Found myself wide awake recently (not unusual), too tired to do anything constructive and noticed Populaire was being aired on TV and just about to start. I usually find the 24 hour news is all there is left to watch at this time, ie the early hours of the morning! I was not sure I could concentrate enough to watch a film with sub-titles but decided to persevere and I am so glad I did. Not only were some of the costumes purchased by the film’s costume designer originally from my shop in Notting Hill Gate, which thrilled me, I had a wonderful trip down memory lane.
The main theme of the film was the leading lady’s employer (an insurance broker) was frustrated with his new secretary’s inefficiency and wanted her to type properly and proceeded to do all he could to make sure she did. I could relate to the methods he used to teach her as I had learned the same way. My teacher was a gentleman named George Summers, who had a stationery and office equipment business in Rochester for whom I worked as a receptionist and general dogsbody. I had just started typing and shorthand lessons at Fort Pitt Technical College, and George insisted I must keep the typewriter keys covered with plastic caps. Being a stroppy teenager who thought she knew everything, I was very annoyed at George’s insistence but persevered and within a few weeks I was able to type at great speed. I had no idea there were competitions at National level being held for speed typing, I may have taken a different path altogether if I had, who knows. Of course George paid me a pittance and I soon moved to a better job, but I have always had fond memories of my time with him.
Anyone who loves a good romance and vintage costume, this film is a must!