26

My big brothers looking very little.

We lived at number 26 Jellicoe Road until I was 4 years old.

My recollections of that house are small in comparison to what I remember of number 13 which was situated opposite.

26, had a large front room which housed an old gas fire. The kind with the off yellow tiled herth and brass coloured, extendable fire screen. In later years, I would use that screen along with an old sheet and pillows to make a house.

The kitchen sink was white and seemed huge. Nowadays, a sink that people would pay good money for. The significance of it being huge could be connected to a memory of my eldest brother having his mouth washed out with soap by my father. I have a movie in motion – in my mind of Paul being dragged kicking and screaming towards that huge sink by a huge and scary Daddy.

Paul is 7 years older than me.

Poor, poor little boy. What pain he must have endured.

In the hallway by the kitchen was an understairs cupboard and Paul told me some years back that the old man used to lock him in there after a beating.

Mum said she knew nothing about it!

A REJECTION on both counts – parents are supposed to love and protect you.

Upstairs, the floor boards were dark in colour with a few rugs scattered here and there and I remember at some point a large train set being laid out on my brothers floor.

Another vivid memory of living in number 26 is of me having a bath with another little girl who was wailing loudly in utter protest. Our Mother’s were the best of friends and we attended ballet lessons together. The girl had an adopted brother who lived, detatched from their house in a kind of shed-like room and as I grew older when we visited, I knew that was very wrong. He was left out in the cold (literally) and always presented with ill health. Both mother and daughter communicated abruptly to the boy and his obvious exclusion was heartbreaking to watch. I felt sad about the boy who lived outside and I remember asking my Mother why?

There was never a definitive answer.

Even at such a young age, I felt a deep connection for other’s and the natural desire to help them.

Maybe our parents belonged to the, ‘it’s acceptable to abuse children club’ or even, ‘it’s okay to turn a blind eye club’- maybe it was fashionable in the 70’s?

I am choosing to be human in this present moment as I write using sarcasim and a certain defiance. As a therapist I have the skills to look beyond their collective behaviour and begin to understand the reasons why so much abuse was delivered. Of course there is always more to a story and every person that I write about here has their own past that shaped who they became and how they behaved.

For now – just for now, I am tired of being the one that understands, the one that justify’s the one that clarify’s…

It was moving day. I was riding my blue and yellow, hard wheeled little bicycle along the pavement dinging my Magic Roundabout bell. I remember my father hollering at me to STOP because I was heading straight for the road.

All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019

Author: Michelle Denness

Wife, mother to three incredible kids and aspiring writer/poet. I am passionate about sharing personal stories to empower others and this space is for me to be open and free with my thoughts. This is my journey...

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