1. Summer 1961

Well, where do I begin, I am 11 years old, I live in Oakley Avenue, Aldridge, West Midlands together with my two elder brothers. We are from a working class family.  My father worked one week days, followed by one week nights, at a steel foundry.  I remember being normal, just like all the other lads in the street.  I had many friends.  We spent time playing football, going down the railway tracks hiding behind bushes, watching steam trains shunting in the goods yards.

When I was 11 years old, I attended Tynings Lane Secondary Modern School, In Tynings Lane, Aldridge, just ¼ of a mile from home.  I didn’t like school, because I wasn’t the brightest of lads.  My problem was that I found it very hard to concentrate because there was so much going on around me.  My brothers and I were taught to respect, the vicar, the policeman, the doctor.  Many a time a policeman in the same avenue would belt us one for climbing over his wall to get our ball.  We took it.  We didn’t tell our mom or dad because you would get another belting, when dad got home.  That was how things were.

On a weekly basis my mother used to send me to Poxon’s butchers, in Station Road, Aldridge, next door to Aurthur Thomas, fruit and veg shop.  I went to the shop probably twice a week to get meat or sausages.  This I did after school, or Saturday mornings. This went on for a few years.  After all, it was safe for kids to be on the streets in those days, or so my parents believed.  On one day, just like any other, I walked to the shop only to find a Triumph Bonneville motor bike standing against the front of the shop.  I still remember standing looking at this massive machine, trying to imagine what it was like to ride.  This was the day that my life changed forever.

2 responses to “1. Summer 1961

  • Jean

    i read ur story with tears in my eyes,as i know only to well the torment u were going through as a child as i went through the same thing myself,its only been the last 2 year that i went ahead and done something about it,my tormenter was my father the person who you trust the most,my abuse started at the young age of about 4,me and my 2 sisters were abused on a regular basis,scared and confused we never told our mam for fear of not been believed,u will go into care he would scoff if we told anyone,so kept the secret until he started his grooming on my 6 year old daughter,thats when things took a turn,we had to stand up in court and relive our nightmare to see him get sentenced to 18 years,certain noises,music,sayings send me into flashbacks even now,i am about to start councilling so i can move forward with my life and hopefully start living it and not have this dirty secret hanging over me. i hope other people read your story and it inspires them to come forward and get there tormentors put behind bars were they belong,i wish you well for the rest of your life and hope you can move on best you can from this you are a very brave person sharing your story with others it takes alot to do what you have done as i think its harder for men to come forward as it is for women,anyway take care and wish you all the health and happiness for the near future x x x jean

    • geoff smith

      Jean,may I say thank you for your kind words.No, like you, I’m not brave,we did what had to be done, that’s all.The most important thing to come out of my story and yours is,life goes on,we are stronger than both of us thought we were.My best wishes to you and all your family.

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