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Poetry D Jour by Beryl McMullen coming December, 2010


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Author Topic: Genesis.  (Read 29 times)
Kandor
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« on: January 09, 2018, 09:46:25 AM »


I was born on March 31st 1952 in the little town of Coleshill, Warwickshire.
Why I was born in Coleshill I'll never know, I can't really find out either as the only people who could tell me have been gone now for many years.
I do know my Dad was rather pleased, the very fact I was born just 6 days before the end of the tax year meant he got back a lot of income tax for the last 12 months.
Not that anyone but the local pubs or bookies would have benefited from it though.
Sadly for Mom and my family,  Dad was the life and soul of the pub and had been for many years.
So there I was, just a few days old when life decided to play its first trick on me. Coleshill wasn't my home at all, 'Home' was a place called Nechells.

In the book Dante's Divine Comedy, they refer to the sign that hangs over the gates to Hell.
The sign read  'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here'
Nechells beat it by a country mile.

From the only bed I had to myself for the next 20 years, I was taken to a place called Cromwell Street in inner city Birmingham.
I was taken to a house that was an old back to back hovel, with no bathroom, no indoor toilet and no hot water.
It was a two up, one down 3 storey ruin that even before you counted me,  housed far too many people.
2/222 Cromwell St didn't even have room for Cockroaches.

Except it did.

And by the time we added the armies of bedbugs, the battalions of mice, the silverfish and the blackbat's, it could easily be described...as...full..

Some people went to the Zoo to see wildlife, we went there to get away from it.

So there I was, the latest addition to an extremely poor family, a family that was rich in parental indifference, but at least I had two loving  brothers and two heartless, uncaring ugly sisters.
In the Cromwell St home where I spent the first two years of my life, lived Mom, Dad, Uncle Les, Norma, Johnny, Brenda, Robert and me. All there in a two up, two down back to back box.
8 people sharing 2 bedrooms.

We didn't need blankets to keep us warm in bed, if it got cold, I just snuggled under my brother's left testicle.
Oh and to compound the situation, several other families lived in our yard and there were only 4 toilets.. it was said that no one ever sat on a cold seat.                                                                     

                                                                         1954/1955

Like most people, I don't have many memories before the age of two. My first one is of me in 1954 sitting on my neighbour's front step clutching a Teddy bear.
It's not mine of course, it belongs to a little girl called Sophie Tucker. Sophie was named after the American singer of the time.
A few months go by and I'm standing outside a lavatory in Ashted Row.
I'm in the back garden of our 'New' home, I'm holding Dad's hand and he's looking at an overgrown tree that almost blocks the doorway to the toilet.
It has to go. Within weeks it has.

Entrance to the toilet isn't any easier though, since my sister was recently born we now have 9 people sharing a single outside loo and we also had a father who spent more time in there than he did in bed.

Ashted Row was wonderful.

A late Georgian building, it had 4 bedrooms, two large living rooms, a big kitchen with a black leaded range and a small brew house tacked on to the end.
Now add two very large cellars, a front and back garden, it was an opulence we'd never known before.
One of the great advantages of living in a 4 bed roomed house was I'd now moved from sharing a bedroom with 3 other people to sharing a bed with er...2 other people.

Mom and Dad with my baby sister Rita, had taken over the back first floor bedroom.
Norma and Brenda had the front attic bedroom, Uncle Les had the rear attic, so that left me, Robert and Johnny sharing the front bedroom all to ourselves.
And before I forget, I think we'd also brought along all our old Cockroaches and mice. 
And they all liked our bed.

I have many fond memories of Ashted Row, they were easily the happiest days of my life, I had no worries, yes I was poor but so was everyone else, so therefore I had no real yardstick to judge wealth by.
I had my Mom and Dad, all my brothers and sisters, my Uncle Les living with us and on top of which, our house was the focal point for all my many Uncles and Aunts, the whole place just rang out with laughter.
Life for a Nechells raggamuffin was pretty good.

Except for when I was around 2 years old.

When I was 2, just before she set off to school, my sister Norma took me to the shop to get some milk or something, I was in one of those big old prams, you remember them, the ones modelled on the German Panzer Mk4..
From what I gather she met her friend in the shop and promptly forgot all about me as she carried on to school..
I was there for 5 days...

Well, of course I wasn't! 3 is far more reasonable..it's just Mom had so much on her mind then that I guess we were just like pets...only missed us if she couldn't get us in for the night..
The story IS true though..Norma did leave me outside a shop and it was only when she was sitting in class did she realise and had to go out of school to get me....the swine.
 
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