Homework for Haringey Literary Live.
As I had three fathers, you would think that I would have plenty to write about.
In truth, this is hard to do.
Charles Luz Weguelin is my biological father, he died in nineteen thirty-four when I was two year’s old, and of course I have no memories’ of him.
What I do have is other people’s memories’, but these are sometimes hard to believe.
For instance, I have been told he was privately educated and came from a reasonably wealthy family.
I have only two photos’ of him, one at the age of fourteen as a builder’s labourer on the Wentworth Estate in Sunningdale, and another a year later as a sheet metal worker at the Airscrew Propeller factory in Weybridge, a job he kept until he died at the age of thirty-four.
These are not the sorts of job for a little rich boy.
I can’t even describe him as an adult, as I have no other photos of him.
I am told he was a clock maker/repairer in his spare time, a carpenter making most of his own furniture and generally clever with his hand’s.
There are several examples of this work still about, so this is true.
Fred Barker, joined mum and our family of 6 kid’s, in nineteen thirty-seven.
I always regarded him as my father; yet never called him Dad, it was always just Fred.
It was Fred, who did all the things dad’s do, I wish I had given him credit for this, in the short time we had him with us—just seven years.
He taught me how to play the ‘clappers’, the ‘spoons’ and the mouth organ; he could play a tune on a carpenter’s wood saw by bending and tapping it.
He spent a lot of time with my brother Don and me, teaching us how to cook—mostly chips and pancakes.
None of these skills remain with me now, although Don always was a fine cook, especially with the barbecue.
In nineteen forty-seven, mum married Albert Stacy.
Our family had now shrunk to four children and mum; Albert’s family was also four plus Albert.
Within a year, with marriages coming one after another, the family now totaled six; It was a larger house so we seemed to have more room.
Albert, or ‘Pop’ as he was called, was a very quiet man, I never quite got to know him, but he seemed to keep us all fed and clothed, and was an excellent gardener.
Albert died in nineteen sixtynine.
My mother was always the strong one; from the early days she had to be both mother and father.
My brother Don, just fourteen month’s older than I, was the nearest to a father, he seemed to know what to do in every situation from a very early age.
He carried this role for the rest of his life, being the main man in our family.