Twelfth Street Rag.

We all know the human brain is the most amazing thing, its ability to recall, in the greatest of detail, a scene from years ago, is astonishing.

This happens to me quite often; always in the early hours of the morning—this is the time I find the subject of most of my stories. It is 2:30 am; I am wide awake; and I know I will not be able to sleep until I have entered this as a possible memoir into my computer.

The ‘seed’ that woke me so early in the morning, was ‘planted’ the previous evening—I was trying to remember the name of a Dixieland band of the 1940’s. As soon as I am awake, I have the band’s name, Pee Wee Hunt; once I have that, my amazing brain takes me back sixty-five years to a few minutes of sheer panic.

  It is December 1955, I am with my girl-friend Ann, in her parent’s front room. They have taken her young brother, Les, to see a Christmas pantomime, and as most courting couples will tell you, we are making the most of a couple of hours on our own.

Her new Collard record player is belting out Twelfth Street Rag, by………… Pee Wee Hunt! The coal fire is glowing, the room is full of the smell of burnt toast and Marmite. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Ann’s parent’s walk past the window.

It all seems to be happening in slow motion, that is until I feel my spine fill with ice.  In a moment, Ann is fully dressed and at the back door before they reach it. Leaving me, a panic-stricken wretch trying to gather myself together in the front room. All this is as clear to me now, as the day it happened.

Wind forward to a 2019, my wondrous memory is beginning to play tricks, I can remember a moment of time sixty-five years ago, that can be pulled out just by the faintest smell or sound; but can’t remember something that happened just a few moments ago.


Author: madeinchertsey

Born in 1932, this is a collection of stories of my childhood growing up in Chertsey, and some stories of my later life.

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