SkemNews are pleased to announce that we will be publishing a selection of articles written by the Skelmersdale Writers’ Group. All rights remain with the Skelmersdale Writers’ Group.
Whatever Happened to Bobby Vee?
By Cath Cole
It smells cold in here. Don’t tell me, that soddin central heating’s not clicked on again. What time is it? Seven o’ clock, I’d best shape miself and make a move. Where are mi clothes? What the hell has that, so called, carer she done with em? There they are plonked on the bedding box. I’ve told her time and again to put em on the end of the bed, stupid bugger. How am I expected to reach em from here?
Thank God my lovely Rita can’t see me or the state this place has got into. Last thing she said to me was “look after the house, love, try and keep it nice.” I did try, for a week or two but it wasn’t for me, dusting and hoovering – women’s work. She was house proud, liked everything just so. We always had to have the best. Old Charm furniture and curtains by some special fella, now what were his name? William Moore. No, not Moore. Summat to do with motors – Morris – that’s it, William Morris. She’d go bloody mad if she could see me sleeping down here, in her dining room. All that expensive furniture shoved to one side. Busy bodies who came to shift stuff around wanted me to have mi bed in the front. Said I’d be able to see out.
“Not on your Nellie,” I told em. “Nosey bloody neighbours gawping in, more like.”
Steady now, lad. Swing your legs round and ease your feet down. Where’s the bloody rug? Shifted up stairs, you daft idiot. How’ve I forgotten that? A right soddin fuss. How dare that kid threaten me with being put in a home all because I tried helping miself and tripped over the Axminster and couldn’t get up? Home help? Ha! You must be bloody joking She loved her Axminster did Rita. Its gathering dust upstairs now thanks to that jumped up little madam.
Come on get your feet down into your slippers. God, they smell rank even to me. If I can just straighten up – get my shirt. Bugger, I can’t reach it. The pain in my shoulder feels like broken, soddin glass tearing into me. I can’t move. I’m frozen through. I’m pow fagged. Shit, I’ve peed miself.
How’s it all come to this bloody mess? I wasn’t always like this. Oh no. I’ve been somebody important, I have. A man of means. I’ve a tale to tell.
Burton’s Tailor’s Dummy, that’s what they called me. Every day I stepped off the number 13 wearing a three-piece suit, crisp white shirt, Windsor knotted tie, shiny black shoes and black socks. Failing the eleven plus and having to go to the local secondary modern as well as living on the council estate wasn’t going to stop me moving upwards and onwards.
Okay, so I wasn’t like them snooty buggers in the A stream, set of clever clogs. Thought they were something, staying on for a fifth year and then going in t’Civil Service or buggering off to the grammar school to do their A levels or wearing a uniform and doing something useful at the Infirmary. If I saw them in town, I avoided them. Didn’t let mi eyes meet theirs; on the street, in the coffee bar or at the bus stop. I was a working man earning good money at Burton’s. They were still school-kids with pocket money handed out by their mums and dads on a Friday night.
You should have seen me at week-ends, the spitting image of Bobby Vee, our Rita’s favourite singer. Mi casual grey slacks with the crisp crease and the sleeve-less V-neck jumper with the diamond pattern over a short-sleeved sports shirt. All the girls fancied me.
I was successful all right. I got moved to bigger shops. They could see I was good at the job, made me the manager, not Burton’s before you ask. I left there, got a job in that posh shop in the next town. I married Rita, a right classy lass, who went to The Grammar. She lived in the private houses round the corner from us. Her mother and father, especially the mother, thought I wasn’t good enough for her only child. A council house lad with no letters at the end of his name. We lived with the gruesome twosome, for a while, after we were married, until we got our own council house. I know, I know, upwards and onwards but it was only a matter of time until the stuck up pair departed this life and we got this house. I used to hope and pray they’d choke on their loyal toasts at the Ladies’ Evening or that he’d have a nasty accident with his pinny at The Lodge.
We eventually got the house. The miserable place was falling to bits by the time we took it on. Tight buggers lived for longer than I expected. The gentlemen’s outfitter began to lose money. Some trashy set up selling jeans and tee shirts took it over. They didn’t want me. Made me redundant, “surplus to requirements,” they said.
I was robbed of my lovely Rita. She left me, when she died from breast cancer, in her fifties. Its twenty one years now since she passed on, and I still miss her. I’ve been left pretty much on mi own since then. We never bothered with friends, didn’t want folk knowing our business. We had one lad. We were never that close, me and him. He was a mother’s boy, played girls’ games – hockey and tennis. He never showed any interest in football. How can you live in this town and not support The Team? That college turned his head. Once his mother died he stayed away, went travelling. He lives in The US of A now with his snotty wife and brainy kids. He rings every now and again, keeps threatening to come and see me but I tell him not to bother. He’ll come soon enough when I’m dead and gone. There’ll be money to be had then.
That’s the tale I’d tell to anybody as cares to listen.
I wonder, whatever happened to Bobby Vee? I expect he pees himself. Bound to. He’s older than me. He could be dead for all I know, him and his rubber balls.
Hey up. Like I said, I’d best shape miself that’s the key in the front door. I’ll be in bother. It’s not my fault. They should have been here an hour ago. I don’t know what the National Health is coming to.