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Whoa! Too Many Years.

Posted 16-09-2008 at 21:28 by West Ender
Updated 16-09-2008 at 22:44 by West Ender

It's my biggest brother's birthday in just over a week. That's my biggest brother, in years not in size, not my 2nd big brother who's nearly 3 years younger than him but 4" taller. My big brother will be.........75.

I'm sure there's something wrong somewhere. Some years have, apparently, been put in a time-cruncher and disposed of in a hurry. It's not that time already, is it?

We first met, obviously, on the day I was born. I don't remember this meeting - the mists of time, you know how it is - but, I gather, he and my 2nd big brother had no idea I was about to arrive (such matters were, in 1943, considered too indelicate for children to know about). I made my rather loud entrance into the world at 7.15 a.m. and woke my brothers with my cries of annoyance at being booted out of a safe, warm place into a freezing January morning. Biggest brother thought I was a rather loudly mewing cat but 2nd big brother, who was always more savvy even though not yet 7 years old, said, "No, it's a baby". Thus, their lives were changed (vastly improved I like to think) from that day onwards.

My first real memory of biggest brother is accompanying him to buy his school uniform for Padiham Technical School. He had been a "borderline case" in the 11+ exam and elected to go there. Memory's eye sees him standing in a tailor's shop (I have no idea where) in a maroon blazer while our mother rammed a maroon cap on his head. I can still see his face with his big blue eyes (and long lashes - why were they wasted on a boy?) under the peak of the cap. His fair hair was almost shaved over his ears.

A further memory - again concerning his school - was when he arrived home, one dark Winter afternoon, with half a bus lightbulb stuck in his scalp. There had been "silliness" on the school bus and BB (then about 15) had stood up, quickly, and collided with the bulb on the top-side of the bus's side. I watched in horrid fascination as our mother picked out the glass with tweezers.

I was 8 when he went into the army to do his National Service and I was so proud to have a soldier brother. He had been a trainee cotton mill manager and, as soon as he had filled in a form at his army medical and the "board" had seen his handwriting, he was promptly destined for the Pay Corps. He had dreams of postings to Malaya, Germany, Palestine. He went to Moss Side, Manchester. It wasn't planned but, after a year, he got away from Moss Side by breaking his leg, badly, while playing football on leave. I used to go, with our parents and 2nd brother, to visit him in Chester Military Hospital. Ah - the day when Auntie Elsie (a baker by profession) visited and marched into the hospital kitchen to play merry hell because BB's drinking mug was filthy (he couldn't get out of bed to wash it himself). I think they would have liked to court marshall Auntie Elsie. She'd have eaten Montgomery, himself, for breakfast.

I was 15 when BB got married. His bride was a primary school teacher, small, petite, blonde and so-o-o- pretty (blast her!) not to mention very intelligent and very loveable. I was a bridesmaid. In due course I was a baby sitter when my niece arrived then, next, I was married too. My wedding photos show BB and 2nd brother, both handsome 20-somethings, busy ushering.

Fast forward to 1969. I live in Whitby, N.Yorks, with my husband and our 2 small children. BB and his wife, daughter and baby son have come to visit. BB has grown a moustache and who does he look like? Remember the Carry On films with Leslie Phillips - as he was then? BB is Phillips' double, though probably several inches taller.

Fast forward another 20 years and BB has become a widower. He still looks young, for his age, and football has given way to golf. He's soon going to become a proud grampa to 2 girls.

Fast forward to today. His fair, wavy hair is now silver but he still has the big blue eyes and the long eyelashes (wasted on a fellah). He still plays golf, at least 3 times a week, despite diabetes and problems with his "waterworks". He's still my biggest brother and I don't believe he's nearly 75. No, he's 24 and I'm 15 and he's just come home from work (at Mullards where he's going to become a manager in a few years) almost in tears because there has been a plane crash in Munich and half the Manchester United team are dead and we mourn together.

In the immortal words of Jim Royle, "75? My ar$e".

Posted in Uncategorized
Views 694 Comments 2
Total Comments 2


  1. Old Comment
    BERNADETTE's Avatar
    What lovely memories
    Posted 16-09-2008 at 21:43 by BERNADETTE BERNADETTE is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Margaret Pilkington's Avatar
    I loved it West Oliver said........'Please Sir, Can I have some more?'
    Posted 17-09-2008 at 06:29 by Margaret Pilkington Margaret Pilkington is offline

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