This yarn introduces my close family and some long term family friends, and the places where I have usually resided - key places from where I have visited others for far shorter periods. It is a central and personal yarn to be braided with others to enrich the story of my life, my family, my people and the places I have been.
In those days, I was a big baby and despite my elder brother Jim easing my passage, my Mum nearly died in the aftermath of childbirth. Belligerently she kept me with her through quarantine and second time lucky we stayed home and I got acquainted with my family. Brother Jim, my father, Ian and my Mum were my closest companions. I met all my grandparents, Alf and Jean on my Ian's side, and Fed and Barbara on Jane's along with my only blood aunt, Susan, my Mum's younger sister, her husband (and my only real uncle), Colin, and their eldest son, Gary, and his younger sister, Anna. Ours was a happy family, but the only ones that lived close were my parents and brother.
We went for walks with a big blue pram, watched trains pass beneath our feet. I learned to walk and swim, fall in ponds and wear out shoes. Most of all, I learned from brother Jim and my Mum and Dad. We had friends, in particular, the Humby's who had two girls by this time, Megan who was a bit older than Jim, and Francis who was about the same age and at some point, they adopted Martin who was about my age. I had as perfect a start to life as anyone could hope for, although there were some ups and downs and childhood health issues along the way.
I talked funny to start with, but more often than not my parents understood me, and when they didn't, they could turn to Jim for a translation. Once he famously translated that "I would like a biscuit and quite like me to have one too". Getting a biscuit was a great result, whether or not that was what I was on about. An inquisitive worm is easily deflected by food! I was a hungry boy, hungry for food and happy being fed, but also thirsty for knowledge and questioning the world about me. Oh how I delighted in asking questions: "why?" was a favorite!
My little sister Caroline was born in February 1977 when I was about 18 months old. It was very exciting and is one of my earliest memories. The only one not so pleased about the arrival of a new bundle was Dinsdale our clever tabby cat who I am told sat at the top of the stairs and cried when Caroline arrived home and wailed.
We went for walks with Caroline who took over from me in the pram. Brother Jim started school along with a girl called Kate, one of our Mather friends. The Mather's shortly had not only a younger boys, Ben, who was my age, but also Matthew who was just a bit younger than Caroline. Their mother Lesley and my mother had met at evening school and we all became great friends as Ian also got on well with Alan, their Dad.
Not very long after we got it, my Dad crashed our car, Henry the Hillman, in icy conditions when we were on the way to swimming. We had just gone through the "go fast as you like" signs when we skidded and hit a rock. We were unscathed and Henry survived and only needed minor repairs. Saturday morning swimming, usually at Armthorpe baths were a fairly regular thing and often we would return to a cooked breakfast.
My Mothers great friend Ulli's husband died of a heart attack. His name was Horst. It was very sad and my mother learned the news on the telephone and was distraught and inconsolable. Horst was on holiday with the family when he had a heart attack. My "auntie" Ulli was left with three boys, Matheus (who is about Anna's age), Alexander (a.k.a. Sasha, who is a little bit older than brother Jim) and Christian (a.k.a. Maus, who is a bit older than me). Ulli had been my mother's penfriend from school and lived and still lives in Hamburg, Germany. Beyond penfriends they were close friends, though in those days they did not get to spend much time together.
We moved to Axholme Road in Wheatley, Doncaster when I was 3 years old. I was puzzled by the concept of moving house and it took me a while to understand what would stay and what would go. Once the process was over though, it near enough all made sense. Our house on Axholme Road had a relatively large amount of garden and we delighted in working it into a thing of beauty and production from which we could grow food and play and host parties, including famously bonfire parties and summer birthdays.
Around this time, I made a wish on two lovely sunny warm day. My Dad's dad, Alf and my Mum's dad, Fred had given me coins, probably on separate occasions and I was informed that I could throw them into wishing wells to make a wish. This was very exciting, and I spent some time thinking about what to wish for. The first time, I asked all my confident's and learned about wished then eventually cast my wish without telling anyone what it was. To this day nobody else knows and that can be the best way with wishes as I was wisely taught.
I briefly attended Oak Green School. Compared with Wheatley middle the difference was stark. Oak Green School had a field and the classrooms had low ceilings and a modern feel. The children were rebelling though, they neither wanted to learn, play be the rules and hated the selective schooling system. Many of them had taken pacts to fail the test so that their friendships could endure at the Secondary Modern schools in the estates. I made friends, but out of a year of something like 100, only 2 others followed me to grammar school.
I delivered newspapers. It was hard to get a paper round in Donny as everyone was looking for work, but in Aylesbury, it was relatively easy to get them, so I started to work. First off I helped brother Jim as I was too young to get one myself, then I started to do both mornings and evenings although the two weekly local papers were only delivered on certain evenings. It was whilst delivering these that I met Elio the greengrocer.
After graduating I started work at the University based in the Geography department and moved in with Kate. We lived 'in sin' in a grotty little back to back down on Harold Terrace in Burley, Leeds. Kate was working in the travel industry at a telesales organisation in Leeds, but soon transferred to work for STA in the telesales department in Manchester. Kate commuted and we both worked hard.
I started developing Web pages at work, mostly for the project I was working on, but soon I got my own home page and started populating it with content and links.
Ian wrote "Grandfather, Father and Son" in 2004. It is a family story primarily about his eldest son Jim and Jim's eldest son Alfie.