I’ve always considered myself perfectly normal, different but normal. I’ve never really been particularly interested in sex one way or the other. I suppose I should have; everybody else seemed to take a great deal of interest in it so I feigned interest and went on my own merry way.
I have the feeling that this “Blog” is going to be one long hard slog with more digressions than usual and that’s saying something.
If I think about it, and I am at the moment, my first encounter was back in 1945-46, probably 45, during the long summer school holiday, and a couple of months after the war finished; some of the boys in our street decided we’d go over to the “Thames” to play. I was the youngest at 10. For no other purpose but to satisfy me the boys were Johnny Brooks, he was the tallest at least 6′ which we all thought funny (not that we’d say anything to him as he was the leader) as his father and mother were both midgets, literally.
He had an uncle who was a big tall man and he took after him. Next came Georgie Letch, George lived next door to Johnny and he didn’t have a mother. Why I’ll never know, I seem to recall he had a much younger sister. George got me a nice thick ear one day. He asked me if I wanted to go to the pictures as he had a few bob in his pocket and enough to take us both to the ‘bug house’ in Barking.
The bug house was an old run down one level picture palace and was cheap to get into. Anyway George and I took the No. 63 bus to Barking and he bought a packet of fags (cigarettes), Weights or Woodbines something like that, a packet of 10 and in we went.
Back then everybody smoked, you smoked on the buses (upstairs only) in the picture palaces anywhere. Anyway George lit up and gave me one and I lit up too, then we lit up again and so on til we’d sat through the picture a couple of times, you could do that then, and finished all the fags.
When I got home my mother asked me where I’d been and I told her I’d been to the pictures with Georgie Letch and she gave me a clipped ear, (for those unknowing these Cockney expressions she hit me, with an open hand to the side of the head; HARD) then accused me of smoking, which I denied vehemently so I got another clip for lying, She said she knew I was lying and had been smoking because I was green!
Next came Alec Rook, he lived next door to the Bartons who had a son a year younger than I, Philly Barton, but he didn’t come with us. Then a boy who’s name escapes me and I doubt I’ll recall it but if I do I’ll update this. I do recall he had asthma or some such thing wrong with him and he was allowed to smoke some special type of cigarette that was mentholated. Nicky Coster made up the last of this group, all these boys were 14 or 15, and Nick was the toughest one of the lot, a terrific boy, his mother and mine were the best of friends, she always called my mother Smith and mine called her Coster, that’s how close they were.
I can remember Mrs Coster come screaming round to our place one day “Smith Smith what have I done (it wasn’t really said like that as she had a Cockney accent and it’s hard to do that in writing) my poor Nicky” ! My mother always calm and bossy in emergencies ask “What have you done this time Coster” or words to that effect and Mrs C said that Nicky had come in from playing over at the Thames and had fallen into a stream and had come home soaaked and covered in mud and she had picked him up and dumped him in the copper.
Now the copper is where there women boiled their washing and they were gas heated from below.
Sure enough Mrs C had forgotten that she hadn’t turned the gas off and Nick was jumping up and down saying “it’s hot mum It’s hot” and couldn’t keep still; so what did she do? She gave him a clip around the ear. Mothers liked giving sons a clip around the ear from time to time. Then she realized what she had done. Panicked and came flying around to my mother who was a great help and burst out laughing her head off.
Did I say Nick was tough? There was one occasion at school he gained the wrath of “Baldy” Easterby the head master at Park Road. Nick was sent from the assembly to stand and wait outside “Baldy’s” office until after assembly when he would be punished. Don’t forget this is the 40’s when teachers were allowed to inflict corporal punishment.
Came time and “Baldy” marched Nick into his office and told him he was going to cane him until he cried. Nick had been caned many times and never murmured one sound. Nick looked him in the eye and said one word “Never”. So “Baldy” got to work on him he thrashed Nicks bare buttocks, (that was how it was done) with all his might until the blood started to run, then he noticed what he had done in his anger and ceased the punishment.
And Nick uttered not a sound and ne’er a tear. Pulled up his trousers and left, he was laid up for a few days but no complaint was ever lodged. These days “Baldy” would be convicted and jailed for assault causing grievous bodily harm.
Well I’ve really gone berserk this time, anyway last in the group was my brother.
The Thames was a great place for boys to play, actually it was the fields leading down to the Thames, I think the proper name for these fields was Scrattons Farm something like that and it must have been a farm back in the old days. It was actually one huge field and during the war it was used for army training of sorts. Bren gun carriers used to tear them up, and there were bunkers where soldiers, I imagine they would probably have been home guard; would practice throwing hand grenades. The Home Guard were there and trained to repel the Germans in an invasion.
Anyway it was a huge field and to the far right, right on the banks of the river was Barking Power Station, I think it was the biggest one in England and supplied most of London’s power up to and during the war, Naturally a prime target for the Luftwaffe especially as right nest door on the other side of the River Roding was the Becton Gas Works which supplied the bulk of gas to London. To the left was the Briggs Motor Body Works & Ford Motors, that’s where my mother drove her steam engine during the war. Spanning the river was the power line running between two very big read high pylons. They had to be high as the lines had to be high enough to allow shipping from the London Docks to pass beneath, which should give you some idea.
I’ve kind of lost my way but I’ll press on regardless and sort this mess out at the finish if it needs sorting!
We’d play amongst the ruins of the bunkers we were pretty good making our sound effects, grenades going off, bombs dropping planes crashing (always jerry) guns firing. Plenty of imagination. After a while we’d get a bit bored and go exploring the fields. There was one place known as “Spunky Bay” I don’t think it was an actual bay although there was plenty of water at the bottom. I think it was a big bomb crater and being close the river water seeped in, anyway it got it’s name from all the used condoms lying around the place.
I had no idea what they were or what they were called, somehow I doubt they were called condoms back then.
And now I’m getting to it, my first encounter with anything sexual, It’s just come to me the name I said I wouldn’t remember Bobby Ringe he’s the boy with the asthma, how odd I never gave it a thought and then his name popped into my head 🙂
All the boys except me lined up shoulder to shoulder and this is where it gets grubby and removed there “dickies” (I referred to the male organ as such back then and for a long time after) and started rubbing them for want of a better word, and they all started to get very excited and the call went up “Shoot” and they did and all marked their shot to see who shot furthest, It was Johnny Brooks and I suppose that’s why he was our leader, he could shoot furthest.
Being completely bewildered when I got home I locked myself in the bathroom and had a look at my “dickie” it looked nothing like any that I’d seen, they were all huge and nothing I did made any difference to mine it just stayed as it always had. So I put it away and forgot about it for some considerable time.
I shall probably come back and continue this but I think this will do for now