Looking for Yesterday

"Looking for Yesterday." Bobby Wray returns to the North East after an absence of fifteen years. After the sudden death of his father. he has been estranged from his mother since he discovered her affair. He stays with his sister Maggie and she tries to get him to build bridges with his mother when the truth is revealed about his father.

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“Can you two not make peace with each other Bobby; live is too short for all this arguing.’

“Well I tried Maggie but you know mother she is set in her ways and keeps bringing up the past. “ She still blames me for the break up of her marriage after I caught her in bed with Frankie Dillon.’

“You don’t know the whys and the wherefore’s Bobby, Maybe dad wasn’t giving her what she needed. Maybe she didn’t love him, the way she first did.’

“Is that supposed to excuse her for what she did?’ I mean she wasn’t thinking of us when she broke up the family.’

“She must have had good reason is all I’m saying Bobby.’

“Things were a lot different in those days said his older sister.’

“In what way, in lots of ways Bobby, for one a woman was meant to stay at home and look after the kids, cook and clean. Life for them was none existent really.’

“Surely she knew that when she married dad though.’

“She told me that in those days if you got pregnant to a man then you had to get married.

“So she got pregnant before having you?’

“Yes, mam said that she liked dad but it was just like a one night stand.’

She had gone to the Plaza ballroom with Kitty Blacklock her friend they both worked for Brecke’s Kipper house on the Fish Quay. It was there that she had met dad for the first time.

Dad was a teddy boy in those days; he wore a blue draped suit and winkle pickers.’

“He came over and charmed mother with his slick patter.’ Anyway mother danced with him all night then they went for a walk along the long sands and she went into the sand dunes with dad who was only eighteen. Mam was only seventeen herself remember; just a kid really.’

Three months down the line and she was pregnant and when nanna and granda found out there was hell on.’ They threatened to disown our mother because she had brought shame into the house. Even in the fifty’s pregnancy was still shunned upon. Aborting a child was thought a mortal sin as both my nanna and granda were both Catholics. They said that she would be excommunicated if she killed the child. So she and my father went to the registry office on Stephenson Street and got married.’

Everything happened so fast said mother she didn’t know where she was, or how to take it all in.’

There was no reception, Just tea back at the house where mam and dad had to live because they couldn’t get a house.’

“Life was unbearable she told me as her father ruled them with an iron rod.’

“It was only when I was born later that year that mam was given a house in Peartree Crescent. It was a cold winter that year and dad was working as a coalman for Rowley’s.’ He only earned seven pounds ten a week in those days but got five bags of coal free.’

Mam was taking in washing to earn a few bob and went to work in Jesmond cleaning for some posh woman. I was pushed in the second hand pram all the way and left outside. That’s how I nearly died of pneumonia.’

Mrs Albright then allowed mam to bring me into the house and mam left me in the passage whilst she went about cleaning the house.’

Mam was only getting two pounds a week for that and she was doing this entire woman’s washing and ironing and her shopping as well.’

“I see said Bobby.

 

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