Armistice Day – through the eyes of an 8 year old choirboy
Morton Road Mission Hall - Rummage sale and new coats.
Mam wanted to get me and Ronnie a better coat for the winter months that lay ahead and appealing to the old man was a waste of time!
They needed to be warm coats because with our diet we’d feel the cold something chronic! Some of the children in our area (although not all) were at an equal state of poverty to us, although I have to say from outward appearances you would never have guessed it! Sadly, so many children in those times were in such a sorry state because the father would booze his parish money or pittance of a war pension away. The whole state of these children would deteriorate; they would be lousy, dirty, snotty nosed, ragged arsed etc., etc. Now it was October and the first winter frosts were with us. What we had, although clean and neat, were threadbare, and so by practicing even stricter economies Mam managed to get a few coppers together. Then we did something we had never done before, and which afterwards we’d never do again. We went to a rummage sale. Oh, the shame of it all!
My over active imagination was already working overtime, and I grasped Ronnie’s hand tightly as I tried to block out, without success, what lay in there. Our Mavis and her ghost stories again! My state of blind terror lay just below the surface and at just eight years of age I could not reason that Mabel, who would never ever hurt me in life, most certainly would not hurt me in death.
Death was the bury hole, and ghosts and haunted houses; death was now Mabel and so all of those things. I was in an impossible irrational situation that my disturbed childhood had put me into; a situation no child could be expected to cope with. I was without, and had been without for as long as I could remember, the one prop that every child needs and has a right to; a father. This was a fight I couldn’t win.