Diary of a working man*

Or Me! Me! Me!

Obviously I’ve been writing about Linda recently but I thought I’d set in context just how central she was to my world.

See, even Mrs H called me peculiar.  It’s a polite way of saying strange.  Or as she would have it, no quite right.  And I can’t argue with that as it’s been true all my life.  Now I didn’t have an abusive childhood they way she did.  But it was an odd one.

I was an unwanted child.  My parents weren’t horrible but they had no interest in being a mother or father.  Now I get that and I don’t hold it against them.  I’ve never had the inclination myself.  My Mum had also been told she couldn’t have children so when I arrived when she was 36 and my Dad was 43 it really didn’t suit them.

It didn’t help that unlike Mrs H I was born melancholy.  There are a few photos of me when I was under 5 and I’m not smiling in any of them.  My Mum didn’t hang about though.  She packed me off to the nursery full-time when I was 18 months old and even paid the extra so they’d keep me till teatime.  She told me later that all her wages went to pay the fees which shows how keen she was to be around me.

Then when I was four I started primary school and I was packed off to live with my Great Aunt Euphemia and Great Uncle George, my Dads aunt and uncle.  I say packed off but they lived in number 17 and we lived in number 11 which meant it was actually the stair next door.  I stayed there Monday – Wednesday, then  I spent Thursday with old Mrs McLuskey, Friday I was home, Saturday with my evil Granny and Sunday back home again.  A whole 2 days a week with my actual parents.  The rest of the time was with family members who regarded me as an imposition at best.  But they certainly didn’t like me.

Now when I were a boy your friends were the laddies who lived in your stair.  So that was Alan and Jammy from the first and ground floor in number 11.  That’s who you played Japs and Commandos and Cowboys and Indians with in the back green.  They were also in your class at school so you spent your time with them there as well.

It’s only when you get to secondary school that you choose your friends as your early life gets broken up.  I remember turning 11 at the end of first year and suddenly realising that I was the only one with no friends.  They just didn’t like me.  I didn’t know why and in the seventies asking that kind of question would have got you a good kicking.  So I decided that if they didn’t like me I would give them a good reason for it.  Which explains my remaining years at school.

Fast forward 15 years and I still have no friends.  It’s probably part of the reason I moved around a lot and changed jobs regularly.  It didn’t give people a chance to dislike me fully.  So you will realise my surprise when this beautiful, funny and lively girl liked me.  I only found later that she was no quite right as well but she took to me, befriended me, loved me and married me.

At the time Mrs H did have friends and they tolerated me for her sake but it was noticeable that they all abandoned her in time.  I was born strange, life made Linda that way.  So for over 25 years she was my wife and my best (and only) friend.  She was the reason I got up every day.  I sobered up, knuckled down and tried to give her the best life possible.  And look how that ended up.  You can’t factor in the NHS first crippling and then killing her.

And that’s why I’m such a mess.  She is the only person in my entire life who found any value in me.  I was worthless before her and I’m worthless now.  All I can hope for is that it won’t be too long before we’re back together.  Minus the cheap lager.

lindaandme

*one for the Blackfoot fans out there

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