Pristine whites

Out of the loft popped a dusty box labelled “Tropical Whites”.  It has been there for 36 years on the remote off-chance that, when I was still in the Navy, I might have been sent back to an overseas appointment.

Buried in the box were a pair of brand new, classically ugly white canvas lace-up flat shoes – completely understandable why they’d never been worn.  Nestling below, some still in their original packaging, a selection of white uniform skirts, shirts and dresses.  They’d all been in the box even longer: issued to me in 1978 as I deployed for my first job in Naples as a newly-fledged WRNS Officer.

How I loathed that uniform which is clearly why it was never used.  Instead, we all tended to wear the dresses that, once one had a bit of a tan, were nearly see-through as the outline of white underwear was clear against brown skin.  No wonder we got attention from male colleagues.

The package is now consigned for the recycling centre – another bit of history.  But I’ve still got a huge bag of blue uniform in another loft and a boat cloak that still rotates, unworn, between wardrobes.  Some memories are more difficult to extinguish.

© 2023 - Penny Melville-Brown
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