Reflections in the canal Part 1

Imagine a cold januarys night the sky is clear you can see the stars and you are with the one you have fallen in love with, not everyones idea of paradise I know but it is mine, the crisp cold air not even the howling wind through the bridge where you are standing underneath means a thing you are in a world of your own, as you gaze into each others eyes and kiss to be honest they could have dropped the h bomb and it would not have heard it.

I am 18 years old never had a proper girlfriend and home life is not good the eldest of 5 mom and dad drinking smoking and continually at each others throats you long for the day when you can leave home not that I had not left home before but with no where to go I had always had to come back and each time you come back it always a little worse.

Mom took pleasure knocking ten bells out of me so no wonder I was a broken spirit long before I finally left home, bullied at school on the rare occassions I went, if mom was ill or one of the other kids were ill I had to stay at home and help nothing wrong in that but I left school hardly able to read or write so you are disadvantaged from the beginning.

I had always been a dreamer some days when you wnet hungry or got into a cold bed there was not much more you could do but dream, many is the time I have sat on the landing listening to mom and dad argue and fight like a cat and dog many a night I have sat there crying my eyes out wishing the shouting and scraming would stop, for a child of 5, 6 or any age it is most distressing and painful, I still have nightmares even now 60 years later what baggage for anyone to carry around no wonder I turned out like I did.

Mom was 16 and dad 17 when I was born so ther start in life was together was doomed from the start we lived with nan and grandad for 5 years and those were happy times as much as I can remember happy times for me not sure about mom and dad but when they left and moved into a council house my life and the other kids who followed went downhill.

I did not get a new pair of shoes until I was 18 I remember the ritual of cutting cardboard to put in my shoes to go to school many a time missing pe because I never had any kit some times the teacher would make you do pe in your underpants and no pe shoes I am sure he got a kick out of making you feel ashames not that I did I never knew better but thinking about it now I blush with embarresment, you will have to forgive my spelling and terrible use of our launguage but my schooling was really poor.

As a child and teenager I aways suffered from ear trouble perhaps the continual good hiddings I had about my head and ears did that you never know, I was not a well child but lots of kids are like that when we got married we made a vov our kids would never suffer or go hungry like we did and I have know the times either myself or my wife had gone withour a meal just so we could feed our kids, as for drinking we never did.

In the 60s you could go for a walk along the canal and not be worried you were going to be mugged or worse we walked along the canal some nights to get back home to my girfriends ha kiss and a cuddle under the moonlight is not to be missed it was difficult to kiss and cuddle in her moms house she would have non of that, moms are like that well they were in my teenager years.

We have been married 43 years this year 5 children later 4 grandchildren later the memories from my early years are usually locked up in locker in my brain, but sometimes they surface and the meories of mom knocking 10 bells out of me or sitting on the landing crying at mom and dad fighting brings it all rushing back to me, perhaps one day I can learn to live with it and find the good things mom and ad had going for them till then I will sit down and put these thoughts on paper set fire to them and watch them go up in smoke.

Thinking of those times under the canal bridge listening to the water lapping at the bank of the canal or seeing paradise my loves eyes makes all the bad memories fade for a while.