Sheila was four years old that fateful day when her and her mother left her childhood home. She was too young to remember much about it, other than they had no clothes, no money and nowhere to go. Her mother was sobbing silently for a while, but then pulled herself together. She was holding Sheila’s hand tightly.
“Where are we going mam?” she asked her mother.
“To Mrs. Matthews house pet, I promised I would give her a perm” her mother replied.
Sheila couldn’t understand why her mum would be going to give someone a perm right now. Feeling her stare, her mother looked down at her and said “we need the money, we have to get a bus to your Grandma’s house so we can sleep there tonight”. Sheila didn’t think there would be room to sleep at her Grandma’s house. It only had one bedroom, it was an ‘old folks bungalow’. Still her mother knew best.
They walked to Mrs Matthews house, stopping on the way to make a phone call. Sheila stood outside of the red phone box waiting for her mum. She could have stood inside, but those telephone boxes smelled awful. Her mum was sobbing again when she finished her phone call.
“Whats wrong mam?” Sheila asked.
“Grandma doesn’t have room for us Pet, we will be staying with Uncle Ronnie for a while”
Sheila shivered, Uncle Ronnie was nice, but he had a son called Joe. Joe wasn’t nice, he wasn’t nice at all! She had heard her mam say there was something wrong in his head. He made Sheila do awful things she didn’t want to do. She shivered again as they walked along the road hand in hand until they reached Mrs Matthews house.
Mrs Matthews had a phone which Sheila’s mother used, leaving four pennies to cover the cost of the call. She made arrangements for her brother (Uncle Ronnie) to come and pick her up after she finished the perm. Sheila felt like crying now because her mam was safe from beatings, but Sheila didn’t know how things would turn out for her with Joe around. She didn’t say anything though because she wanted her mam to be safe.