Mem­o­ries of lit­tle white lies

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

Ihave re­cently been cleans­ing my soul with mem­o­ries of my ado­les­cence and they have had quite a cathar­tic ef­fect on me. It’s like (I can only as­sume) go­ing to a con­fes­sional and re­leas­ing some demons that have haunted me in my mid-life ob­scu­rity. This week how­ever, I’m go­ing to tell you of a cou­ple of things that have hap­pened to some child­hood ac­quain­tances of mine. There are things we say to our off­spring that we think may help them be bet­ter peo­ple, and we all have mem­o­ries of some of the bla­tant “white” lies that were told to us as kids – but all done in a car­ing shar­ing ca­pac­ity. When I was about 10 I was play­ing “run outs” with some of my mates. “Run outs” is ba­si­cally hide and seek and this could take in nearly half of Stan­hope. The ob­jec­tive was to get to a place that was des­ig­nated as “home” be­fore you could be caught, it whiled away many a bor­ing sum­mer hol­i­day. Well, me and my best bud Nicky Smith were off hid­ing, wait­ing for the time to be right to make our move to­wards “home”. Sud­denly, Nicky, in quite a dis­tressed state told me to call an am­bu­lance. He had gone ashen in the face and was breath­ing rather er­rat­i­cally. My mum al­ways made sure I had plenty of 2ps on me in case of an emer­gency and for­tu­nately we were close to a phone box near Stan­hope Square. I got the am­bu­lance op­er­a­tor on the phone and ex­plained what was hap­pen­ing. They asked to speak to Nicky to ex­plain fur­ther. The ker­fuf­fle was soon over when he was told that swal­low­ing his chew­ing gum, al­though not a good idea, would NOT kill him. It turned out, that Nicky’s mum, to stop him do­ing the afore­men­tioned swal­low­ing of gum, told him that if he did, the gum would wrap it­self round his heart and kill him. A bit harsh I thought but I un­der­stood the sen­ti­ment. Nicky had ac­ci­den­tally swal­lowed his gum and thought he was on his way out. I’m sure he has for­given his mum since. But this one is even more ex­traor­di­nary. An­other friend of mine Terry Walker and I were out on the field play­ing foot­ball. My dad had given me two shiny six­pences to buy an ice-cream when the van turned up. The ex­cite­ment we felt as we saw the van ap­proach­ing around the ring road is hard to ex­plain. As we ran to get our po­si­tion in the queue, the bells started to jin­gle to warn every­one he was here. But Terry just burst into tears, he was in­con­solable and we missed out on our cor­net be­cause of his out­burst. When he had fi­nally calmed down enough to hold a con­ver­sa­tion, it turns out that his mum had told him that when the chimes rang it meant the van had run out of ice-cream. This of course was not a ma­li­cious act, it’s just that times were hard and there was not al­ways money for a 99, so there was a method in the mad­ness even though it does seem a tad ex­treme.

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