Hold Tight! - No son of ours
Chapter 1
Page 3
Hold Tight!
Chapter 1
1 Introduction
2 Dedication
3 No son of ours
4 Wrong number
5 All change
6 Sign this, fill that
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
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I was the second of five sons to parents who apparently wanted children but not the expense or inconvenience of bringing them up. My father took no interest in me at all and was incapable of standing up to my mother. My mother had never wanted me in the first place and enjoyed being cruel towards me at every opportunity. The rest of the time she simply shut me away, in my room or out in the toilet, out of sight out of mind.

The youngest child died soon after birth and was simply deleted from the family, never to be mentioned again. Although I was only about six at the time, this event and the indifference of my parents affected me greatly. Even before this, my parents attitude to me had been poor. Shortly after starting school I had fallen in the playground and damaged my nose. My parents could not be bothered to get the injury treated properly and the damage remains to this day. I also have deformed feet, caused by wearing small shoes when young. But now neglect would turn to abuse.

The worst incident happened when I was 9 years old. A sum of money was stolen from my mother. I knew who had taken it but my mother decided it had to be me, guilty or not. She extracted a confession by slamming the back of my head against a wall, an extremely frightening experience. My parents marched me down to the local post office where they helped themselves to my savings, the value of my life being one pound and fifteen shillings. This incident was a turning point, making me realise that my mother was capable of harming me and like any child abuser would be able to claim it was my own fault. Today such abuse would result in a prison sentence but at the time I was completely alone, no teacher or social worker was around to protect me.

When I passed the eleven-plus exam I did not expect a new bike like other kids. Indeed I never did get a bike and was not taught to ride one. What I got was a roasting, I was going to cost my parents money and this would never do. Doing well was something I was supposed to avoid. Like the contest we had in the family to guess the licence number of our new car. I won but that could not be allowed so I was disqualified on the grounds that I had looked at other cars and had therefore cheated. My parents tried to get me out of school at fifteen years old so I could earn money for them and not gain any qualifications. I think this was what my mother feared most, the idea that I might do well. In the event I stayed at school until I was sixteen, passing six O'Levels which was more than enough to take A'Levels and possibly continue to university. This was never going to be an option, I would have to leave school and find work. I finished school on a Friday and started work on the following Monday.

My home life and the lack of support from my parents made keeping a job difficult and I lost three in the first two years. I was in danger of achieving exactly what they had wanted for me, failure. No money, no home. My parents had to have their money, I had to find a job. I decided on a radical change of direction, I would be a postman.

My Post Office Savings book showing the forced withdrawal in January 1959.
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