Sunday, 19 June 2011

Thirty Odd Years Ago

I keep borrowing my brother Paul's words for my blog, but the truth is he was a better writer than I'll ever be. There are many tragedies about his too-short life but the saddest is that his son will grow up not knowing his biological father, like Paul before him. This is something he wrote about being without a father many years ago:

My sixth summer saw me fatherless and trying to work the world out, unconscious to the gravity of each, neither weighed me down.

I thought Queen morphed into Abba, variations on a theme of Mamma Mia, for a while; then, that there were just three teams in League Division One.

The end of World War Two had been just thirty years before and my Grandad would stomp round to use the phone. He never knocked.

School was Gothic, sometimes vomit spoilt the day. Church would always hold my soul, television grabbed my bones.

Football sticker albums taught me where things were and Celtic’s not a place, and things grow on nun’s noses. All I’ll recall of Sister Liam is her face, and Sister Aloysius held me both in fear and thrall.

I had a little book of saints, treasured art, that ended in the toilet; as I say, the downfall of the Nazis had been thirty years before.

I found a dead mouse in the garden, which upset me. I understood for the first time nothing lasts forever.

Paul Maddocks

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