As a young man out of national service my dad worked on the fair at Hunstanton, I can picture him as a young man, jet black wavy hair Brylcreemed back into a D.A. Handsome as can be.
Mum had gone to the fair with her friend Monica and eventually ended up on the Bumper cars, one of the young men sorting out the snarl ups was my dad.. Apparently he spent the whole of her ride trying to get her to go the right way, something I don’t think he succeeded in doing.
Mum always says they did things in blocks of five, they courted and were engaged for five years in total before they married and then waited another five for me to come along then there is five years between my brother and sister.
They were together from when they first met in 1954 until the day he passed away in 1980. I never saw them exchange an angry word, they were genuinely content in each others company.
We lost him the Christmas of 1980, he had gone out to see a friend and slipped on a patch of ice. His friend found him in the garden, he had banged his head as he fell which caused a bleed which sadly he never recovered from. he was forty nine.
I think of all the things he has missed, all the joyful times in our lives that he would have been thrilled to share, marriages and the birth of their grandchildren. I know he would have spoilt them both with his time and love..
The best times in my life as a child was the time I spent with my dad, as the eldest I went everywhere with him. We never had much money but it was in my child’s eyes a wonderful childhood. Now I know as an adult how hard it was financially for them, Dad had arthritis in his spine which made it hard for him to work but he always did his best for us.
When I was eleven he bought a small stall. I loved it. We had it all kitted out to sell shell fish, he taught me how to dress crabs, shell shrimps and de-worm whelks..(the worm is actually the intestine of the whelk and is inedible.) Most of all he taught me to be a good salesperson. How to make the customers leave satisfied and to ensure they wanted to come back again. You can after all have the most wonderful stock, but if you cannot make the customer feel important, if you don’t seem honest and ethical you will sell very little.
I spent many wonderful hours with him over the next few years on the beach at Heacham but oh how I wish I could have had so many more.
Today is my mum’s 79th birthday, she has been a widow for more years than she was ever a wife but in all the years that followed she is as devoted to his memory as she was to him in life.
Sometimes the greatest love of your life is your one and only love.