Additions to the Family, and More Pride Problems
In 1922, my elder sister Eileen was born, I followed in 1924 and much later in 1937 young brother John. Through the years father built up his business surviving the Depression years, and employing several men, using his expert skills with high class work. But his success in getting and doing good quality work was not matched by his ability to obtain payment. Even though we had little money, he would not press for payment. Just like with the disability pension, his pride got in the way again. This galled me as many of his customers were wealthy, and able to pay. So mother and our household had little or no money, which was reflected in poor housing for us all and little food. In those days I often went hungry. But I can remember going with him to the grand houses at which he worked. There I admired the beautiful wallpapers he hung and the painting and graining he expertly carried out. While father’s pride might been served by my appreciation of his work, I seemed to be the only one in the family who noticed father’s skills.
Distractions from an Unhappy Home
Father’s inability to collect fro his work also meant no holidays away from home. Instead, I played in the street with other children similarly playing the games of the day. A bright spot was roller skating around the district on skates that were a surprising present from aunt Mary, considering her rather dour and mean spirited nature. Occasionally, however I did get to New Brighton by ferry from the Pier Head. A rare pleasure, but one I enjoyed through my friendship with Veronica – of which more next – was that of going ice skating. Not that we could afford it, but her step mother was manager of the local ice-rink so we got in free. Together we spent many a happy hour, and like my ability to roller skate and dance, it just seemed to come naturally. I found my freedom to move around the rink exhilarating.
Family Life Picks Up
Toward the end of the 1930’s family life appeared to take a turn for the better with the birth of young brother John, when we moved to a modern house with a garden in the aptly named Rose Lane, Allerton. There I spent my happiest childhood years. It was there too and at primary school St Clare’s I was to meet Veronica Rattray, who lived in nearby Nicander Road. A lifetime friendship began. From this school I went, through uncle John’s kindness of paying the fees, to Belrive Convent School in Ullett Road run by a strict order of Notre Dame nuns.