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


21. 21

Joe made them both a cup of tea when they got in and a cheese sandwich.

“It’s been a fun night hasn’t it.”

It’ll be pay back for Alan when it comes to your wedding Joe.

“I never thought of that.

“You got any doubts asked George as he bit into his cheese sandwich?

“Not a one George. I love her; what about you?

“Me either Joe; she’s a good woman.

“We picked two good apples from the same tree George.”

“Yes we did.

“When did you know she was the one?

When Emily Rose crashed her bike into you and it was the look on Mary Jane’s face.”

“Yes; It was then for me too.”

“Isn’t it funny that we both found love at the same time Joe?”

“It was meant to be.”

“Come on we had better get our brother before he dies of hypothermia.”

They walked slowly down the street until they came to the club then crossed the road

Alan lay fast asleep in a heap beside the boat. His naked body was shivering and his teeth chattered.

They untied him then got his clothes and dressed him before leading him up the bank and back home. Once inside they went to his room where there were two beds in the room; they dumped him on one of them; removed his shoes then threw a quilt over him.

“Right I’m off to bed see you in the morning.”

“Goodnight George.

George closed the door as Joe cleared the table and placed the dishes in the sink before adding more coal to the fire and placing a fire guard in front. “They would need hot water in the morning and several buckets of cold too he imagined.

Joe’s bed had been specially made from solid oak because of his weight.

Joe didn’t look twenty stone but that was because he was solid muscle. His waistline was actually smaller than both of his brothers but his chest and shoulders were the size of both of his brothers put together.

“The suit he was wearing for the wedding had been specially made to fit a fifty eight inch chest. Joe’s neck was twenty four inches and his feet size sixteen.

Joe was like a freak of nature.

No one in the whole town was as big as Joe; he just towered above everyone.

Although Joe was so big he had a gentle nature. He had super strength and he could lift two grown men in either hand above his head.

A circus offered him a job as an attraction but Joe refused; Joe just liked the quiet life.

His voice was quiet and gentle; neither of his brothers had heard him raise his voice.

Joe undressed then slid into the huge bed that took up all the space. There was only room to hang up his clean shirts; all his other clothes were kept in the wardrobe in his mother’s room.


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