Pages

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sardines



Part one can be read here and part two here .

Da is far from happy, and I can hardly say as I blame him.  When he waived us off on the train for England, he (and everybody else, myself included) thought it was only for a two-week jaunt to see Ma's sister, my Auntie Agnes in Yorkshire.

Ma never breathed a word about us leaving Scotland for good.

Mind, if Da's surprised, 'tis nothing compared to Auntie Agnes' shock.  'Twas only on the final day of our second week here, when Auntie Agnes enquired as to what time we should be setting off for the station, that Ma finally saw fit to clue her in as to the plan.  To be fair, it's possible Ma didn't even know of it herself, before she happened to wake up that morning. 

Ever the impulsive one, not to mention determined, there's no swaying Ma once she takes the bit between her teeth.  We're staying, and that's that.

Did I mention Auntie Agnes, Uncle Ray and my six cousins, all live in a two-bedroom, back-to-back terrace house, with no hot running water, and only one (shared by neighbours) out-door loo?

It's not the sleeping four-to-a-bed arrangement I mind quite so much, as us always having to share it with Pee-The-Bed, Big-Bladder-Sandra every night.  Besides, I have my darling Bobby waiting for me at home, as well as my mates and me being all set to begin our new school term next week.

Da's yelling so loud, I hear every word.  The beeps interrupt.  "Hang on, Alec," says Ma, as she thrusts another tuppence through the slot, "Will you shoosh up, and listen to me, now?" 

Someone raps on the pane for us to hurry it up, there's a queue of three standing in line outside, all ear-wiggling it in on the conversation.  We avoid eye-contact, and turn our backs.

"Aye, happen so," says she, "But you'll need to catch us, first."

I wish she wouldn't goad him on like that, he's mad enough at her as it is.

"Och, okay then, suit yourself, there's the beeps again, I have to go..  What?  Eh?  Hello?  He-llo?"

The connection severed, we walk back to Auntie Agnes' house, Ma smirking all the way.

"So, are they coming down, then?"

She shrugs, "They'll have to, won't they?"

"But,"

"What?"

"Ma, where will they sleep?" 

May is five years older than me, Ian seven, and they too have their school and their own friends to think about.  Da has his job.  And what about our house, all our stuff?    

I'm wishing we'd never come down here in the first place.  Auntie Agnes' house is smelly and damp, there's never enough food in my belly, and nobody speaks right, half the time they can't even understand what I'm saying.  I just want us to go on home.

Ma and Da continue to talk, she calls his works office twice weekly, and they fetch him to the 'phone.  He has notice to serve, our furniture to sell, and bundles of other stuff to tie up before coming down to join us.  May writes she's seen Bobby with another girl, not that I believe her.  I just wish I had his address to write to, to tell him why I've gone missing.

My cousins start school again, but I don't go.  Ma tells me as we're moving to our own place soon, it's best to wait 'til Da gets here, and she'll enroll the Sib's and me properly into our new school then, one nearby to where we'll live.

Time has never dragged so heavy.

39 comments:

mythopolis said...

just like reading a young girl's diary...

Ms. A said...

This one gave me some flashbacks of the past! My Aunt raised 8 kids in a two bedroom house and it was one of the few places I spent the night. Yep, sardines and soggy mattresses!

Pat Tillett said...

Really good story telling! The the how you've made it so local sounding. I can picture the places and things you are talking about.
Also, now you've got me thinking about my own youth...

Tabor said...

I wonder the dismay and confusion that such a situation makes in a young child. How do they find the anchor to make it through to adulthood. The smart and independent ones can survive, but what about those who are gentle and not prone to making decisions?

Pearl said...

WOW. You know, I grew up moving every year, sometimes twice a year. But not like this.

So immediate, so personal. I do love your "voice".

Pearl

Barbara Shallue said...

You have really stepped into this character and have a knack for bringing the others to life for us, too. Wonderful!

Leslie: said...

The continuing saga...looking forward to the next bit.

Cloudia said...

closely textured.



Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Shrinky said...

Hi Dan, I guess that's what is is, in a way.

Shrinky said...

Haaaaaaa, Ms A, you too, eh?

Shrinky said...

Pat, thank you for taking the time and trouble to read this in sequence, and to comment, I really apprieciate that (smile). Ahhhh, yes, we all still carry our childhoods with us, don't we?

Shrinky said...

Tabor, children are much like leaves tossed around in the wind, so heavily dependant on outside forces as to what happens to them. Too many do grow up damaged, and often the cycle is repeated. I think we all have our demons to slay, life is a constant work in progress, isn't it?

Shrinky said...

Ahhh, thanks Pearl, I do love it when you drop by. All those moves are so hard on a kid, it's difficult to lay down roots or to feel much stability, when your life is constantly on the move, isn't it? I was 8 when we left for England, and from there on out, my mother's mental illness gradually increased to the point she found it impossible to stay living in one town for any length of time. It was quite a roller-coaster ride.

Shrinky said...

Hi Barbara, oh, this isn't "Wee Karen"'s tale, the fictional character I write - this is an actual memory of mine (shrug).

Shrinky said...

Thanks Leslie, it's been a while since I last picked this up.

Shrinky said...

Thanks Cloudia.

Rock Chef said...

Ah, the joys of those old phone boxes...

D D D D D D D

Quick, shove in another 10p!

D D D Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Too late...

Shrinky said...

Too funny RC, ah yes, those were the days, eh? (Laughing..)

MarkD60 said...

It's very descriptive, I can imagine it's me there. You have a talent that is very rare.

Shrinky said...

What a beautiful thing to say, Mark, that's gone and made my day -thank you for that (smile)!

Akelamalu said...

Can't wait to see what happens when Da gets there!

Shrinky said...

Oh Ake, he simply did what he always did - hid deeper in the bottle!

The Blue Zoo said...

Wow.

I'm surprised your Da went along with it. If I just told my husband "hey, were moving." it wouldn't go over well. At all. Lol

Shrinky said...

Hi Stephanie, y'know, in hindsight, I think my Ma had hoped he WOULDN'T go along with it..

~Babs said...

Oh my,,,how very brave your Ma at that time!
You have such a knack for really 'putting us there'.
Brings to mind when my Aunt,Uncle, and 4 cousins came to live with us for six months. Sardines would have felt absolutely luxurious compared to the space at our house.
At least it wasn't soggy though!

Shrinky said...

Yeah Bab's, she truly did have no end of courage, I'll give her that! Oh my, SIX MONTHS?? Haaaaaaaa, I can just imagine the chaos (grin) - what we don't do for our relatives, eh?

altadenahiker said...

Oh, this captures the agonizing powerlessness of childhood.

Shrinky said...

Hi Altadenahiker, I think you've summed that up pretty well!

mrsnesbitt said...

Ey up - tis a house like the one I grew up in!

Shrinky said...

Aye Denise, 'appen so, eh?

consuetudinis magna vis est said...

I really like the current content of the post, the word, I was impressed. Thank you!I wish to you all the best!

Shrinky said...

Thank you, Grandma's Scrapbook, nice new name. Still would love for you to READ my posts, before commenting, though..

secret agent woman said...

So interesting. I'm looking forward to hear what happens on the other end of the dragging time.

Shrinky said...

Ah, Secret Agent, 'twas only the lull before the storm!

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Wow, well I think I've about caught up! Fascinating stuff, Shrinky, and beautifully written.

The description of sharing a bed and the outside privy takes me right back to my childhood, going to stay with Nan in darkest Norfolk when the family gathered at her house and I had to share a bed with my cousins! And let me tell you, L kicked like a carthorse in the night! LOL!

Shrinky said...

You had me laughing, Jay! When I describe what life was like back in "the olden days" to my kids, they truly think I'm just making it up..!

Suldog said...

Well, I guess we waited long enough for the third installment, but it was well worth it. I went back and read the previous two, also. Great storytelling!

Please give us more sooner!

Shrinky said...

Sully, I always love it when you comment - thanks for that (see the happy grin on my face?) - I'll pull more of this out at some point, but not for now, at least I don't think so - the last thing I want to do is to turn this blog into a boring old, fully fledged autobiography of me, me, me!!

Chris said...

Oh please do write more. I've only just discovered your great writing and I'd like to hear more about you you you.