Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Blame This One On The Cat!

Bonny, my ginger feline friend woke me abruptly this morning, by jumping onto the bedside cupboard and sending everything flying. It was at precisely 1.58 am that this happened. I didn't get upset. Indeed I felt kindly disposed towards her. She must have timed her jump to coincide perfectly with my inner body clock. Which today even at such a very early hour, would appear to be set at happy. She meant no harm. What she wanted by her action was my attention. I was happy to oblige, and after some stroking and ear rubbing, combined with suitable words of adoration, she returned, purring contentedly, to her own bed beside the window. Leaving me wide awake.
It was far to soon to get up, and so I lay there for a while thinking. My mind travelling back to my early childhood in a home run by London County Council. Specifically, because my mood was good, I was thinking of people who have had some positive influence on me.
Eventually, the thought occurred to me to get out of bed and write it down.
Which is how I come to be sitting here at four o'clock in the morning, shivering slightly, for the sun, unlike me is not yet up. Perhaps the cold will keep me sharp, and focused on the job in hand. Which is to introduce you to some special people.
People like Mrs Williams, a primary school teacher. A kind and pretty woman with a smiling open face. Mrs Williams looked and smelt delicious. She was fond of wearing tight sweaters, that defined and accentuated her ample breasts perfectly. I adored her. Actually, thinking about it now, she was my first love. Five years old! An early awareness.
Mr Hewitt, was also a primary school teacher. He taught me how to read. Gave me individual attention. Of course he gave everyone individual attention, but he made me feel special. The mark of a great teacher. I used to wish he was my dad. Mr Hewitt smoked a pipe with great enthusiasm, and spoke, suck puff, slowly, suck puff, and suck puff, thoughtfully, suck puff, like this.
One day there appeared in this residential children's home, a new face. This was Mr Heap, the superintendent. Until he appeared on the scene I hadn't even been aware that there was a home superintendent. I never got to know him well, but a smiling benevolence radiated from him at all times. Something which meant a lot to me. Sadly I left the home soon after he arrived, but nevertheless he was a definite influence, simply by the fact that he acknowledged my existence.
I must not forget to mention Miss Steed. She also came into my life shortly before I left the home. She was the new housemother. A kind and loving woman who cared about us all. Her first job was to rid the house of the myriad of notices which were stuck everywhere you looked. Warning notices, don't do this, don't do that, type of notices. Miss Steed thought that such things did not belong in our house. It was good to see them go. She made lots of changes to the formerly strict regime. Life was much happier with Miss Steed. I would likely have been better off staying with her. But the future wasn't mine to decide.  
Reg was one of the gatekeepers. I spent long periods in the gatehouse with him as I waited, often in vain for my Mother to visit. On the many occasions when she failed to turn up as expected Reg would hug me and wipe away my tears with his enormous white handkerchief. I'm sure he kept that handkerchief specially for that purpose. I suppose many kids needed a comforting hug at times. Sadly these days Reg's kindness and hands on approach towards us children would be frowned upon. But he was simply a warm hearted caring man. I liked Reg.
The other gatekeeper was George. He would play snakes and ladders or ludo with me, as we whiled away the time waiting for mum to arrive. Later on when I was older, and was allowed to venture outside the grounds of the home I would visit George and his wife at their house across the back field. His lovely wife used to make little sponge cakes with icing on them. A rare treat for a boy in those spartan times just after the war. George once gave me a shilling to buy a white mouse and made me a cage for it. I wasn't allowed to keep it in the home but I left it with George and would visit my mouse whenever I could.
Because my Mother was prone to let me down. I was sometimes visited by Uncle Bob and Auntie Sheila. Not real family but a foster Aunt and Uncle. They had a motorcycle and sidecar. I would be strapped to Uncle Bob on the back of the motorbike, Auntie Sheila in the sidecar and off we would go, for a day out. Nice memories. Sometimes I would spend a weekend with them. Once or twice during school holidays I would spend a whole week or more with them at their house. I loved it, but it had to end because I would get too distressed when it was time to return to the home. I hated leaving them. I can still feel the heartache of it today.
Just before I finish, I must mention someone who I never actually met, but who I admired greatly. I am referring to the wonderful comic actor and film star Norman Wisdom. Every once in a while there would be a film show held on a Friday evening in the school hall. Norman was making lots of films at that time in the 1950's and so he would often feature at these nights. I loved it. He made me forget all the sadness in my life as I laughed along to the storyline. Maybe I identified with the little man who fought against authority and always came out on top. I didn't analyse it in those days. I just knew it made me happy. Strangely enough when I was older and read his autobiography I discovered that his life had many parallels to mine. Perhaps that is why he was able to portray pathos so well. Norman Wisdom died recently. I felt the loss. My extremely handsome son George bought me a boxed set of all his films. I still enjoy them.
Well that's it. The sun is just over the horizon. Looks like it will be a nice day. Bonnie has woken again and wants her breakfast. Sadie and I shall take a walk over the fields. After that, I have plenty to keep me busy today. I still feel good. Hope it lasts.
Bye for now.


  1. Beautiful post, lovely to think back and remember all the people who've shaped you.

    Like you Norman Wisdom had a big part in my chjildhood, my Grandad often bringing copies of his films to watch with my sister and I on his weekly visits. I loved them (still do) and will forever think of Norman and George Formby when I think of my Grandad (who's still with us I hasten to add!) :)

  2. I think Norman Wisdom was wonderful:as a child, when a film of his was on the TV I was allowed to stay up to watch.
    Almost forgot to read your post as I was totally distracted by the beautiful photo of Sadie in the header!!
    Jane x

  3. Have you been able to stay in touch with any of those people? I was fortunate to have a loving and happy family but we did move around a lot. I envy some of my younger siblings and my children and grandchildren. They have been able to form lasting relationships with childhood friends. I have been fortunate enough to reconnect with a few friends from long ago. I guess it's never too late.

  4. Love your new header shot with Sadie. It's always good to remember the positive influences in your life. Hope you got a nap in too.

  5. This makes me think back to all of the people like that who I remember from my own childhood. It's like having extra family members.

  6. John: Dawn found a number of co-residents & the more caring carers from some of her childhood homes using these people: Always worth a try !

  7. I was able to reconnect with some of these people, but sadly they have gone now.

    @ plugs7: I am aware of the site you mention Paul. Haven't heard from them for a while.I shall look them up again.
    Thanks everyone for your comments. It's so nice to know you are there.

  8. What a great way to spend the wee hours of the morning, reminiscing about the people who helped to shape your future.