ITYA Chapter 8.

8. Girls

          I had female cousins:  Jean and Elsie Muir, my Uncle Jack’s daughters, and Dorothy Rowlands.   Dorothy was the daughter of my Auntie Beat (Beatrice – “Our Beattie”) who had died long before I was born.

My Mom told me about Auntie Beat.   She had died young – not long after Dorothy was born – of tuberculosis.   It was family folklore that Bill Rowlands, her husband, had not looked after her well and that she had died from his lack of care.   After her death, Dorothy had come to live with Gran’ma and Gran’dad Bayliss, next door to us.

When she grew up, she lived at our house or, perhaps, just slept in our then-spare room.   She was a bubbly, giggling girl, and very modern in her dress and make-up.   Her modernism did not please Gran’ma and Gran’dad, mainly due to Gran’dad’s puritanical attitudes born of him being a member of The Band of Hope as a lad.

Dorothy was about eight years older than me.   She married a chap called Vic Byrne and the wedding was a laughter-filled affair.   They had two children:  Robert and Diane.

Jean Muir was older than me, too.   She married a nice, hard-working chap called Randall Leadham and the two went to live in Codsall – a really posh little village way back then.

Her sister Elsie was more my age:  about eighteen months separated us, she being the older.   Uncle Jack and Auntie Ethel lived at the other end of our “back”, so Elsie and I were playmates.   Well, we were until Elsie “failed” her 11-Plus and went to Hordern Road Secondary Modern School and she immediately started to be woman-shaped.

From that statement, it is clear that I had started to notice girls early on.   Oddly enough, and without any teaching from Mom, I always respected them, and grew up a little scared of the fairer sex.

I took an interest in girls as . . . well . . . girls as soon as I’d “passed” my 11-Plus.   Obviously, sitting the 11-Plus Exam caused hormonal changes.   My voice, though, didn’t break until I was fourteen.

Opposite the Grammar School was Ashley House, a private school in a big house and a garden converted to a small playground.   It was for infants and secondary-school age girls.   Some of the lads claimed to have “gone out” (and other things) with some of the Ashley House girls.   I, being shy, could only observe them from across the road.

The Wolverhampton Girls High School girls were out-of-reach of any lad.   They went to and from their school in their parents’ cars or, if they used the buses, they would travel in little groups.   One passed them in the streets sometimes, but never would they exchange a word nor even a smile.   Snobby little ladies, them.

When going to School in a morning with Godfrey Ault, we would meet up with one or two of his “mates”.   With these, Godfrey would trade stories of what he’d done the previous evening with various girls.   He’d give his tales a bit of spice by naming the girls he’d done it with.   His mates would spin the same sort of yarns.   I could not believe any of what they said.

* * * * *

2 Responses to ITYA Chapter 8.

  1. Paul Byrne says:

    Hi Keith, I hope this ‘blast from the past’ finds you well.

    I have just ready ITYA Chapter 8 and you have forgetten somebody…….ME !!
    Dorothy and Vic had three kids and I was the third, Paul.
    I was born in 1963 so they may have moved away from the Whitmore Reans / Dunstall area before I arrived, so you probably didn’t know about me ?

    Robert is now 58, Diane is 56 and I am 49 (and will be for at least the next 10 years !!).
    Mom and Dad are still alive and well at 83 years young and we are all still living in Wolverhampton……how sad is that !!!

    I have been married to Wendy for 28 years and we have two grown up children. Lee is 26 and Jason is 21. Lee has researched our family tree in some detail over the past 12 months through and I think he may have contacted you already ? My parents have said it would be lovely to meet up with you again, so maybe we could sort something out if you were interested, or if you wanted to come ‘home’ for a couple of days ?

    My wife and I will be on holiday in Woolacombe, Devon next week, back home on Saturday 22nd September. So if we don’t speak before this Saturday, maybe we can get in touch the week after next ?

    Either way, I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards

    Tel: 07554 854452

    • Cornflake says:

      Have e-mailed you, Paul. I look forward to your reply. Can’t ring or text you from here: very bad signal in these hills – but I’ll try when we’re in an area with a decent signal.

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