The Black Middens

A story of love and struggle to bring up three children during the war years.
Joe Donnelly, a coble fisherman from cullercoats meets the girl of his dreams when Emily Rose Higgins crashes into him on her bicycle whilst out with her sister Mary Jane. Joe and his brother George, a captain in the British Army ask the two girls out to a dance at the plaza in Tynemouth and they both fall in love. Alan Donnelly the youngest of the brothers is in the Northumberland Fusiliers. it is not long before they all get married. Emily Rose has two children but there are complications during the birth of her third child and she dies leaving Joe to bring up Marina, George, and Helen the newborn child.
After some attempts to try and hire a nanny come house keeper Joe hires a dutch girl called Alina Classen whose parents were both killed by the Germans in the first world war.
Not speaking much English Alina works very hard and teaches the children to speak Dutch and they in turn teach her English. What dev


11. 11

George had his own car and drove them all home where they live beside Billy Mill; the old flour mill had been there since 1796 and the houses nearby were owned by some of the wealthier members of society.

 Jane inherited the house after her mother died; then she met Tom and they were married two years later.” The people of the area looked down on Tom because he was a stevedore but he cared not a jot. He cared not to mix with their sort as he called them. Tom couldn’t be bothered with inverted snobbery; he was a simple hard working man who paid his way in life.

When the car stopped both George and Joe got out opening the doors to let out the ladies.

“Will I see you again asked Joe?

“I expect you to be on time next we meet Joe Donnelley.”

“So you will.”

“Yes she smiled; I will.”

“What about a walk in Northumberland park tomorrow?

Will you bring George with you?

“Yes if you like, but I thought that you liked me?

“Not for me silly; it’s for Mary Jane.”

“Until tomorrow then.”


“What said Joe, hoping that she hadn’t changed her mind?

“What time are we meeting?

“Oh, say one o’clock?”

“Alright, one o’clock it is then; goodnight Joe.”

“Goodnight Emily.”

Joe got into the passenger side of the car then waited for his brother.

“When George returned he had a smile on his face.”

“You kissed her didn’t you?

“No time to wait around Joe.”

“We are meeting them tomorrow at one o’clock at Northumberland Park.”

“Splendid said George as he started the engine and drove away.

“Well do you like her then Joe asked his brother.”

“I do George; isn’t she pretty?”

“Yes she is; did you kiss her then?

“No; I wanted to but I thought it wasn’t right yet.”

“Well don’t wait too long old boy or you will loose her.”


 Later Joe lay in his bed and thought about Emily Rose before sleep overcame him and he drifted off.


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