My Brother Howard

If he missed the train (which he often did) he would come back from the station and incredibly get back into bed for half an hour

I learned in later life he had been a sickly child.  All I remember was that he was small compared to me and my younger brother Walter, but he seemed alright to us.

He started work at Wallsend Slipway Shipyard as an apprentice fitter in 1946.  He had to be at work for 7.15 am and that for him was a serious problem.  He just would not get out of bed.  The train he caught left Percy Main at 7.05, he sometimes was still in bed at 6.55.  My mother would get so upset, she would have his bait (sandwiches) ready for him (another problem which I will explain later).  He would leap out of bed, dress, grab his bait and shoot out the door.  If he missed the train which he often did, then back he would come and incredibly get back into bed saying “I’ve already lost a ¼ hours pay, I may as well lose ½ hour.  He then would do it all again to be at work for 7.45 am.

He absolutely hated some of the jobs he had to do but he stuck at it and qualified and got his indentures, then for seven years went to sea as an engineer.

His baits for my mother were a nightmare.  He was so fussy, he would often bring it back untouched when my mother asked him what he had to eat it was always ‘a pie’.  If she gave him the same thing twice, he complained, if she varied it he asked why could he not have the things he liked twice.

In later years, after my dad died, I had the job of cooking the dinners when he came in from work.  As I was still at school and my mother was a school cleaner, she left meals on three plates, mine and Walter’s were always the same. Howard’s invariable was something else.  When he got home and depending on what was on his plate, he would complain and on more than one occasion, I lost my temper and threw the meal at him.  He was a constant source of worry to my mam.  I now realise she worried more because of his apparent poor health and small build.

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