Turn down an empty glass



Turn down an empty glass


Essay by Rosemary Lapham with memories of her father and the day she learns he will not come back. Writes of his brilliance and hard work as an aircraft designer. States he invited her to come to the airfield but she declines as she has to help her mother. Mother tries to phone husband to pass news and then gives and agonised scream.


Temporal Coverage




Three page handwritten document


IBCC Digital Archive


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[inserted] All require change! [symbol] [/inserted]
[underlined] [deleted] The [indecipherable word] Glass [/deleted] [/underlined] [inserted] “Turn Down an EMPTY GLASS.” [/inserted]
The humid [/inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] warmth of an August morning filled the room, while Ros stirred in her sleep. With returning [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] consciousness she was reminded of the day in question Thirty years exactly since she was plummeted [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] from adolescence into adulthood. Fully awake, she recalled in detail, [deleted] the [indecipherable word] of [/deleted] that far off August day and was surprised by the [inserted] painful [/inserted] sharpness of its memory. Deliberately, almost for its carthartic [sic] [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] effect, she went over the events step by step.
She had woken, without premonition, to yet another burning summer day, put on her favourite dress with its flowing paisley design and run quickly downstairs. She went into the dining room and saw that her Father was already standing with his back to the fireplace. He smiled across at her and she responded eagerly. He was a tall, well built man with attractive features that were now filling out with middle-age. He had an engaging [deleted] side [/deleted] manner & a [underlined] humouress [sic] [/underlined] [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] smile. A man of genius, who devoted every waking moment to the flying machine and its design. The passion stretched back more than forty-five years to his Edwardian Childhood, when he had first started to construct
[page break]
small model aeroplanes. Fearing the neighbours comments, he had tested their aerodynamic success by the light of the [circled 19] Gas lamps [deleted] ([indecipherable word] penetrat[deleted]ing[/deleted] [inserted]ed [/inserted] the evening darkness). [/deleted]
Throughout the brief interveening [sic] years he had worked feverishly, his brain always teeming with the next design, the pencil never still between his fingers. Now, [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] he stood at the watershed of his career. He was about to stake his whole reputation on the concept of a triangular shape, the future for supersonic flight.
Happy [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] to enjoy the company of his young daughter, he asked simply, “Would you like to come to the Aerodrome with me, today?” But as quickly as the girl’s heart bounded [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] with pleasure at being her father’s companion, it sank again with responsibility. She replied as simply as he that she had to help her Mother.
“Ah yes”, he responded, “You must help your Mother.” But moving quickly on, so as not [inserted] [symbol] [/inserted] to overly disappoint her, he asked what she would like for her seventeenth birthday, the following Saturday. Without any deliberation [deleted] she [/deleted] her request was for a watch, but one with small sparkly diamonds around it.
[page break]
He replied solemnly, without hint of amusement at her naivety, that she could certainly have the watch, but he wasn’t sure that they could run to the diamonds!
Around noon, she & her Mother sat down to a Kitchen lunch. During the meal the girl told her mother that she had seen a pretty stainless steel watch in town. A few moments later her mother left the table to telephone her husband. She went out closing the door behind her. She would ask him to call at the Jewellers on his way home.
Ros remained at the table. A few seconds later, Fate announced itself, piercing the Silence [deleted] with [/deleted] [inserted] by [/inserted] her mother’s agonized scream.



R Lapham, “Turn down an empty glass,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed August 15, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/10333.

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