The Umbrella, 1959

There was an almighty crash and out went a windowpane.

Nothing seemed to go to waste in these times so when an old umbrella turned up it was used as a hockey stick.  All you did was hold it upside down and off you went.  The ball was simply just an old stone lying on the ground, so you took turns at swiping it along the road.  The idea is simple, the further you got the better.  The handle of the umbrella was perfect for this job.

Now we must have belted stones for what seemed like miles before we entered our own street (Appleby Street, North Shields).  As we made our way along the street it was my shot.  With an almighty swing I knocked the stone as far as possible.  At least I thought I had, but no, there was an almighty crash and out went a windowpane.  The lady of the house came out like the wicked witch of the west, breathing fire.  She grabbed me by the ear and dragged me along home.  By this time, I was crying with agony.  Out came dad to listen to what she said and then clout, another couple of thick ears from him!  That was it, off I went like a bat out of hell with the rest of the lads following.

Time came to go back home and in I went.  God, if looks could kill I would be dead there and then.  I got my marching orders to go to the neighbours to say sorry and the usual ‘it’ll never happen again’ speech.  Next day the lad came and put the window in, and of course my backside got a good few smacks, leaving it glowing a rosy red – apparently, it cost quite a few bob to have it fixed, a fortune in those times.

Did it teach us all a lesson?  Yes, if you break a window run like hell and admit to nothing or you will pay the piper.  Happy days!

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