Memories of little white lies
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.