' Be with you in a tick, Mrs Evans' said Alice, pulling her trolley across the room. ' Full works today then? I've got some new eye shadow in, it will bring out the colour of your eyes perfectly. I saw it in Boots yesterday, automatically thought of you. Mind, the cost of make-up is going up. I bought myself some new mascara, three and six it was. I couldn't believe it! We'll get your hair done first, oh, and I also got some new nail varnish, goes nicely with your outfit.'
Alice had not been the best pupil at school, leaving at sixteen with no qualifications at all. This aside, she knew what she wanted to do, although her parents took some convincing, particularly her father. You would have been forgiven for thinking that she'd asked to fly to the moon, totally impossible!
'Why can't you be like your cousin Edith?' he'd said, ' She could put a word in for you at Woolworths, I'm sure.'
The thought of standing behind a counter at Woolworths filled her with dread. Listening to women trying to choose between boiled ham or luncheon meat for Sunday tea, or could they just have a quarter of corned beef instead?
'Beautician' Her father grimaced, 'What sort of job is that for a young girl? You have ideas above your station, young lady.' The pleading went on until a compromise was reached. If she did the first year of the course and stuck with it, she could do the second year and the exam. If she failed, he would take her up to Woolworths himself.
But she didn't fail, passing with flying colours, including a distinction. A fully qualified hair and beauty technician, the first in their family to go to college and achieve such good results, opening the door to a bright future. Her father wasn't moaning now! Quite the opposite, telling everyone what a talented daughter he had.
As she promised, the new eye shadow made Mrs Evans' eyes look bluer than ever, and the soft pink lipstick and natural blusher completed the picture. Just the nails to do, a shade of red to compliment the two piece suit she was wearing.
' Almost done, I'll just take this fringe back a little more, so everyone can see those sparkling eyes of yours'
She heard the door open, 'Just finishing here' she called, as she saw Mr Taylor standing in the doorway.
'Another wonderful job, Miss Cooper, you are a credit to the firm. I'll just wheel her through to the chapel of rest, her family are waiting to say goodbye'.
Alice loved her job.