When we were boys

Shortly after we are born the rationing from World War II and the subsequent austerity finally ends. Sweets rationing has finished a year earlier and now bacon and meat (somehow considered separate items) are the final items whose removal makes ration books redundant. All ready for us to grow up into a world of plenty which, eventually, we do.

But at the time, the place we are born into still looks as if the war has only recently ended.

The Custom House, 1954. Where Liverpool One now stands.

The Custom House, 1954. Where some of Liverpool One now stands.

Bomb site car parking in 1954 opposite Blackler's Department Store.

Bomb site car parking in 1954 opposite Blackler’s Department Store.

But of course we see none of this, we’re just born after all. Born only days and streets apart, though we won’t meet for another five years.

Our Mums and Dads and their friends?

And they look like this.

Look much like this.

Ties and quite formal dressing up clothes. People look somehow different to how they will later on. Like the team who manage to get relegated from the First Division this year.

Liverpool FC, 1954.

Liverpool FC, 1954.

Maybe it’s the Brylcreem and the short back and sides, but their ears seem very big? How are we looking?

Much like this. I am a very keen cowboy.

Much like this. I am a very keen cowboy.

We are both born in the north of the city.

Breck Road, Anfield, then and now.

Breck Road, Anfield, with tram.

But we don’t stay here. When still quite small we are moved to a northern suburb of Liverpool called Maghull. The houses are built years before most of the shops, as will prove the way with most suburbs. And it looks like this.

Me in 1958, Hillary Crescent, Maghull.

Me in 1958, Hillary Crescent, Maghull.

Very few photographs get taken. This is the only one I’ve got.

When we are five years old we meet. In the first year of St George’s Infants School.

Then with Paul and Tony and the others in our class we begin the serious business of exploring where we’ve ended up. Children roam the land in these days. No one worries about us and we are never threatened.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, near both of our houses.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, near both of our houses.

There is still some working traffic on the canal. And we wait for it at the swing bridge nearest us, swinging out over the canal as they push open the bridge for the barges to go through. In my memories it is, of course, always sunny. And we are always singing ‘From me to you’. The Beatles have started, and we look out for them everywhere.

As well as this we try and get good enough to play for our teams. Him for Everton, me for Liverpool. Even playing ‘Three and in’ in King George’s Park we know the teams might spot our potential.

We grow up and go to big school.

On these Ribble buses.

On these Ribble buses.

And not long after big school is over, we go off and have our lives. He helps me buy my first house. And years later I see a picture of him in a music magazine, buying the same LPs as me.

Then when it’s nearly now, we meet again. There is a reunion with the boys from our class. Then we begin writing together. And what we write, here on this blog, about food, sweets, ice cream and growing up together, gets read every day. By thousands of people now. And it’s put together with such joy and fascination.

Some day soon we’ll go walking together too. Along the tow paths and back lanes of our childhood.  There’ll be no Pendleton’s Twicers, but there will be Barry Ward and Ronnie Hughes. And we’ll probably write about it.

The two of us, from 1954 to now.

The two of us, from 1954 to now.

And Barry on his first bike, in Walton in the 1950s.

And Barry on his first bike, in Walton in the 1950s.

Happy Birthday Barry. Good to be back in touch. Consider this your birthday card!

And big thanks to Keith Jones for the wonderful Breck Road picture.

5 thoughts on “When we were boys

  1. Jan Hasak

    What a touching birthday card! I was born in that era, too, but rationing had been gone for quite some time by that time across the pond.. It’s so interesting to see the differences between Liverpool and upstate New York where I grew up in the early 1950’s. Thank you, as always, for the photo collage and the memories of a unique time in history..

    Reply
  2. Raymond Daley

    I started at St George’s in 1957. It was all one school under Sister Ligouri beside the church before the new Infants opened a couple of years later with Miss Lunt as Head.
    My Mum taught there until 1963.

    Reply
  3. Barbara

    It was interesting reading this. I attended St George’s in Maghull from about 1952 until ! was 11. There were lots of Polish children in my class and out teacher was Mrs Chambers(she had a son Christopher) in our class. I remember Sister Liqouri well. To bunk off from lessons,me and a friend offered to change the towels in the toilets. I was unable to open the door of Mr Keith’s toilet an Sister Liqouri smacked me across the face – I told my Mum years later and she went mad! Apart from that I loved my time walking from the station and paying a visit to Mr Leray’s sweet shop,opposite The Mogul pub. I also remember a Paul Makin,whose Mum ran the Post Office in Station Road. So long ago!

    Reply

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