radio mechanic he was only eighteen years old. Mary certainly dressed and looked more mature than her fourteen years. She was working as a packer at the Tyne Brand factory on the Fish Quay where they processed tinned foods and sold cured herring to Norway and France. The handsome Ghanaian didn’t see Mary again for another four years when she bumped into him again at a local dance hall ran by a Methodist Church and he asked her to dance. She liked him right away and it wasn’t long before they were going out together. Eddie was very religious and well mannered. He dressed very smartly. Eddie came from a very well to do family. His father was a doctor and his mother a school teacher. He spoke impeccable English and Mary’s parents took to him right away. Each time he came back to North Shields when he was working away they would meet up. When he was away he would write to her to keep her abreast of where he was and what he was doing. They were married in 1944 and Eddie took her to Accara, a port on the West African coast of New Guinea. The population of Ghana is around twenty nine million. Mary was surprised by all the wild life that surrounded the place. In the Mole National Park; she saw Elephants, Buffalo, Hippo’s and Warthogs. Eddie took her to the village of Korforidua to meet his parents, and his sister and brother. The first thing that Mary noticed was the heat. A temperature of near forty degree’s centigrade had Mary nearly passing out and she had to keep in the shade for a while until she got used to it. The village laid on a feast in her honour. Mary said she’d never eaten as much rice, beans and chicken in her whole life. She tried all of the traditional meals in Ghana and even learned how to cook some of them. She made Chichinaga, with prawns and fish in a curry sauce. Banku a corn dish was served with fried rice with chicken peppers and onions which she particularly liked. Then there was a dish called red, red, with beans and plantain.
Eddie’s family liked Mary very much and for the next ten years she lived in Ghana. After the birth of her daughter Joyce was born Mary helped in the village whilst Eddie went out to work. Mary became home sick and asked Eddie to return in 1952 with their daughter who was now ten years old at first they lived on Howdon Rd’ with Mary’s parents until they were given a house in Chapel Street where young Joyce, the soft spoken girl grew up. She didn’t have many friends and was taunted by many of the Shields folk for the colour of her skin. She had three friends who she grew up with Pauline Smith, Lesley Flynn, and David Brand. They would all play games in the street after school. Drawing bays with pieces of white chalk and bouncing a ball they would make their way along the grid hopping and spreading their legs as they called out the numbers. They would juggle three tennis balls off the wall together and sing well known rhymes to them or they would do hand stands against the wall with their skirts tucked into their knickers. By 1964 Joyce excelled at school and like her father was very clever. She had an infectious smile. She used to make up names for people and she would call Tony Patterson a young boy from her school “chicken eyes” when she saw him on his paper round. She was eighteen when she met and fell in love with a blonde haired keep fit fanatic Gerry Junghan. They went everywhere together. She liked to go to St Josephs dance and the Zone 22 in Whitley Bay behind the ice rink on a Friday night where they played Reggae music. There were many black people there like Jeff and Isaac Decker two young amateur boxers who would dance around the hall along with David Ferguson another boxer from the same club.
Ray Butters the six feet seven American footballer who was closer to seven feet with his afro hairstyle. Ray was a likeable lad who organised many trips to Wigan Casino to Northern Soul evenings in the late seventies. Everyone would clamour onto a trip bus to make the journey to the dancehall favoured by many from all over the country. It was five pounds to get in but it was well worth it. People would carry little shoulder