The River

"The River" tells the story of Connie Francis Boothe who struggles to bring up three children in the damp living conditions on Howdon Road, North Shields in the 1950's Her Husband Richard is out of work and she is nearly seven weeks in arrears with her rent and eviction is looming. She has already pawned two of her mother's rings in order to feed her hungry children. Richard is a bit of a jack the lad who has ducked and dived all his life as a labourer - then he meets Beverly Madison a tall beautiful girl who is seven years younger than him but has had a crush on him since she was only fourteen. he begins an affair until after six months his wife finds out. How will Connie cope on her own after her husband leaves. follow this story of rags to riches - The River is one to read.

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Today was Monday 1962 and Connie Francis Boothe found herself without two ha’ pennies to scratch her arse with. She had five hungry mouths to feed and she never knew whether her husband Richard would be taken on down at the docks. She had already pawned some of the jewellery that her late mother had given her and she didn’t want to have to pawn her own wedding ring as well but if Richard couldn’t find work then she would have to go to Fishers and see how much she could get for the two rings on her left hand. The now bony fingers fought to hold onto the rings because she had lost so much weight. More often than not the food that was meant for her was given to her three children. Alan the eldest son had just turned twelve Thomas who was ten, and Margaret who was nine. The thirty two year old woman looked more like fifty two as the stress of living from hand to mouth had taken its toll. Her once rosy complexion, auburn hair, and hazel coloured eyes were now dull and black, circles surrounded each socket. The sunken cheeks and the lines around her once full lips made her look ancient. Richard barely came near her these days and when they went to bed he was the first to turn out the light and turn his back on his wife. Connie wondered if this was all there was to her miserable life. The house on Howdon Road in North Shields was barely fit to live in. there was dampness in every room; the wallpaper was coming away in the kitchen and was hidden behind an old brown leather sofa. One of the arms was worn away and the horse hair stuffing was coming out. Richard had stolen some brown tape from the yard the last time he was in there and he had done a good job of patching it up. They had some knitted throws over both the sofa and the single chair.

There was little else in the room apart from an old table from her aunt Sarah and a small rug near the fire. The mantle piece had a china clock in the shape of a King Charles spaniel. Looking at it she saw that it was now eleven o’clock and Richard hadn’t returned. She said a silent prayer and hoped that he had been taken on and not parking his arse in the Sir Colin Campbell. Richard Boothe was renowned for his drinking bouts and lately they had become more frequent. She hated the smell of beer on his drunken breath when he came home to give her abuse. Many a time she had been given a back hander for arguing with him; she hoped today wasn’t one of them.

Richard forbid her to go to the dole office to seek help but today she would have to. There was literally nothing in the cupboards; the children would be in from school and there was nothing to give them again. She put on her coat and head scarf and took with her a shopping bag and her purse. Closing the door she walked towards the dole office near Scots Park.
 

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