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Sunday, 11 August 2013

The World Sort of Dawned on Me and then Elaine Happened


My little sister just seemed to gate crash the whole sha-bang of my early life. I remember often going out along the streets of East London's, Mile End, holding my mothers hand as she took me to the shops. I can remember the big red Route master double decker buses, the black taxis, yellow three wheeled scamel trucks - the main road was full of traffic and everything seemed busy and flowing. I had toy cars of all the vehicles, I looked at. Matchbox made all designs and I remember constantly playing with such toys knowing I saw the designs along the main roads. The world was delightful place and often I recall people making a fuss of me when I was out with my Mum.

Then I seem to recall, standing by a pram by the front door one day waiting for my mum to emerge so we could go to the shops. She came out holding a shawl with my sister's new born head sicking out of it. I'm only eighteen months older then my sister Elaine, but my memory goes back in little flashes, especially the buses, and the taxis, and the shops that I went to. But then one day, my baby sister was there in a shawl. Where did this little person come from? When did she happen?

I remember it was the first time I realised there was another small person in the house. Not just me, Mum and Dad. For the life of me, I can't remember my sister before that. I have no recollection of my mum going away or giving birth. I don't remember a pram or cot with a baby crying in the house before that. I remember being surprised that this baby suddenly appeared when my Mum went back indoors while I was standing next to a pram, but it was not her pram. I was walking but there was a pram before? I knew she went into shops and bought things. I know she bought food in fruit and veg shops, and meat in butchers, and toy cars in toy shops for me, but I could not recall her buying this little baby in a shawl.
I did not have a great deal of interest in Elaine at first because she drank milk from a bottle and cried a lot. She had no interest in cars like my cousins or the neighbours' children, and I could not make out what use she was. When she got older, she had a dummy in her mouth and seemed to like dolls, cuddly bears and a toy pram. I thought this was all rather yucky and boring.
Then one day I remember she was not at home and I grasped she had become ill and taken to hospital. She had caught pneumonia which I was unaware of at the time. I just knew she had gone to hospital, but I thought it was because she cried a lot. Maybe in hospital they might fix the crying. She seemed to be gone a long time and I remember being a little surprised when my Aunt Joan brought me home from playing with my cousin Johnny one day.
Elaine, my sister, was back home in the living room with my Mum, Dad and my Grandfather. Elaine just said to me; "Colin look at this." It was as though she had not even been away or missed me at all.
I went to the armchair and she had some of my toy cars laid out on the chair and was playing with them. I remember thinking the hospital had made her so better that she could now play with cars like the boys. She still played with dolls and prams after, but she knew how to play with cars too.
As we grew up together, we often had our own silly way of saying things. One such sentence that we always used was as follows: "For the last of the old cegg eggs!"
We used it instead of saying: "please try and understand."
I don't know where it came from but we used to say it to each other often, even when we were teenagers. If I could not understand something and Elaine was becoming frustrated at her attempts to get through to me, or visa verse; we would say it as though exasperated. "For the last of the old cegg eggs." One more time - one more try - for God's sake try and understand. 
She was always very determined as a little girl and was usually good at everything she did. At school she was the brightest in the class and while learning to read and write she had a better and faster learning ability than me. I was not dumb or anything, but just the average plodder. Elaine seemed to excel in her education.
We both grew up and Elaine married, I got married too, and had loads of kids, between us. My Mum and Dad were swamped with grandchildren from two off spring. I have four sons and four grand daughters plus one grand son. Elaine has four sons and one daughter and her first grand daughter too. She lives in Cambridgeshire and has riding stables and paddocks and became a deputy head Mistress at an all girls high school. It's hard to imagine her as that little crying baby that gate-crashed my life back in 1962. She's 50 now and when I visit my Mum who lives close by we laugh at Elaine and her antics. She talks to everyone as though we are pupils in her school.
My Dad says so too, but we do love her very much and she never stops having get up and go ideas. She just seems to want to take everyone, in proximity, with her. I tend to keep my distance in case I get caught up mucking out horse stables. LOL.
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