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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Langcaster House - The Staff Chapter 2

The Large Estate needed a Large Staff of Workers
Chapter 2 - The staff

There are two other butlers other than myself. There are five, sometime six maids - if company comes, the extra maid is called in.

We have three regular cooks and a couple more on call for large parties. Finally there is one chauffeur and two scullery maids. The outside help consists of three gardeners and one maintenance man. We have a pool service that cares for the large pool.

Butler #1 - Me

Starting with me, you know a lot about me already.  I have a couple regular girlfriends or at least I did have until I got committed to Linda so now she is it.

I must admit I wish she would hurry and grow up mentally and emotionally, for I need a full grown up woman.

She said it would be alright if I went out with one of my old girlfriends but I know she didn’t mean a word of that.  She would go ballistic if she thought I did.

Linda teases me to the point where I could wring her neck saying things like; “I’m here anytime you want me.”

She knows I have promised Charlie to keep “hands off “until she was grown and then only if and when I decided to marry her.

It’s a good thing that I’m so busy with school and working. When I’m with her I’m so tired all I think about is getting some rest. Time is moving on and she will graduate from high school, and I will get my degree about the same time. I know there is no use in me talking to her about her continuing on to college. I’ll have to deal with that when the time comes.

That brings us to butler #2 - James

James is designated as butler #2 which is a step lower than me.

He was already employed when I was hired and he expected to be the #1 guy when the number when the #1 retired but it didn’t work out that way. As it turned out he had an attitude issue. He has a tendency to talk down to everyone he speaks to.

That didn’t sit well with Charlie. James was working here when Charlie bought the estate and he expected to move up to #1 during the transition to the new owner for the old #1 retired. When he was passed over he pitched a fit and threatened to quit.

Charlie took him aside and laid down the law to him. When he came out of the meeting he was meek as a lamb. Charlie told him among other things that he was hanging by a thread and if that snooty talk didn’t stop he was gone. He was told to take a day off and think about what he had just heard.

When he came back the next day he was a different person.  He was an efficient butler who knew his stuff and was a great help to me. Charlie said he was going to keep him on since he got his head on straight and knew his place. He lived in the servant’s quarters but coveted my apartment over the garage.

My apartment had privacy and plenty of room for a single fellow and could easily accommodate a married couple.

It was rumored that James had a girlfriend he visited on both his day off and his half day. I wasn’t interested so I didn’t pursue it.

Then there was butler #3 - Lester

He wasn’t really a butler but filled in when he wasn’t acting as the extra chauffeur. Most of the family drive themselves to where they are going but on formal occasions Lester does the driving and waiting for whomever it was he was hauling.

I had to warn him a couple of times about questioning the intelligence of a family member. I said his thoughts were his own so keep them to himself or else. I think he got the message and I haven’t had to deal with that problem again. I believe the threat of being dismissed had something to do with it.

To me it was like biting the hand that fed him. There was one other issue and that was he and his wife were separated and their one child lived with her mother. It took most all of Lester’s salary to make ends meet so he couldn’t afford to lose his job.

On his time off he drove for a limo service if they needed an extra driver which was where he got his fun money. Rumor was he had a girl on the side he seldom could see because he was so busy working.  

Maid # 1 Mimi

Mimi was the number one maid and she served Papa and Mama Wynn. She claimed to be French but her inability to speak the French language fluently gave her away. I thought she did rather well being from Brooklyn.

She did have the body of a young French maid which Papa Wynn enjoyed looking at.

Mama Wynn gave him strict orders to only look and not touch.  Since he was afraid of Mama he obeyed her orders to a tee.

Male friends of the Wynn’s always gave Papa a jealous look after seeing her flit about the room serving the guests especially when she bent over a little. Several tried to hire her away from the Wynn’s but she wouldn’t leave.

Mama Wynn liked Mimi very well and they laughed a lot as they shared stories. Papa was always left out of their fun time and it made him feel as if they were plotting some kind of joke to pull on him.

All in all they both loved having Mimi on staff especially after a big night when they both felt awful. She would brighten up the morning with her cheerfulness and happy giggles. Charlie enjoyed having her around and she would be the last one to go if there was to be a shakeup in the staff (except for me, maybe and oh yes, Jeanie).

Maid # 2 - Jeanie

Jeanie was the maid for Lady Barbra (and of Charlie). She was the oldest and most organized of them all. She was a single lady who had a limited social life although she dated occasionally.

When she went out on a date, Barbra wanted to know every detail about the evening. She especially wanted to know if her date got fresh with her and he if did how she responded to his advances.

For Barbra it was almost like being on the date herself. She liked to tell Jeanie that she should have done this or not done that. It was one of the most fun times for her.  Lady Barbra had in a short time came to be heavily dependent on Jeanie to keep her life in order, for she knew all about fashion and matching the right accessories with the right gown for the right occasion.

It had come to the point where Barbra would give Jeanie her schedule and leave it to her to pick out the right clothes for the event. Every so often Jeanie would say; its time to go shopping for you don’t have the right attire for a certain event. Of course Jeanie would go with her and help her pick out the right outfits.

Even though Lady Barbra felt there was a difference in social stature she felt like they were like sisters in private. She insisted Jeanie go with them on all their trips and take in everything that wasn’t a formal affair. Barbra has said her most enjoyable times were when she and Jeanie went out just the two of them.

I believe it was because Barbra didn’t really have a friend, only acquaintances.

Maid # 3 - Renee

Renee was maid number three. She was actually French. She had been in several temporary arraignments sometimes called a relationship but had enough of that scene.

She was looking for employment as a ladies maid when Lenore found her on a trip to France and brought her back to America.  While they had the usual English-French differences in opinions they got along famously.

Lenore like Barbra had no real friends so that fact made it easier for her and Renee to be pals. When they went shopping they both got new dresses and new whatever else. This was the only thing in Lenore’s life that wasn’t totally restrained.

Lenore was almost rude in all her dealing in business and was curt when interacting with the family. Her relationship with Renee was her only departure from her demeanor. She would like to have double dated with Renee but that was a step she wasn’t quite ready to take just yet but had considered it.

Maid # 4 - Tina

Tina, maid number four serviced George and Doris. Tina was best described as being from the wrong side of the tracks that made good if you call being a maid making it.

She got a job working for a hotel and they taught her how to restore order to an accommodation. Since they were sloppy and strew clothes and things all around her job was usually to do a complete cleaning of the rooms (somewhat like hotel rooms after a party) each day she worked.

Mondays were totally brutal for the weekend went without pickups and food scraps were ready to begin to mold. Tina brought in a garbage can on wheels and started throwing their garbage in it. After removing the debris she then picked their clothes and hung them up or took them to the laundry. They didn’t care if their sheets were changed or not so Tina just changed them a couple times a week.

Then it was trying to clean the spots out of the carpets… Mondays were the worst. In the mornings she had to busy herself doing something else because Doris usually slept in till noon. George got up around eight and went to his car shop and started tinkering with his cars.

Charlie realized the difficulty Tina had keeping their rooms in order so he told Doris if she wanted anything she should go get it herself for Tina had her hands full.

When she started to object she found out you don’t mess with Charlie for he told her in plain terms if she ever asked Tina to do anything other than to clean up their mess he would throw both of them out in the street.

Later he found Tina and told her if Doris or George ever asked her to serve them anything to tell him and he would take it to them. That was good news to her for they constantly interrupted her cleaning wanting something from the kitchen or the bar.

The two scullery maids - Ellen and Mary

Being from England the Wynn’s called two young ladies who did the dirty work in the kitchen and around the house “Scullery Maids.”  It would been just as well to refer to them as cleaning ladies but the Wynn’s were old school.

Both of the girls were taking night classes trying to improve themselves but had to finish their chores before they left for school.  On party nights the cooks wanted them to stay late to clean up but Charlie wouldn’t stand for it. He wanted them to get their education and the cleanup could be done in the morning.

The cooks decided not to object for they had heard his “Like it or lump it” speech before.  

The two girls shared a room walking distance from the estate and were getting by with a little left over. They ate at the estate but rent and school costs left little for fun.
The grounds keepers

The three grounds keepers consisted of two older men and the nephew of one of them. One of the sisters (Lonnie) became too friendly with the younger grounds keeper and Charlie sent him packing when he found out about it.

He then sat down with Lonnie and said she had to grow up and realize what the difference in social stature is all about. He said one of the first things she needed to learn was what it meant to be poor and how the lack of an education played into the mix.

Charley said people who were raised into those underprivileged surroundings can cope very well with it but someone who had been catered to all their life can’t make it there. He explained she was almost broke from foolish spending and she could never handle living from paycheck to paycheck.

He said we are going down to where her friend lived and see how they existed. After seeing the places where the hard working poor had to live Lonnie became ill.

When they arrived home Charley said playing house with guys who live in poverty can lead to a difficult existence so think well before you go further into this game you are playing. If you persist in this folly pack your things, leave and don’t plan on coming back.

She had a small temper flare up and stomped out of the room but shortly she came back and apologized. She said, “I don’t know what I was thinking. As far as I can tell it was just a little excitement that I was craving.”

Charlie said, “Let that be the last of it but if you pursue that line of conduct again then you are out of here for I won’t put up with any more foolishness out of you.”

They replaced the young man with an older grounds keeper and that solved that issue. Though Charlie never mention that he got the young man another position somewhere else for he knew he wasn’t entirely to blame.  
The maintenance man - Joe

The maintenance man is a married man who keeps the place up and running. What he can’t handle alone he hires some help to do it.  At times Joe is almost invisible. He just goes about his work unobtrusively and has set up a punch list where anyone who has a problem writes it down and he takes care of it.
To Be Continued

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