Generations in White








The Grandmother


Oh god – it must have been back in the mid to late sixties when that happened.  I had been invited to a wedding in Chelsea, with your grandfather, and we had just come back from the reception to the hotel to change for the evening event.



Now bear in mind when this was when I describe the outfit I was wearing.  It was an ice blue mini coat dress with short sleeves, and a collar with silver edging, as well as a pair of long white gloves and silver white tight boots that came up to my knee.  I also had a blue hat on, rather like a Cossack hat.


Well, I was in my early thirties at the time, and I still wanted to look good – but that’s a digression.  Anyway, we got back to the hotel room, and walked in – to find a man, dressed in black, going through our belongings.


Your grandfather was going to make a move to stop him, when he turned round and we both saw the pistol he had in his hand.  That made us both stop, as I gripped your grandfather’s arm and he asked the intruder what he was doing in our room.


Well, his answer was polite and simple – he wanted our money and jewellery, and he wanted time to get away.  And to this end, he reached into his pocket and tossed a ball of twine at your grandfather, telling him he had to tie my hands and feet.


Well, naturally he refused at first – but when the man said in that case he’d do it, and he could not guarantee I would like what he did, I told him just to do as the man said.  The intruder told me to lie face down on the bed, and cross my wrists behind my back, and then he told your grandfather to tie a little loop at the end of the string, and use it to pull my wrists together.


I am not going to tell you I enjoyed the idea of this happening – because believe me, at the time I did not.  The twine was thin, and I was so glad I was wearing gloves, because he made your grandfather wind it tightly round several times, and then twice between my arms, before he then made him pull it down and do the same thing to my ankles.


I could feel the twine pulling my ankles together, and like my wrists I was so glad they were covered.  It was a very strange feeling – when the intruder made him cut the twine off, and then knot it, I could barely move my ankles, and the leather of my boots squeaked when I did so.


Looking over to my side, I saw him as the intruder made him lie face down next to me, and then started to tie him up as he had made your grandfather tie me up.  We talked to each other, reassured each other we would be all right, even as he removed our watches and my rings and earrings.


Then he told me to lift my head up, and I felt the sticking plaster pull on my mouth and chin as he pressed it firmly over my lips.  He did the same to your grandfather, before he picked up a bag with our things in it, and left the room.


We both lay there for a few minutes, before your grandfather started trying to pull the twine and break it.  Well, I knew he had no chance of doing that, but I also knew with my gloves on I had no chance of using any scissors.


So I shifted to the side of the bed, and managed to get the room telephone to fall onto the bed beside me.  It took some doing, but eventually I got the handset off and pressed the button that connected me to the reception.  It took a lot of muffled calls to get them to realise something was wrong, and to send someone up.


We missed the evening event, but at least we got through the robbery, and we were relatively unhurt.  Still, it was a frightening situation – though not in the same league as what happened to your mother...


The Mother


When your grandparents told me about what happened at the wedding a few years later, I was just glad they had survived what had happened.  I didn’t know that a few weeks later, I’d face a similar situation...


I was at Bristol University from ’72 to ’75, and this happened in the start of my second year.  I was living with a couple of friends in a student flat, and had nipped out to pick a couple of things at the local Spar.  Hot Pants and Boots were the fashion of the time, and I was wearing a pair of knee length white lace-up boots with denim shorts, and a white top with elbow length sleeves.


So I went into the shop, nodding to the older woman behind the counter as I picked up the basket and went to where the bread was.  I heard the bell as the shop door opened and closed, but kept on shopping until I went to the counter – and saw the red haired young man who was pointing a sawn-off shotgun at the woman behind the counter.


Then he turned and saw me, and told me to put my hands up.  Well, I didn’t have a choice did I?  I put the basket down and put my hands in the air, while he looked round, clearly not sure what he should do next.


That’s when he grabbed some pairs of tights from a rack, and forced us both to go into the store room at the back of the shop.  The shop assistant was shaking as we walked in, wearing a blue wrap round coverall over a brown jumper and pants.


Once in the back, he made us both kneel down and put our hands on our heads, the two of us looking at each other as we heard him opening the packets of tights.  He then pulled my hands behind my back, and I felt him using one of the pairs to tie my wrists together.


I was too scared to do anything other than let him do that, the nylon biting into my skin before he tied the ends together, and then used a second pair to secure my ankles.


Tights are funny things – they make your legs look so good, but because they stretch, I could only feel a tiny, tight knot with my fingers while the boy tied up the shop assistant as well.


I can also tell you they do not taste nice – because he stuffed the gusset of a third pair into my mouth and then tied the legs tightly round my head, making me gag a little.  The poor older woman next to me got the same treatment, before he picked up the bag he had put the money in and ran out of the door.


He must have locked it behind himself, because nobody else came in and out, as we struggled to try and get free.  It wasn’t until a policeman broke the door down, after other shopkeepers had raised the alarm, that we were discovered.  I had bruises on my wrists for weeks from the tight nylon...


Your grandparents helped me get over what happened – but it wasn’t the last time they had to do that.  All three of us had to do the same with your older sister...




The Older Sister


Oh, the party?  Yeah – I never told you the full story behind that, did I?


It was a retro night, and I was wearing a black sheer minidress – it was sleeveless, but I had a black leotard on underneath, and a metal necklace that had threads hanging down, starting white and becoming a dark purple, which moved round as I did.  A pair of short white gloves was on my hands, and I had a long black and white scarf folded in to a band and tied round my head.


I also had on a pair of knee length white leather boots, which I felt just completed the outfit.   Well, that and the white framed sunglasses.  So off I went to the party, and I have to say until – it happened, I was having a really good time.


But of course, there was the incident.  I had gone to relieve myself, and was walking back to the main room when someone grabbed me from behind, and pressed a leather gloved hand firmly over my mouth.


I was pulled backwards and along the corridor, trying to call for help, but the hand was pressed too tightly over my mouth, as I was pulled out into the back of the building and round the corner to where a van was parked.


“Get out here and give me a hand – she’s a tough one,” whoever was holding me called out, and I heard footsteps before someone picked me up by the ankles and held my legs while a third person used some rope to secure them together at the ankles.


I was screaming for dear life now, as the second man then grabbed my wrists and tied them together in front of me, before I was carried into the van.  That was when a sweet smelling damp cloth was pressed firmly down over my nose and mouth, and I slowly drifted off to sleep...


When I finally came to, my mouth felt as if it had been in a desert, and my arms and legs were stiff – and what was worse, I could  not move them.  Once I had my senses around me, I realised my hands were above my head, and tied to the top of the bed I was lying on, while my ankles were tied to the foot of the bed.  My legs had also been tied together, below my knees and around my thighs, and as I tried to call out I realised a cloth had been tied into my mouth, keeping my tongue down and stopping me from doing more than mumble for help.


As I looked up, I saw my three captors, who were taking photos of me.


“There – I think Daddy’s going to pay handsomely to get his little princess back,” one of the said as he reached down and took my glasses off, then stared at me.


“I thought you said the kid had blue eyes?”


“She does – why?”


“This one has brown eyes.”


All three of them stared at me now, while one of them reached up to stroke his hand over my brow – and then knocked my blonde wig off, revealing my short black hair.


“Christ above – you stupid bloody moron, you snatched the wrong girl!”


That’s when it hit me – someone else at the party had a similar outfit to me, and it was her who should have been kidnapped instead of me!


I would have laughed if I wasn’t terrified, as the would-be abductors started arguing amongst themselves who was at fault, before they realised the other problem – me.


“So what are we going to do with her?”


Now I really was terrified – which was why I was so glad when the door was kicked in, and the police arrived.  The stupid berks had been followed...


So yes, I was kidnapped, and yes I was afraid for my life – but I came out of it in the end, as did Mum and Gran – and so can you.  So come on – what happened?



The Girl


I’d been asked to wear this outfit for a promotion – a green tweed dress with a white collar that came down to my knees, and a matching coat over my shoulders with a large collar.  I also had to wear – yes, you guessed it – knee length white boots with black trim, and a grey Cossack hat. 


The idea was to promote trips to Russia – and it seemed to be getting the pundits into the travel agency at any rate.  I spent most of the day doing this, until it was starting to get dark and I went back into the store to get changed.


Which was when I saw the agency staff on the floor, trussed up and gagged with two armed and masked men watching over them.  One of them pointed his gun at me, and ordered me to come over, while the second put his gun down and produced several lengths of rope from a bag.


He started by taking the coat off me, and then wrapping the rope around my upper arms, pulling them tightly into my sides as it went above and below my chest.  I gasped – and that was the opportunity for the other man to shove a rag into my mouth, and then cover my lips with the same white tape that was over the mouths of the other three women.


I felt my arms as they were folded behind my back, and my wrists tied to my elbows, before I was made to sit down and my ankles were crossed.  It had no choice but to watch as they tied them together, and then secured my legs above and below my knees.


Turned out they were breaking into the pawn shop next door, and had taken over the travel agency to let them get in.  All I knew was me and the other three women were unable to move and talk.


We were left like that for the whole night, and we actually fell asleep – until the police turned up to free us.


So there you are – all of us have been through something like this before.  Why did you ask?


Mister Tall smiled as he said “then you were be able to encourage each other, reassure each other this is not as bad as it appears.  Mister Small – the tape and scarves, if you please?”


The four women nodded as they wriggled round, the rope squeaking as it rubbed on their boots, before one by one they were gagged...







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