At aged 9 or 10 years old my best friend was Paul Brewster who lived in the two top floor rooms and the two tiny attic rooms at 57 Gibson Square just 2 doors down from me in 59 Gibson Square. We went to William Tyndale School in Upper Street Islington. Paul was tall for our age and I remember the dinner ladies all saying how handsome he looked with the big “Kiss Curl” Down his forehead. I can’t remember which pop idol started having his fringe curled into a large letter C but it certainly impressed the dinner ladies.
Paul’s Mum & Dad were called Rita and John Brewster and John was a second-hand car dealer, as well as a number of nefarious interests, he often used to turn up regularly on the square with any number of the most fantastic cars. I think the one I liked best was the Thunderbird. Compared to us the Brewsters were mega rich. I once went on holiday with them and Paul to Tenby in South Wales in their super American car called a Studebaker. Once I was being bullied in the school stairs and I was very frightened. Paul went straight up to the biggest of the three boys and pushed him straight down the flight of stairs, warning them all that I was his pal and they would have him to deal with if they ever tried pushing me around again. Two things I remember vividly about Tenby. One was the sand dunes 50 to 60 feet high and perhaps 20 to 30 foot wide with tussock grass growing thick at the edges. The second was meeting up with a bunch of local boys that Paul had met the year before and we all went diving off of the stone quay into the clearest blue water I’d ever seen. It was so much fun that both Paul and I were late getting back to the hotel and were severely shouted at by Paul’s Dad. I thought at one point he was going to slosh me. But now with my adult head on it was perhaps understandable that given we were so late back he was worried that something bad had happened to us.
I really can’t remember the details of my previous blog but do remember the kind comments a few people made, so here are a few more memories.
I’ve led a very varied life, in as much that Just about every organisation I’ve got involved with had there highs and lows in my past. To start with, not that I knew it at the time, one of the best jobs I landed after my apprenticeship was as a plumber was for Hackney Council. Based at Stamford Hill as one of three area plumbers we would be given a handful of job tickets, and as soon as most of them were completed, usually in a few days, I would ask Lou Olivo (the area foreman) for some more work. I had at the time been given a plumbers mate called Harry Whitmarsh who had a great personality and was very philosophical about just about every thing as we worked in various council houses and flats in that area. In the early 1960s almost all of Stamford Hill was a strong Jewish area and at that time I was married to Pat, my first wife, who was also Jewish. That marriage was very stressful as the first three months (it seemed more like three years) of our married life I asked almost every night “can we? – tonight, but only if you want to!”. Always the answer was “no”. Everything other than sex was great. Pat was still a bundle of laughs during the day but obviously had serious problems in having sex.
I was at the time very involved in the Hackney Council Working Men’s Club. Each Wednesday night we used to plan events for the following Saturday night. I and other committee members used to arrange entertainment for the membership. (About 150 people each Saturday) in the top floor area of the Town Hall annex in Redding Lane. Of course I asked Pat to come along as I suspected she might enjoy the various turns that would get up and sing and anyway I planned to get her drunk. She not only enjoyed the evenings it wasn’t too long before she was one of the star turns. To the drums and piano she would sing about three or four standards like “What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For” – A couple of Helen Shapiro songs (apparently they went to the same school) but always finished off with “Ava Nagiela” a traditional Jewish song danced with interlinked arms.
Around that time I had a big old car, a Ford Zodiac mark 1. Sometimes we would be driving home from visiting relations and Pat would sing to me. A favourite song for both of us was Pat Boon’s, I can’t remember what it was called but the first few lines were:
Roses are red my love
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet my love
But not, as sweet as you.
Anyway, one Wednesday night after she had had several “Snowballs” I finally persuaded her (after tons of promises to be gentle) to sit astride me. On that one night we made our daughter, Rita. I know that because we never had sex before or after that night. Of course both our families were pleased to hear that Pat was pregnant and just assumed everything was normal with us. But of course it wasn’t, we were both living a lie.
It was about a year and a bit later that Pat said she had something to confess. Something so terrible that I would probably hit her. Of course I said I would not do that but …….my inner voice cringed with what was to come.
In basically a sentence, she told me, that the night before, she had (as usual after I had gone to bed) sat up playing cards with Jean downstairs and made a pass at her. I could not really take in what she meant and after some tears, was told that she tried to kiss Jean, but Jean would have non of it and told her to xxxx off. I suppose she wanted to confess before Jean told me about it. To be honest I didn’t see that as the most terrible thing that could ever happen and that night in bed, I gently asked her what had gone through her head the night before. Pat then confessed that she had always fancied women and was sure she was a lesbian.
Call me totally naive, but it was not until that moment I realised all the frustrated sexless times I had suffered had a bases that I could finally understand. But, the Jeanne (as in unspoken spectre) was out of the bag. We were a young family, with a daughter and we were not happy…not she with me or me with her.
A while later Pat found herself an evening job in Lesney’s the toy manufacturers and worked from 3 pm to 9 pm. Each evening. She was very happy to be earning a wage (which she jealously kept to herself) and clearly started ( I now realise) to make new friends.
On the other hand, I was working all day and coming home (because I was getting away early) about 4 ish and Jean was looking after Rita in the day along with her own three kids. I then looked after Rita whilst doing the cooking and cleaning that Pat seemed to forget to do each day.
By this time Jean had told me of the incident that night when Pat tried to kiss her and I in turn confessed my pure frustration in not knowing what to do about Pat’s refusal to have sex. It was not long before I had described the one night when Pat had agreed to have sex and Rita was conceived. It wasn’t long after that (women are devious creatures) that Jean made a point of introducing me to her friend Paula.
Paula, was as you might say relaxed about the enjoyment of sex and I am now sure arranged to visit me over several evenings at various times throughout the next months, one night about 7 pm when Pat was at work. Paula and I were on my/our settee watching TV (some wild life programme as I remember) Paula started talking about what she liked in a man’s performance.
Her explicit instructions to kiss her “like this to touch there. In no time at all I was so excited. I think Paula enjoyed showing me what she wanted me to do and it all culminated in her producing the most female animal screams. I was sure somebody would call the police as Paula was making so much noise. I think Jean must have heard her right down in the basement but she never said anything.
That night finished with Paula saying “I’ll be back tomorrow night to give me another lesson”. And, left shortly afterwards. My mind was in a thousand places but shortly after Pat came home.
I won’t dwell too much on the scary approach to the sleazy sex shop under the arches of Hackney Downs Station where I asked to buy “A packet of Three” and coming out (after the guy behind the counter treated me as just a customer) with the required condoms. That evening, whilst Pat was at work, (I never thought it would truly happen, Pearl knocked three times at the front door). I almost tripped over my own imagination when running down those two flights of stairs to usher Paula in. We went straight into the living room….
That settee had never seen action like it. Within moments we were stripping, pulling at clothes, vigorously, and again enjoying an intimacy that I had never ever experienced before with Pat.