My father was a loving man. Unfortunately, over the years, this gave cause for his
various wives and partners to become seriously miffed. In my father's defence, his
attempts to create his own harem were possibly rooted in his genes, after all he was
Consequently, I, as a kid and later my sister, briefly lived in various towns, with new
mams or aunties. Eventually, my father, (a marine engineer) returned to another of his
old loves, the sea.
Meanwhile I took up residence in a kids home in Liverpool, my sister Suzanne sent
somewhere else. I recall little of my mother at the time and some 18 months later, my
father returns, along with our Sue and promises of a fresh life involving yet another new
mam. So kitted out in a new suit, 3 times too big for me and to my shame, a pair of
extremely shiny buckled shoes, I waved goodbye to the abuse and cheers of my fellow
scouse inmates and headed, according to my father, to a place called London.
When we arrived at "West Hartlepool", I asked dad if this was near to London.
Apparently it isn't. Nodding his head wisely he informed me, "the London bit was just a
ploy to put your mother off the scent".
Well, straight off things did not work out. The new start turned out to be nothing new and
so another move of premises from old Hartlepool (as was called), to West Hartlepool.
The terraced house in Whitby Street, ran by an elderly hard working good lady, Mrs
Ethel Scot, was different to anywhere I had previously stayed. It had a buzz. Ethel, or
my gran, as I came to call her, managed without a husband to look after lodgers, plus
some of her grown up family.
She agreed to look after us both, just for a short while until my dad had a chance to sort
Three years later and our dad still at sea, there I am with my now well established
mates playing footy, when my gran, Ethel, calls me in.
She looked at me and mouthed, "your mam's here".
I recognised my mother's face but did not reply to her greeting. A short glance at her
husband and I immediately disliked him, it was the pipe and the blazer.
So, reluctantly scrubbed up and on with the suit, which now fit me. Thankfully the
buckled shiny shoes had been binned way back. My sister Suzanne and me followed
the one way conversation into the front street and then with all the neighbours and my
mates watching on, Sue and I wearing just the hint of a smug smirk, climbed aboard
their gangster type, smart grey Standard Vanguard for the short trip to Seaton Carew.
Then I, my sister, mother and her feller, in awkward silence walked along the prom.