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Thread: Memories of when i was a kid

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    Default Memories of when i was a kid

    Here is one I did about ten years ago............................



    Memories of when I was a kid.

    Today, nothing to do, I felt a little nostalgic. My favourite cousin Sheila died yesterday, so I decided to do a memory trip to where we were kids, before, during and after the war. The street play grounds of all our gang
    The first street, a street of little terraced houses, front door on the street.. Dougill Street No.17, the Farnworth family lived there, with Dave, [Clogger] my mate in our gang, was also Joe, who was 17, when Clogger and I helped to carry Joe`s bag to the bus stop on my Birthday, 21 June 1942. Joe was joining the Gloucester Castle,
    He was killed three weeks later when she was sunk by the Michel, our Lou was rescued and taken POW in Singapore.
    I stopped outside the house and thought of the times, both happy and sad, ******s now live in there, knowing nothing of the tragedy.
    I drove around the corner into Shipton Street, garden terraced, and stopped in front of No.6. Gordon Merrills house, I remember Mrs Merrills fighting in the street with a prostitute who lived next door at No.8 All our gang cheering and then they both fell over the small garden wall clouts above their heads showing their bloomers, more cheers from our gang. We went to Gordon`s Funeral two years ago.
    At No. 10 was Jacky Harbour, a big hearted lad, they lived in lodgings there after being evacuated from Barrow in Furness, with an old man with a beard and his old son Walter, a two bed terrace, no bathroom, Mrs Harbour, Nellie, who was on the game with Servicemen, Marjory, Jacky and Jean. All in one bedroom.
    Jacky lived in Poverty, had Nothing, they do not understand Poverty today.
    Jacky was the biggest hearted fellow you could ever meet. If you wanted anything he would go and steal it for you. He died in 1978 with cancer.
    At No12 was Brian Martin, he became a Painter when he left school and went to Egypt and Jordan in his National Service then died young with a brain Tumour.
    No. 14 , Franky Hall lived there, He became a plumber after leaving school. He got married young and his wife stabbed him to death. She was sent down for his Murder..
    At the bottom of Shipton Street was the Mill wall that we used to climb, and then a drain pipe, a little broken now , where we shinned up and climbed on top of the mill roof,
    I drove around the corner into Ash Grove, Left side was all terraced houses and on my side from No.2 was Council houses to No. 10.
    I stopped outside No.2, we moved in there from Candle Alley in December 1938. it was Posh, we had a toilet instead of a midden, and a bathroom and a garden front side and rear. I could see down the side to the back garden, where we had the Anderson shelter during the war, and the games we played, King of the Castle over the top of it..
    In the front garden the two sycamore trees that my Dad planted as small saplings were massive. I remember him finding me under one, I had just paid off a Shell tanker in 1954, too drunk to go into the house, so I sat under the tree waiting for the lights to go out before going in. I fell asleep, and then awoke with Dad getting a grip of me, “Are you a Copper?” I burbled. “Am I hell A Copper” he shouted as he dragged me inside, and left me lying on the hall floor.
    I thought of all the fun times we had in that house,
    Of the time the Detectives lead by Inspector Balmer of Liverpool when they smashed down the front door, beat me up while they were searching for my brother, Jim, who they were accusing of killing two men at the Cameo Cinema in Liverpool. He was away at sea on the Vancouver City bound for Japan..Innocent.
    Of the sad times when Mother and Dad died.
    A lot of memories in that house.
    I then drove round to my junior school Oxford Grove, that I sometimes attended during the war when I felt like it, if it was sunny I was up on the moors playing hookey.
    It had been demolished, in its place was a new building, International Infants School..
    I guess it has to be International now, a hundred different nationalities live around there now.
    At the bottom of Oxford Grove I took a right and then a left into Lawn Street, a street of garden terraced.
    I stopped outside No.103, where my Aunty Elsie and Uncle Dick use to live with my cousins, That was a very happy fun house for kids. Uncle Dick was a Fireman during the war fighting fires in the Manchester Blitz. In his spare time he was an acrobat and entertained us kids at birthday parties etc.
    My little cousin Robert one of triplets, died and I remember seeing him in his coffin in the front parlour, then in 1942 my cousin Richard was killed by falling on a spike on the garden wall and bled to death on the path. I went to see him in his coffin he was eight I was seven. He was found by his sister Cousin Sheila. She never realy got over it.
    She died yesterday of cancer, aged 78..
    So 103 had a lot of memories, fun and sadness..
    As I sat there thinking of all this, the door opened and a Pakistani looking fellow walked out, he would never know of the fun time and the tragedies in the house he now lives in.

    I felt a little sad, so I drove home. I had to put it down on paper what I had felt.

    .
    PART TWO
    .
    TODAY Friday.
    .
    I decided to finish off my tour of the old days.
    .
    I started by going to Candle Alley where I was born in 1935. It was a slum, 2 up 2 down, no bathroom and a toilet over the midden at the bottom of the yard. The Night soil men came around during the night once a week to shovel it out. We moved to No. 2 Ash Grove in December 1938. Inside toilet, bathroom and three bedrooms and big gardens.
    Candle Alley had all gone. Demolished. In its place, just an empty patch of ground with a large fence around and a sign, “Proposed site for the Al Makkah Mosque” That’s all I need I thought. More upsetting than death. It is only 200 yards from the next Mosque, along the road.
    I drove round to the main road where the Church was where we had dances every Saturday evening for six pence. It was still there, it now had a ten foot tall stainless steel Cross in the grounds. Good.
    It was here that I met Jean, a lovely girl who had a great body at 14 years of age, the same age as me. We fancied each other and went dancing every Saturday.
    One night her father had gone out for the evening so we decided to stay at her house just around the corner from the Church in Chapman Street.
    We were on the sofa and things were just about getting to boiling point, when the door burst open and in charged Dad. He chased me around the sofa and I got out of the door just before he got me and down the street. He threatened me with the most horrible of deaths if he got his hands on me. I parked for a moment or two outside the house, No.4 Chapman Street where she once lived. I never took her out again, my fear of death at her father’s hands was stronger than my love for her.
    Ten years later when she was 24, she married a Soldier and went to live in the Army houses in Dusseldorf, Germany. I was home on leave at that time and in `The Bolton News` a headline, “Bolton Woman Killed in Germany”, she was killed in a car crash.
    Sad.
    At the end of Chapman Street was the back street of Shipton Street where I was yesterday. The back yard walls were still the same, One was where we, four of us , in our gang climbed up and sat on top, singing “The Moon is shining bright across the Wabash, from the fields there comes a breath of new mown hay……….” Barber Shop singing. With harmony.
    The lavatories to the houses were underneath us as we sat on the “petty wall”.
    The lady who lived there wanted to go to the lavatory, but because we were above she called the Police.
    Suddenly around the corner came P.C. Rigby, our local cop. Later, Sergeant Rigby.
    He came flying around the corner, on his bike, his cape flowing behind him like Batman. We jumped off the ten foot high wall and Clogger, Jacky and Goggy, ran up the back street and away, I sprained my ankle and soon PC Rigby was beating me around the head. He made me push his bike round to my house in Ash Grove, knocked on the door. All the neighbours were out, wondering why the Police were at our door. Dad opened it, he knew PC Rigby, having been a Policeman himself.
    I got another walloping. All that just for singing, I was glad I didn’t steal an apple from Nelly Hall’s fruit shop don’t know what would have happened then.
    Opposite No. 2 Ash Grove was the biggest Cotton Spinning Mill in the world, it employed over 3000 people, made yarn for all the weaving sheds through out the country, when Bolton was King Cotton.
    Harold Wilson had them closed down with his Lima Agreement and the machinery dismantled and shipped out to India.
    At the top of Dougill Street where Clogger and Joe Farnworth, [of the Gloucester Castle] lived was a disused quarry then used as a dump. It was full of water.
    It was now filled in and houses built on the site.
    So I went past my old house down the next street to Victory Street and stopped outside No.27. This is where young Jimmy Crompton lived. He was in our class at Oxford Grove School, Ten years old. He wore glasses and these were always stuck together with tape, Jimmy was only little compared with the rest of us, but always having a good scrap in the school yard. hence the broken glasses. He was in our gang.
    One Sunday afternoon, he, Clogger, Goggy and Jacky went to the quarry at the top of Clogger`s street. Jimmy fell in the water, about ten feet below the top and couldn’t get out, the lads ran down the street and found a Royal Navy Sailor who dashed up and stripped off his uniform and jumped in. He swam around for a while but Jimmy had gone. No one had telephones in those days and so one of them ran half a mile to phone for the Police and Fire Brigade from a public phone box.But it was all too late.
    They informed his mother at No. 27, she was hysterical, and she would not believe he was dead. She sat on a chair for seven days and nights, outside the open door of No. 27. waiting, “Jimmy is coming home, Jimmy is coming home” she kept saying, it was heartbreaking to see her.
    They could not find his body because of all the scrap and rubbish that had been dumped in there. No Frog Men in those days, only the ones involved with the war effort.
    After a week they found his body tangled up in the rubbish on the bottom.
    . His mother collapsed with sheer exhaustion and shock and had to be taken to hospital. Later all our gang went to the funeral.
    .I then drove down Park Street, this is where Park Street Methodist Church used to be, All our gang where in the Boys Brigade there, I was a bugler in the band, we had two good nights a week and summer camps in Wales.
    As I drove around the corner I was stunned. The Church had disappeared and in its place was the Al Mahdi Eslaam Mosque. The street was full of Islamics, all dressed in their long white shuftis. It looked like Islamabad. Time for Friday Prayers.
    Half way down Park Street, Mary had a flat there in an old house. No.113 top floor, I was in love with Mary, but she was insatiable, I had to go to sea and when I came home she was pregnant from a mate of mine. [ good mate he was]
    She was lovely, lying in the arms of Mary was fantastic, I could have married her, but for her frivolities. She eventually married an Irishman with three kids and moved to Chorley.
    I didn’t stop just drove on stunned, at the bottom of Park Street is the gates to Heaton Cemetery, many of my relatives are sleeping in there.
    Again I stopped my car stunned. At the very gates of this Christian Burial place was a huge Mosque, wasn’t there last year. Unbelievable.
    I almost felt physically sick at the Islamisation of my once proud town of hard working people, once a lovely friendly town of Gradely Folk. Now gone for ever.
    The custom of ******’s is when they conquer a place, they surround it with Mosques, and we now have a ring of Mosques all round the town.
    .I have finished my tour of my childhood. I have a lot of good memories of the lads and girls on the way.
    I am very glad I did it, but will not do it again.
    .
    .I knew I was going to get a shock
    On my memory trip to turn back the clock
    Things were not the same, time had moved on.
    The girls I once loved had grown old and are gone.
    And now I am coming to the end of my time
    I am putting my memories down into rhyme.
    For when you are young, life is all magic
    But when you get old, life becomes tragic

    EPITAPH TO JACKY HE WAS A CHARACTER.
    .

    Today, I drove down Vallets Lane in Bolton, on my way to visit my Aunty Doris`s grave with it being her anniversary.
    I passed a large pub. Gardners Arms. and then the memories came back again of my old mate Jacky of our gang.
    .
    After writing about Jacky Harbour, in our gang, in the above posts where he lived in poverty in Shipton Street I decided to write an epitaph for him. No one else would.
    I remembered one night that devastated the family.
    .
    Mrs Harbour, a widow, was getting married to a man she met where she worked in the mill.
    After the wedding the reception was at the Gardners Arms down Vallets Lane, in an upstairs room and afterwards Jacky was going to live down there in his new Step Dad’s house, so he was quite excited for his new life.
    Jacky and I was about eleven years old, and at the reception, the adults were all drinking and dancing, a little boring for us kids.
    I found a chair, it had the two back legs missing so I thought I would play a joke on Jacky. I took the chair to a table and leaned it against the wall, balanced on the two front legs. I called Jacky over, to sit next to me, he came, sat down and fell in a heap on the floor as the chair collapsed. As he went down he took the table with him and all the glasses of beer crashed to the floor and smashed.
    His New Step Father rushed over to him and started to beat him around the head, “You stupid kid” he shouted, “I have to pay for all that” as he beat him up. Jacky was crying, His Mother, in her long white Wedding Dress rushed across the dance floor and leaped upon her new husband’s back screaming “Don’t you dare hit my son”. The two of them fell on the floor, rolling over in the broken glass and the beer as she battered her new husband.
    I realised it was time for me to go home so I sneaked out during all this activity.
    I ran downstairs and out into the street and walked home.
    Next day I saw Jacky stood on the corner of the mill where always used to congregate and he looked very upset.
    “Are you alright Jacky” I said, “No, we have come back to Shipton Street again. Mother has left my new Step Dad for beating me up, so we are not living down Vallets Lane”.
    I felt very guilty about it, but said nothing. So Jacky never got the Dad he had always waited for.
    I have never mentioned my part in the events of that night before.
    Jacky never had any luck in his life he was always destined to be a loser.
    He was a big friendly lad, always smiling and would do anything for anyone. He never had a thing in his life but if you wanted anything he would go and get it for you.
    I once said I thinking about buying a pet rabbit. Next Saturday morning at 6am, a loud knocking on our front door. It was Jacky, he had six baby rabbits down his shirt.
    "Here you are, the rabbits you wanted," he said.
    I had to hurriedly knock a hutch together to put them in.
    Monday morning, in class at school, Maurice Waterhouse was moaning, someone had stolen his six baby rabbits from his back yard.
    I had to tell him I had them and someone had dumped them in a box on my doorstep.
    So I gave them back that evening after school.
    Jacky was called up for National Service when he was 18. He joined the Lancashire Fusiliers and was based at Bury Barracks, just up Bury Road from Bolton, a nine penny bus ride from home. Jacky was home most weekends.
    Then I was home on leave, there was a fairground on in town for Christmas and New Year. I was on the Waltzer with a girl friend and who was working, spinning it around? only Jacky.
    “What are you doing on here Jacky? You are supposed to be in the Army.”
    He said “I’ve deserted, I would rather be on the fair than in the Army.”
    How can you desert when you live just down one road away from the Barracks?
    He didn’t last long, the MPs came for him and took him away and he did his 18 months in the glass house. How daft was that. He was a bit dim at times.
    I never saw much of Jacky after that, just the occasional reports of his various Court appearances for theft. I read about him in the newspaper, he was working in a hotel in Douglas in the Isle of Man, he was caught stealing in there and received a few strokes of the birch and sent back to the mainland.
    The last time I saw him was at a petrol station on the motorway, he was filling up.
    “Hi Jacky how are you getting on, what are you up to these days?” He was looking very scruffy and his van was in a worse state.
    He said “I am great. I am in the Antiques business, I buy antiques and sell them in America.” Ever the cheerful optimist was Jacky.
    “Good to see you are doing well Jacky, good luck,”
    I got in my car and drove off. I never saw him again. He was still cheerful to the end.
    I heard he died a couple of years later of cancer.
    I often wondered for the last 67 years if my joke on him at his mothers wedding and the instant break up of their marriage had affected him. Maybe if he had a father figure in his life, would he have had a different life style? I guess I will never know.

    When I was 13 I joined the SEA CADETS two nights a week in a RN Uniform learning seamanship. in the summer we did Courses on RN Ships, HMS DUKE OF YORK.
    HME DIDO. GUNNERY COURSES at HMS EXCELLENT and Submarine courses at HMS DOLPHIN.
    A good help when doing the 3 month Seamanship course on the Vindicatrix for the MN

    By then Our Gang had drifted their own ways,.

    Brian
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 17th March 2023 at 05:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Memories of when i was a kid

    Great account of past Years Capt!
    Think i recall this one too. Thanks again!
    Cheers
    Senior Site Moderator-Member and Friend of this Website

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    Default Re: Memories of when i was a kid

    Hi Brian.
    I have written about my boyhood, not as wild as yours but got into some good scraps. Maybe I was lucky to live in the small village, and before the war it was all fun. We have two little kids next door, hardly see them outside after school, in fact see no kids playing after school these days, so sad that they don't have the life we had; rough as it was.
    Cheers Des
    Thanks for the read
    Last edited by Des Taff Jenkins; 18th March 2023 at 12:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Memories of when i was a kid

    Like you Des I have written all I can recall from the earliest age.
    Sometimes look at it and scare myself when I recall some of what we got up to.
    From birth to age 25 had lived in 14 different addresses.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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    Default Re: Memories of when i was a kid

    Childhood, what childhood, Hitler didn't like three houses we lived in in three different cities, of course it was my fault, our playgrounds were bomb sites with their inherent but unseen dangers of broken bricks, broken glass and unidentified bits of steel, spikes of wooden window frames and doors, but you took them for firewood, imagine elf n safti today with that scenario; I do remember my benevolent elder sister teaching me how to fly by pushing me out of the top story of a Dutch Barn (used to store bales of hay) again that was my fault, then living in a condemned cottage for a number of years with no gas, no electric, no running water and an outside loo, first switched on electric when we were allocated a Council House in Hull when I was twelve and a half, at 13 I was on trawlers, Ah! those good old days!

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    Default Re: Memories of when i was a kid

    Think yourself Lucky Ivan.
    Down the road about half a Klm from the hospital I was born in, East Dulwich London, was the local railway station.
    They dropped a bomb on it about an hour after I was born.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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