« Footprints In The Snow | Main | Landscape Change »

I Didn't Belong: Back On The Sites

... For some reason my dad took
things out on me. I found it safer for me to sleep
snuggled up with the dogs on the nights Dad had
gone out, as they would look after me if Dad tried
to hit me...

Ronnie Cook's Gypsy father was a violent, drunken bully. He hit his son so hard with an iron bar that he thought he had killed him.

Ronnie's story of his hellish beginnings and his eventual redemption through faith is one of the most harrowing and uplifiting life stories you are likely to encounter.

Click on I Didn't Belong in the menu on this page to read earlier chapters of Ronnie's supremely inspiring story.Then buy his book, which is available from amazon.co.uk - type the title I Didn't Belong in the Amazon search box.

Back on the sites, regular
beatings, living in filth and squalor, we moved from
one place to another, places like Thorne,
Gainsborough, (Summergang Lane or Beckingham
Back Lane), Newark, Black Bank and Ten Pound Walk
in Doncaster and the back lanes of
Buckinghamshire, changing our names as often as
we moved sites.

Whilst on these travels I tried to keep myself and
Vincent out of harm's way, playing with the horses
and taking the dogs for walks. We were often
laughed at as these animals were a source of
income, and on occasion a source of food, and not
regarded as pets. For some reason my dad took
things out on me. I found it safer for me to sleep
snuggled up with the dogs on the nights Dad had
gone out, as they would look after me if Dad tried
to hit me.

On some occasions my dad would leave
the camp and we wouldn’t see him for a couple of
days at a time, so we had to fend for ourselves,
with the exception of our Frank, but he has always
been selfish. My brother and myself survived due to
the fact I knew where there were mushrooms and
a shop with some foodstuffs in an outhouse type

One day I asked some people what the
date was, as it was August and nearly my birthday
and Mum told me at Christmas that I would get
cards through the post. I even asked her if I would
get one from her if she wasn’t there. It must have
broke her heart having me say that. I found out it
was the sixteenth. I was so happy, it was my
birthday the next day, the seventeenth. It wasn’t
very warm that day.

That night I couldn’t sleep with
the fear of Dad and the excitement, so I stayed
awake all night the best I could so I could be there
when the postman came. During the early hours
as daylight came, I decided to build up the fire, as
we needed to keep it alight for cooking.

My dad came from the caravan and asked me what on earth I
was doing. I tried explaining to him that Mum said
the postman would bring me some cards. He told me I
was a stupid idiot and told me to get to bed - but
not in that manner. This shattered my illusion and I
started to cry, as at the time I honestly believed I
would get some cards, including one from my
mother. Of course I didn’t realise she never knew
where we were or that she was in hospital.

With this he started to give me the biggest hiding I have
ever had. Of course my brother Frank had to get
involved as well. (I did get my own back on Frank
in later years). The last thing I remember was of
him beating me and trying to drown me in a ditch,
and coming round in a field in the middle of
Lincolnshire alone and cold.

From what my cousin
Laddie Smith told me in later years, he also hit me
with an iron bar so bad he actually thought I was
dead. So he chucked me on the back of the wagon
and dumped me. Later that day he packed up and
moved regardless of me. He just left me there.

This was, I am glad to say, the last time my dad could
ever hurt me again physically, mentally or
abusively. But it has stuck with me for the rest of
my life, and until recent years I treated every man with
the same contempt, and people in general could not be trusted.


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.