Togetherness


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  1. #1

    Togetherness

    This story was written over twenty years ago. It is my very first story and until now I've never shown it to anyone.

    “Togetherness”


    Mum died three years ago, I was eight at the time. Dad told me she had this lump inside her which made her very ill, he said it was a thing called cancer.

    Shortly after Mum’s death, dad started going to a club for people who had lost a loved one. There he met Carol. Her husband had died from leukemia. She also had a son, he’s called David. Anyway, this thing called fate cast its spell and eventually dad married Carol. On the day of the wedding, both Carol and David moved in with Dad and me.

    I despised David from the moment I clapped eyes on him, now he had come to live with us I despised him even more. If it had just been Carol, I wouldn't have minded so much, but to have another boy in the house, well, how would you feel if you were me?

    David’s a month younger than I am and there’s this one infuriating thing about him that I can’t stand and that is, he cries a lot.

    ‘Cry-baby, cry-baby! Simple David cry-baby!’ I taunt whenever the tears start flowing down his cheeks. Why did he have to be such a sissy?

    God! He’s so puny, I mean really, really puny. I could push him with my little finger and over he would go. He’s also very timid. I know how to handle myself. It comes from what dad used to tell me. “You've got to stick-up for yourself Patrick.” And I do, nobody pushes me around.

    ======

    After the summer holidays, David and I start going to Oakley Comprehensive School. There I team up with my mates Trevor, Ian, Richard and Jason who were with me at Garth Primary. David wanders off on his own and I notice what looks like the heavy mob sidle across the playground to give him the once over.

    A fat ugly looking boy with hair that’s so untidy it looks as though he’s been dragged through a hedge backwards starts picking on David.

    ‘Little queer boy, eh?’ he says.

    ‘Let’s bash him up,’ snarls his mate who looks even uglier. His nose resembles a pig’s snout and because of this, I decide to call him Pigface.

    There are five boys in this mob, who begin to push David to the concrete surface of the playground. Now you would think that I would enjoy all this, but I didn’t. I became angry with these boys who were inflicting pain and torture on David. But more importantly, I became angry with myself as I saw something about myself that I didn’t like. I was jealous of David and I shouldn't have been. Jealousy was the one thing Mum hated.

    ‘Come-on, let’s sort this lot out,’ I say to the others, and as I rush over to where the mob is standing, I clench my fists ready for battle and when I reach the mob, I punch Pigface straight in the guts.

    ‘Leave him alone,’ I barked at him. Then Richard starts to lay into the group, as does Ian. Now Trevor who is a good footballer lets go with his feet and kicks the fat boy where it will hurt the most. No sane person messes with Jason. But these idiots weren’t to know that his dad runs a Karate School. The fight seemed to take ages, but it only lasted a minute or so, after that, we were never bothered by the heavy mob again.

    David looked so pitiful lying on the playground, ‘are you all right?’ I ask him as I help him to his feet.

    ‘Yes,’ he sobs, as the tears run down his pink cheeks where they fuse with the blood that is streaming from his nose.

    ‘You’ve got one hell of a black-eye,’ I tell him, ‘it looks as though somebody’s spread blackberry jam all over it.’

    ‘Have I,’ he asks, trying to force a smile from his lips.

    ======

    When we arrive home from school, we find dad has finished work early. He’s a press photographer, sometimes he gets home early when there are no more assignments for him to do.

    As we enter the kitchen, dad sees the state David is in and storms into me like the hurricane that had just hit the coast of Florida.

    ‘You’ve caused enough trouble with David and now you’ve started fighting with him. Carol and I have just about had enough! Do you understand?’

    I’ve never seen Dad so angry, and as I look at him, I fidget with my hands and begin to shuffle my feet on the floor.

    ‘It wasn’t Patrick’s fault,’ says David.

    ‘What?’ asks dad.

    ‘What David is saying is true, I didn’t fight with him.’ Then I relate what happened at school. As I'm telling the story, I see dad grip the back of one of the kitchen table chairs.

    ‘Forgive me Patrick,’ he says, as his scarlet cheeks return to their normal pinkish-white colour. ‘With all the trouble we have had, I naturally assumed you were to blame, but now I know you’re not, I would like to say how proud I am of the way you and your friends came to the aid of David.’

    ‘I’ll second that,’ said Carol helping David out of his red school blazer. ‘You know Patrick, if you had been my natural son, then I would have been ashamed of the way you have treated David. But now, after what you’ve done for him, I am equally proud of you the way your dad is.’

    When Carol spoke those words, I felt a shiver go from the back of my neck to the bottom of my spine. It wasn’t a shiver that you get on a cold day; it was one of those shivers you get when you hear certain pieces of music.

    ‘Come-on, David, let’s get you out of this blood stained shirt and get those wounds attended to.’ David and his Mum leave us, through the open door I hear the sound of running water coming from the bathroom.

    ‘When Mum died, it hurt so much,’ I said to Dad. ‘It’s still hurting now and I miss her terribly, you’re all I’ve got. I never thought of David and how he felt when his father died. Because he’s the way he is, I now know that it must have been worse for him than it was for me.’

    As I spoke, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but I never betrayed my feelings to Dad. As I looked over to him, I noticed he was wiping his eyes, which had traces of moisture in them.

    ‘You’re growing-up Patrick,’ he said as though he had a frog in his throat, ‘sooner than I expected.’

    ‘I never thought about you either, I’m sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused with David and that I was so selfish. I’ll try and make it up to him as best I can and I promise I’ll take care of him.’

    ‘It can’t have been easy for you or David, perhaps Carol and I should share some of the blame. We should have thought it through before we committed ourselves but we didn’t. I guess we never thought about the implications of bringing you and David together.’

    ======

    Now whenever inspiration knocks on your door, you should invite it in at all costs and it certainly knocked on my door while I was listening to Dad. Having invited it in, it began to remind me of the Scout Troop I belonged to.

    ‘That’s it!’ I shrieked. ‘It’s the best thing I’ve thought of in a long time, why don’t I ask David if he would like to join the Scout Troop?’

    Dad looked at me across the table and when he had recovered from the shock of my outburst, he shook his head and gave me that puzzled look that he gave when he tried to tell me where babies came from.

    ‘That’s another thing Patrick, I think you forgot one of your Scout Laws about being Friendly and Considerate to David when you first met him and you didn’t show respect for him either.’

    Dad had hit a raw nerve, he was right, and I felt ashamed of myself for doing so. ‘I know that now,’ I said, ‘and I’m sorry.’

    ‘Oh well, what’s done is done,’ sighed Dad,

    ‘I don’t know whether David would want to go?’ he said scratching his head.

    ‘You make friends easily, David doesn’t mix well, he's a bit of a lone wolf. If you really think the Scouts would be good for him, then it would be better if you suggested it to him, if we do, he’ll only think we’re trying to pressurize him into joining.’

    To say I had a problem on my hands was an understatement. I lay awake for ages that night trying think of a way to tackle it. The first opportunity arose the next morning at school.

    ‘It’s not like school!’ I told David.

    ‘You’ll be able to learn lots of things,’ said Richard.

    ‘Like how to do first-aid,’ said Ian.

    ‘And cooking don’t forget,’ added Trevor.

    ‘Then there’s summer camp,’ Jason put in.

    By now you’ll have gathered, that as well as being good schoolmates, we are all
    members of the same Scout Troop.

    All that week and the week after that, the five of us did our best to get David along to the Scouts, but he would have none of it. He would just shrug his shoulders and say, ‘I don’t know?’

    Then shortly after tea on Scout night, Carol had a go at him. ‘Why not go along with Patrick tonight and have a look for yourself,’ she says. ‘And if you like it and want to join, then that’s fine. If you don’t, then we wont say another word about it, will we Patrick?’

    ‘That’s right,’ I put in.

    David looked across at his Mum, then to me and back to his Mum again. ‘All right,’ he sighs as though he’s in one of his huffs.

    ‘Then it’s agreed, not another word if you don’t like it.’

    ======

    Peter Watson is our Scout Leader and we call him Skip. I introduce David to him and Skip holds out his left-hand for David to shake it. David looks puzzled until I explain that all Scouts shake with the left-hand as it’s the hand closest to the heart.

    Anyway, the night progresses and just as we are leaving, Skip comes over to our Patrol and asks David what he thought of the Scouts.

    ‘You were right,’ David says to me and the others, ‘its not like school, it’s better, much better.’

    ‘I knew you’d like it,’ I said grinning to him.

    ‘Then you’ll be coming back next week?’ Skip wanted to know.

    ‘You try and stop me,’ says David.

    Have you ever heard the sound of an articulated truck’s air brakes when it stops at the traffic lights? Well that’s what it sounded like when the others and I breathed a sigh of relief when we heard David say that.

    The following day, David told me that it was the way he was accepted into the Troop that had made up his mind for him.

    ‘I really didn’t want to go,’ he said, ‘but when I got there everybody was so kind and they made me feel most welcome, it’s as if they had known me all their lives.’

    ‘They were only obeying the Scout Law by showing you courtesy and friendliness which is more than I did when you came to stay with us.’

    ‘At my old school, everybody used to pick on me and I thought that would happen if I went to the Scouts, but they didn’t.’

    ‘Well, you can relax David, because you’re amongst friends now, friends who care about you.’

    In the following weeks, my mates and I together with Colin Wilson our Patrol Leader show David the ropes and what was needed to become a Scout. Then the week before his investiture, Skip suggests to David that it was about time he went into uniform.

    ‘After all,’ he told David, ‘you look like a fish out of water in your jeans and T-shirt while all the others are wearing their uniform.’

    ‘You look stunning,’ I told David when I saw him in his new Scout uniform for the first time. His dark green Scout shirt and beige trousers suited him down to the ground.

    Then I saw something I wished I hadn’t. I saw the familiar sign as David began to pout his lips.

    As I looked at him, I noticed the expression on his face; it was an expression of grim determination to hold back the tears that were welling up in his eyes. He had summoned up every ounce of courage in his soul and I was willing him to win the fight.

    Then out of the corner of his mouth came the chink of a smile, which grew so big that it would have dwarfed the Grand Canyon. He had won the fight.

    ‘David, you’re not a wimp or a sissy as I once thought you were. You’ve got guts, more guts than I will ever have. I wouldn’t dare let anybody see me cry the way you do. I was beastly to you right from the moment I first saw you and I hope you will forgive me for it.’

    ‘There’s nothing to forgive,’ said David offering his left-hand for me to shake it.

    His hand felt warm and from it, David exuded a warmness in me that I had never felt before. I had plenty of mates, but the one thing I didn’t have was a brother and here I had a ready made one, well, step-brother anyway.

    ‘You’re all right David, and I’m happy to have you for a step-brother.’

    ‘Me too,’ he replied.

    The night of David’s investiture was the best night of my life. We had invited dad and Carol to it, as it was the custom for parents to be present whenever a boy of theirs was invested into the Scouts.

    Now I’m not one for eavesdropping, but what Carol told Skip about me, sent the shiver down my back again. She said David had found inner strength through me and that I had brought him out of his shell.

    ‘I’m sure Patrick has a better understanding of himself too,’ Skip said.

    ‘I’m sure he has,’ replied dad, ‘and I’ll tell you another thing, in the past few weeks, I have had this feeling that the boys have finally bonded.’

    Dad was right, the bond had become so strong that it would have taken an act of God to pull it apart.


    The End.
    Last edited by Anthony-Richard; October 31st, 2017 at 11:17 AM.
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

  2. #2
    I realize it has been twenty years and no one else has read this so I am kind of honored to be the first to be able to comment on your work.


    You start out strong, clear and concise writing. I was lost at this paragraph and re-read it 3 or 4 times and I'm still not sure how it fit in.

    I became angry with myself as I saw something about myself that I didn’t like. I was jealous of David and I shouldn't have been. Jealousy was the one thing Mum hated.

    More info or context is needed.


    You need breaks in your writing. I would cut this into chapters you seem to have some great lessons that can be passed on. In the natural break in your story line when you switch gears, I would draw a conclusion, then start a new chapter with each learned lesson behind and the new lesson and experience be the next chapter.




    Good story, well crafted catching the feelings and emotions that you had at the time.

    Welcome to the forum
    Bob
    Last edited by Plasticweld; October 31st, 2017 at 12:18 AM.
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  3. #3
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Hi,

    This is a very touching story. I found I was able to relate to alot of it.

    One thing is you tend to use a fair few comma splices; eg:

    Mum died three years ago,[<- there] I was eight at the time.
    You make friends easily,[<- there] David doesn’t mix well,[<- there] he's a bit of a lone wolf.

    A few here and there are perfectly okay if the narrating character would express things that way, but too many - particularly in your opening line - risk looking like errors or oversights. Try full stops, m-dashes, semi-colons, conjunctions and so on, and se what it does to the flow.

    The other issue I had is: what is the arc of the story? I suppose, if it is a kids' story, the resolution of the two boys becoming friends is good, but the middle part is (and this is in a way a good thing) very tense, to the point where I couldn't see how these kids would ever resolve their differences. The narrator's coming to the defence of David seemed to be the trigger incident but there was so much pushing against such a neat resolution I struggled a bit to believe it. Just something to think about really. In general it is a pretty decent piece of writing. Hope this helps


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  4. #4
    Hello Bob,

    Thanks for you comments, which I've taken on board.

    You start out strong, clear and concise writing. I was lost at this paragraph and re-read it 3 or 4 times and I'm still not sure how it fit in.

    I became angry with myself as I saw something about myself that I didn’t like. I was jealous of David and I shouldn't have been. Jealousy was the one thing Mum hated.

    The seed of that story was sewn over fifty years ago, I'm planning on giving some background to how I came to write it. I'll do that in a few days time, then you'll see how your comment fits into the story.

    I didn't think chapters were necessary in short stories, a book yes but not a short story. I'd be grateful if you could give me an example of where to place natural breaks in the story.

    73s (amateur radio talk for best wishes)

    Anthony-Richard
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

  5. #5
    Hello Charles,

    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Hi,

    This is a very touching story. I found I was able to relate to alot of it.

    One thing is you tend to use a fair few comma splices; eg:

    Mum died three years ago,[<- there] I was eight at the time.
    You make friends easily,[<- there] David doesn’t mix well,[<- there] he's a bit of a lone wolf.

    A few here and there are perfectly okay if the narrating character would express things that way, but too many - particularly in your opening line - risk looking like errors or oversights. Try full stops, m-dashes, semi-colons, conjunctions and so on, and se what it does to the flow.
    Thanks for pointing out the amount of comma splices there are in the story. I've seen dashes in a the text of a novel or a short story, but I've never known why an author puts them in there.

    The other issue I had is: what is the arc of the story? I suppose, if it is a kids' story, the resolution of the two boys becoming friends is good, but the middle part is (and this is in a way a good thing) very tense, to the point where I couldn't see how these kids would ever resolve their differences. The narrator's coming to the defence of David seemed to be the trigger incident but there was so much pushing against such a neat resolution I struggled a bit to believe it. Just something to think about really. In general it is a pretty decent piece of writing. Hope this helps
    As you said there was a lot you could relate to in Togetherness, Much of it is based on personal experience of a certain time in my life. I'm going to expand on this when I explain the background to Togetherness in a few days time.

    Kind regards,

    Anthony-Richard
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony-Richard View Post
    Hello Charles,



    Thanks for pointing out the amount of comma splices there are in the story. I've seen dashes in a the text of a novel or a short story, but I've never known why an author puts them in there.
    Anthony,

    This is very well written and you clearly have some talent. I enjoy the crisp style.

    Like most YA work I struggle with the voice simply because I do not find the voice realistic whatsoever for an eleven year old. For instance I struggle to believe an eleven year old would talk about the air brakes on an articulated truck and use those exact words. I also really find it hard to believe an eleven year old would use a sentence like "Now whenever inspiration knocks on your door, you should invite it in at all costs and it certainly knocked on my door while I was listening to Dad." These are the words and observations of adults.

    I realize in order to support any coherent literary style whatsoever in a story one must often push the limit of what is believable. The only reason I bother mentioning it is because (1) You clearly define in your opening sentence that we are to imagine this is an eleven year old speaking to us ("Mum died three years ago, I was eight at the time.") so there's no way I cannot judge it in such terms and (2) You actually do adopt the 'child voice' quite often in sentences such as "Dad told me she had this lump inside her which made her very ill, he said it was a thing called cancer" and "Anyway, this thing called fate cast its spell and eventually dad married Carol." This creates a weird schizophrenia.

    I mean, let me get this straight: I am to believe this narrator-character eleven year old preteen knows about articulated trucks and air brakes but does not know what cancer is? I am to believe that they know the meaning of "inspiration" but are a little uncertain when it comes to "fate"? Do you see how that stretches the credibility of the character?

    It almost sounds like you want to go all in and adopt the language, thought patterns, and general observational habits of an eleven year old but also want to hold on to your solid imagery, metaphors and polished turns-of-phrase. It almost seems like you change your mind about this from line to line. Unfortunately you cannot do this. It's one of those 'one or the other' type choices. I am trying in my head to forge a clear idea of this character but what I actually imagine in my mind is a man pretending to be a boy and occasionally forgetting himself.

    Personally I would scratch the attempt to write as a kid altogether and instead change it so you are writing as a man reminiscing about his childhood. This gives you the advantage of being able to use the kid's point of view but allows you to incorporate the more mature references and deeper understanding of things. It allows you to essentially have the best of both worlds and will probably be a little easier to write since, I assume, you are an adult.

    It's up to you of course. Admittedly I have rather a problem with this aspect of YA in general (we all just got done having a big ol' rumble about this very subject in Writing Discussion) but I am trying to be open to it as I myself learn more about this genre. Which is why I am venturing in with my critiquing pen

    I agree with the comments about the comma splices. I would also caution against using too many dashes or semi colons and look to use straightforward periods (full stops) where possible. Nothing against more intricate punctuation but if you are unsure then breaking compound sentences down into individual ones and dispensing with the splicing and dicing altogether is better. I personally very seldom use semi colons and dashes are more for inserting side notes "The man's smile - which was toothless and gray - appeared across the crowd" or tags "She went to the door and the handle was stiff - locked." There are few instances when a period cannot be used with minor jigging and everybody knows how to read this. Obviously you are writing for a younger readership so simplicity is even more vital.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by VonBradstein View Post

    I mean, let me get this straight: I am to believe this narrator-character eleven year old preteen knows about articulated trucks and air brakes but does not know what cancer is? I am to believe that they know the meaning of "inspiration" but are a little uncertain when it comes to "fate"? Do you see how that stretches the credibility of the character?
    I had less of a problem with this than you. It was clear to me that at age eight he hadn't heard of cancer -- until his dad told him his mother had it.

    Mum died three years ago, I was eight at the time. Dad told me she had this lump inside her which made her very ill, he said it was a thing called cancer.
    Actually, since she died when he was eight, she was probably diagnosed at least a year earlier. So would a seven year old know about cancer? Not likely. Even less likely at six.

    As for the air brakes, etc, I once met a six year old who had an astounding depth of knowledge on all things related to trains. According to his parents, he was average or below average on other subjects. So an eleven year old knowing quite a bit about trucks but not knowing about fate is also believable.

    OP, I think you captured the youthful voice well. I wouldn't be surprised to learn you were still a child when you wrote this. Those comma splices/ runon sentences are common among early writers.

    I wonder if this can be turned into a picture book. Maybe leaving out the cancer part, because picture books are both short and limited to only one subject. Anyway, nice story.

  8. #8
    Hi Anthony-Richard. You received a lot of good suggestions and advice on this piece, so I will keep it short. It was great! I loved it. I got tearful a couple of times; I'm a weepy sort. LOL. Anyway, I was trying to determine who your audience would be. For example, there were a couple of moments where the dialogue made me think this is what, as parents, we would like our children to think or do, but kids usually don't do it that perfectly. I don't really know how realistic is was to have Patrick make such a leap in such a short period of time. The bullying, however, was a excellent platform for that transition from distrust and dislike to affection; I just don't think it would have happened that quickly. I think there could be more than just the bullying. David lost his dad; he has no skill at defending himself. Maybe Patrick could consider that. Maybe one of Patrick's friends could have had a similar experience and talk to him about how he felt when his dad died. Did he cry a lot? Was he shy at first? I think Patrick needs more information at that age, to make this stunning transference. Is this making any sense? And I would like to see it take a little longer. Maybe he could be more observant of his new step-brother. He did notice when he was in the playground that he was alone, but it wasn't until the mob approached him the he was motivated to act. At one point Patrick's friends all rallied around David - how did that come about? This is truly a wonderful story, and I think with all the information you have received, and maybe fleshing it out a little more, it could be awesome! Thanks so much for letting us read your work. You have a gift.

  9. #9
    Thank for your comments, they are very much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    As for the air brakes, etc, I once met a six year old who had an astounding depth of knowledge on all things related to trains. According to his parents, he was average or below average on other subjects. So an eleven year old knowing quite a bit about trucks but not knowing about fate is also believable.
    I was wondering the same thing. I used to be fascinated with earthmoving machinery when I was a kid. I knew all the names of companies who built them such as Caterpillar, Drott, Allis Chalmers etc.

    OP, I think you captured the youthful voice well. I wouldn't be surprised to learn you were still a child when you wrote this.
    I was 50 when I wrote Togetherness. I've kept a very young mind and this helps me to write stories like it. I entered puberty much later than most of my peers, my voice didn't break fully until I was around 20 - this often resulted in much teasing as it would fluctuate between soprano and tenor in the middle of something.

    I wonder if this can be turned into a picture book. Maybe leaving out the cancer part, because picture books are both short and limited to only one subject. Anyway, nice story.
    I very much doubt it as I'm not an illustrator.

    Regards,

    Anthony-Richard
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SueC View Post
    Hi Anthony-Richard. You received a lot of good suggestions and advice on this piece, so I will keep it short. It was great! I loved it. I got tearful a couple of times; I'm a weepy sort. LOL. Anyway, I was trying to determine who your audience would be. For example, there were a couple of moments where the dialogue made me think this is what, as parents, we would like our children to think or do, but kids usually don't do it that perfectly. I don't really know how realistic is was to have Patrick make such a leap in such a short period of time. The bullying, however, was a excellent platform for that transition from distrust and dislike to affection; I just don't think it would have happened that quickly. I think there could be more than just the bullying. David lost his dad; he has no skill at defending himself. Maybe Patrick could consider that. Maybe one of Patrick's friends could have had a similar experience and talk to him about how he felt when his dad died. Did he cry a lot? Was he shy at first? I think Patrick needs more information at that age, to make this stunning transference. Is this making any sense? And I would like to see it take a little longer. Maybe he could be more observant of his new step-brother. He did notice when he was in the playground that he was alone, but it wasn't until the mob approached him the he was motivated to act. At one point Patrick's friends all rallied around David - how did that come about? This is truly a wonderful story, and I think with all the information you have received, and maybe fleshing it out a little more, it could be awesome! Thanks so much for letting us read your work. You have a gift.

    Togetherness – Origins

    I hope you will find what follows will give you some insight as to how I drew on certain events of my boyhood, which would in time become the story I called Togetherness.

    When I was a boy, mom was a member of a concert party, which played the local clubs and bars, and occasionally further afield. There were six members of the party along with John Dawson who provided the transport for it. He was married to Edith who had three children. Frank the eldest who is two years older than me, his younger sister Mary and finally Paul who was three. Frank was a member of the 9th St. Benedict’s Scout Troop, on hindsight, I wished he'd tried to get me to join. It's something I bitterly regret not doing at the time.

    In September 1958 I started going to Haldane Hill Secondary Modern School having left the juniors at the start of the summer holidays. Frank also went to the same school and on my first morning he called for me and then we called for some of his friends.

    After the summer holidays, David and I start going to Oakley Comprehensive School. There I team up with my mates Trevor, Ian, Richard and Jason who were with me at Garth Primary. David wanders off on his own and I notice what looks like the heavy mob sidle across the playground to give him the once over.
    Frank was my guardian angel in that he watched over me and if there were any signs of someone bullying me he would step in and put a stop to it.

    There are five boys in this mob, and they begin to push David to the concrete surface of the playground. Now you would think that I would enjoy all this, but I didn’t. I became angry with these boys who were inflicting pain and torture on David. But more importantly, I became angry with myself as I saw something about myself that I didn’t like. I was jealous of David and I shouldn’t have been. Jealousy was the one thing Mum hated.

    ‘Come-on, let’s sort this lot out,’ I say to the others, and as I rush over to where the mob is standing, I clench my fists ready for battle and when I reach the mob, I punch Pigface straight in the guts.
    Sadly for me the Dawson’s emigrated to New Zealand in 1960 and shortly afterwards the bullying toward me at school started.

    ============

    Mavis Thompson (or aunt Mavis) was another member of the concert party, she and mom were close friends. She was married to Bill, they had three sons, the eldest was Ian, then Alan and finally Raymond who is a year younger than me.

    It was sometime in September 1956 that Raymond had to go into hospital as he had an appendicitis. In those days if you were a kid and had an appendicitis you weren’t allowed back to school for at least two to three months. I don't know the full story as to why arrangements were made for Raymond to come and stay with us while he recuperated from his operation. There may have been some kind of domestic crisis at his home.

    I despised David from the moment I first clapped eyes on him, now he had come to live with us; I despised him even more. If it had just been Carol, I wouldn’t have minded so much, but to have another boy in the house, well, how would you feel if you were me?
    I didn't despise Raymond, we were quite friendly toward one another and we remained friends for many years. Mom said years later that she was ashamed of me the way I had become jealous of Raymond when he moved in with us.

    I was jealous of David and I shouldn’t have been. Jealousy was the one thing Mum hated.
    I thought it grossly unfair that he didn't have to go to school where as I did.

    I recall one Sunday night Raymond had been annoying me all evening. As we were sleeping together, I shared my bed with him. Anyway, he finally provoked me and I punched him on the face. He retaliated. I punched him again. This went on until my parents stepped in and put an end to the fight. They took us down to the kitchen where we had our wounds attended to. It was decided, I would sleep with dad, while Raymond slept with mom. The next morning over breakfast Raymond and I made up, I guess it cleared the air.

    He went home for Christmas, but came back for a short time in the new year of 1957. The last time I saw Raymond was sometime in the 1970s.

    Of course, little did I know at the time when all these events were happening, they would give me an idea for a story much later in my adult life.
    "Rules were written for the obedience of fools
    and guidance of wise men"

    "Goodnight John-Boy."

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