On the buses – Sheila’s Story

My mam and I stayed with my Aunty Gwen and Uncle Bob for about a week. They were good times. Aunty Gwen made a big fuss over me and let me bake with her. Uncle Bob liked to drink beer, but it made him happy, not angry like it made my dad. My mam started to relax. We went for walks to the park and to the sweet shop, we ate ice cream every day, even 99’s with the Cadbury’s flake in them. We did all the things we weren’t able to do when my dad was around! Aunty Gwen paid for everything. My mam tried to pay, but she didn’t really have any spare money and Aunty Gwen knew that so she told her to put her money back in her pocket.

We took the bus to Etherly

Eventually we had to leave the comfort we had enjoyed with Aunty Gwen and Uncle Bob and move on to my Uncle Billie’s house. Uncle Bille was too busy to pick us up so we took the bus, it wasn’t a very long ride. Uncle Bille was always working, he had a taxi firm and a garage. My mam said he would work himself into an early grave.

I think he drove buses too because there were always buses parked outside his house. His wife Aunt Vera didn’t work so much, I think she took care of the paperwork for his garage, but she never looked well. She smoked a lot too, my mam said that’s why she wasn’t well. She coughed a lot.

Short rides on buses were fine, long ones made me sick, so I was glad when the bus pulled up outside Uncle Billie’s house. He had a nice house, it was new and my mam said it had all of the ‘mod cons’, I didn’t know what that meant, but I think it was good.

The bus driver helped my mam and I get off the bus with our bags. We still didn’t have all of our clothes with us, but we had a lot to carry. We were hoping Uncle Billie was going to make a trip back to Shildon to pick up the rest of our things.

We walked across to the front door, my mam walked briskly and I walked as slowly as I could, dreading the door opening. The door did not open. It was a frosted glass front door, divided into four panels, with little letter box right in the middle. I could see an image at the other side of the door, an image about my height. It had to be Julian. The letter box opened and a hand came out, a hand making obscene gestures.

My mam put her arm around me and hugged my tight. “It will be alright pet” she said.

The door opened and Uncle Billie stood there looking dishevelled and tired, his wild curly hair falling over his face. My mam said my Uncle Billie ate lots of burnt toast and thats what made his hair curly.  He opened the door and welcomed us. My mam loved her brother, and I knew he loved her back, and wanted to make her safe. Behind him we could see his son standing in the shadows with a smirk on his face. I hoped we wouldn’t stay there long!

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