Her real name was Rosetta Mayworth the Third, but she liked it when people called her Rosie May. Her father had grown the nickname for her from his Name Tree planted at the end of someone else’s garden. Her mother had wanted her to be named Betty after her great grandfather – he was an odd man – but after the name Rosetta appeared before them on a thin strip of white card plucked gracefully out of a hat, they both agreed it was the only name they could call her.
The reason the name was entered into the Mayworth family hat in the first place was for the simple fact that it sounded like a good name for a blues song. And indeed it was. After Rosie May’s first birth, over 1,600 blues musicians recorded songs called Rosie May. In fact, several of these musicians claimed to have become blues singers purely so they could sing a song about a girl called Rosie May.
Only one boy was allowed to call her Rosetta. His name was Elderberry Henning, a German exchange student who wore bright green shorts and not a lot else. Rosie May had developed a crush on him from the moment she saw him standing naked in her bedroom. Henning was not only the most handsome boy in the world, he also had four arms. Although two of them were invisible, he assured the local press that they were definitely there.
Rosie May had met Elderberry Henning at the tender age of 8. She realised she could not understand a word he was saying at the age of 9. She hired a translator who followed them wherever they went and translated for Henning. Rosie May’s favourite translation was when he would stand in the bathroom and shout “Plop… plop… plop…”
Times were hard for Rosie May. She had 15 pence to her name and not a lot else to show off with. Her looks and intelligence paralleled that of a cheese sandwich and nobody would take her seriously. Nobody would take her at all. She longed to go on a day trip to Morecambe but her parents would not take her. They never went anywhere named after comedians and would not listen when Rosie May told them the comedian in question was named after the place. One year they cancelled a trip to Sydney for similar reasons. But now she had met Elderberry Henning and they could run away together. They could even get the bus together to save running however many miles they lived away from Morecambe. So one day she met with Henning and they planned their escape.
First they would sell all of their clothes – save for a few articles that they wearing – in order to raise money for the bus. Then they would pack a bag with bread, jam and butter to make jam sandwiches on the way. Rather than making them beforehand, they decided to take the ingredients to give them something to do on the bus. And due to sharp objects (like a knife) not being allowed on busses, they would have to smear the butter and jam on the bread with their hands. They thought this might be fun and pan out like a romantic scene from a montage in a soppy movie. Next they would both call in sick at school and/or work. Then, finally, they would get the bus at 8:42am and finally go to Morecambe.
When the day came, Rosie May’s mother, Edward Mayworth – told you they were an odd family – had baked some rather tasty cookies, so Rosie May decided not to go to Morecambe after all. Elderberry Henning did not know about the cookies and waited for several days at the bus station for Rosie May to arrive. She would arrive 2 days later and they would both go to Morecambe, where they had a big argument and fell out of a cable car into a forest. Henning was raised by Gorillas while Rosie May was brought up by Orangutans. They would meet 14 years later and fight to the death. Both died.
But the legend of Rosie May and Elderberry Henning still lives on. As does Rosie May’s mother, who still bakes rather tasty cookies. I’m eating one now. With a nice glass of milk. Mmm… cookies.
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