve sat within touching distance of Mick Jagger, Billy J. Kramer, Gene Pitney, Gerry and the Pacemakers, even the Beatles.

I queued all night to get a ticket to see the Beatles. Mum thought I was staying with a friend. Her Mum thought she was staying with me. We sang Beatles songs and chanted their names into the darkness – oh for the energy of youth. At dawn a huge plate glass window smashed under our combined weight but we stuck it out and got our prized tickets. I was on the front row of the balcony for that concert. I screamed. I cried. I almost passed out in the interval. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to.

Chatty Lady confided that she still goes to the ‘De Mont’ to see many of those same artists and I confessed that I do too. Their tours now bear names like The Silver Sixties. The music has come down in pitch and to be honest the stars aren’t quite so... well... sexy as they once were. But then I can’t get up and dance like I used to and waving my arms in the air hurts. I hate changes.

We were shuffling closer now and chatting gave way to anticipation. ‘Cashier number three please,’ said the automated voice and I waved goodbye to Chatty Lady. Cashier number three did not make eye contact. She took my precious envelope.

‘Please don’t hold it that way up... No, it’s not sealed because...’ Too late!

I do miss the Post Office on the corner of our street and I really hate changes, especially ones that have been imposed upon us from on high with a blatant disregard for local needs.


  1. Ah Ros - the memories this brings back.
    I sent yout link around the world to my sisters and we've been reminiscing about sold out Bobby Vee concerts / the Beatles one we didn't get tickets for - our school speech day which was held at the De Mont ....... but it's easier for me to accept the change as I'm no longer there.

  2. Thanks for this post. For me it was a peak into your world-that matches mine. Sometimes you get good postmasters. Sometimes they dump your submission out on the counter. Cheers!

  3. Yes, Ann, as I recall I didn't manage to get a ticket to see Bobby Vee either.

    Thanks for the visit, Nancy. It's reassuring to know that other people have had similar post office counter experiences.

  4. I don't mind change, as such, but I feel your pain with the closure of the local post office. We have a sub-post office here in the village and have campaigned to keep it open - so far, so good. The postmaster knows all of us and is excellent handling submissions. I would hate to lose him and the above-and-beyond service he provides to the local community.

  5. Nice article. The under-text wasn't so much I hate change, rather I hate getting old. I especially saw this in the line
    "We were shuffling closer now and chatting gave way to anticipation." A fantastic line!

    Change is good. Who wants to still be stuck in years gone by with minors strikes and power cuts and no internet! How did you contact people back then before email? And how many letters do you send via snail mail now? Hmm, I wonder why the local post offices have been closed (I love playing devil's advocate).

  6. Thanks for the memory - I went to the Evington cinema to see Elvis in Jailhouse Rock in 1957, I was 13. I remember waiting outside asking everyone “would you take me in please", the film had an A certificate. Our local post office is closing soon. I hadn’t thought about it much till I read your posting. Now I realise what I’m going to miss, consistency, continuity and my name being called out instead of a number. I am not a number!

    Fascinating, thought provoking Blog.

    Rifka M.

  7. Hi Kath, I keep my fingers crossed for your Post Office.
    Thanks KFC, but getting old, indeed! Mind you they say the truth hurts... ouch!
    Welcome, Rifka. Can't believe you stood outside the cinema like that! The scary things we did in those days. How lovely to have your name called out at the Post Office rather than a number. How sad that it's closing but I suppose KFC has a point. We 'send letters' via email so much these days.

  8. I don't mind change - as long as I know about it in advance :) Some things though, should always be the way they are!

  9. I hate it when supermarkets change everything around so that you don't know where to find things in a hurry. I know they do it to entice you to buy more things, but it has the opposite effect on me. Agree with your comments about the post office and I think we all want to be treated as person not a number. As you say it is a blatant disregard for local needs. Mind you a change of weather to warm sunshine would be nice. Love Karan X

  10. Sometimes I wish we could push a pause button and stop time from fleeting by us so fast. How neat you got to see the Beatles. Did you ever see Herman's Hermits, they were my favorite group. I was absolutely in love with Herman when I was a kid. I did get to see them when they came to Charleston, WV in the 60s.