Life – Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death.
I have worn glasses from an early age (3-4), I believe they are a defining characteristic of my personality, my identity. Who I am.
For over 50 plus years I have embraced and nurtured my relationship with spectacles which still continues with as much enthusiasm as ever.
I have an early childhood memory. A pivotal incident that is probably my earliest (significant) memory. Whilst playing in my next door (but one) neighbors back yard I took a substantial blow to the head which led to my wearing glasses.
We had played for some time and I wanted to leave, to go home. My playmate, didn’t want me to leave. He placed himself between me and the back-yard door and threatened me with the wooden, washing line pole.
A 7ft wooden pole which was standard equipment in the 60’s (1962) as most terrace houses would have a back yard with a fixed pulley washing line with another moveable pole to adjust the tension of the line depending upon how much (weight of) washing was on the line.
He (David Perry) was waiving it around insisting that I stay and continue to play. For a 3 year old this was a very large piece of wood. I attempted to push past and leave and he lost control of the pole, either purposefully or accidently, and I was struck heavily upon the head. He had actually said the words ‘if you go home I will hit you with it’.
Tears. A trip to A&E. A large lump on the head. Back home. I remember being starving!
As soon as we were home mum was straight round to the Perry’s ‘having murder’ with Mrs. Perry and sister, Hazel.
Thus began what ended up being a never ending feud with the Perry’s which would never be resolved.
Mum had blamed the blow on my head for my having to wear glasses and she would regularly remonstrate this to anyone and everyone, especially Mrs. Perry. This would usually be after her returning from the pub. I don’t know if it was the case or not but facts are that very soon after the accident I was wearing glasses.
Mrs Perry was never fond of me afterwards, motherly instinct shaping her position in defence of David? Several years later, she referred to me a as ‘a sly little tinker’, blaming me for intoxicating her son. Myself and Dave had gotten silly drunk on Les Hunts Dads home brew Sherry whilst babysitting Les’s younger brother.
David was throwing up ill, I was the only one who was willing to stop drinking and ‘escort him home’, dropping him off on his path and ringing the door bell before hastily departing. Mrs Perry blamed me (solely) for her sons drunken state. Truth? He was just that bit more greedy than the rest of us, in gobbling up the evil (free) Sherry. We were aged 10-11.
I remember the ‘Pole’ incident clearly. I was told I was 3 years of age at the time. Based upon historical fact I (since) put the detail together to establish my age.
Soon after the pole incident I developed problems with my eyes, in particular the left. I attended St Paul’s Eye Hospital for some 15 years as an out-patient with three, two-week periods in hospital for two surgical procedures.
This was one of two childhood injuries that I remember well, too well!
The second was a few years later. I was relieving myself, urinating in the back entry at the rear of our house, ‘having a piss in the back jigger’. In a hurry, so as not to get caught with my pants down, I jammed my tiny baby dicky in my jeans fly’s.
It was bloody and painfully stuck.
My aunty (little Ant), on hearing my screams, came to my rescue, as she did on many occasions during my growing up, in the absence of my mother who was often too ill, or drunk (in bed) to help me.
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