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A Shout From The Attic: Finding The Wanderer

...What a shame it is that his dreams were too far beyond his reach to impede his progress towards them even a little...

Ronnie Bray makes contact with his wandering father.

For more of Ronnie's autobiographical words please click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on his page.

Years passed and father disappeared from my field of knowledge. The grapevine, now in its thirtieth year, disclosed that he was living at Longwood, an old part of Huddersfield that served a mighty mill in former years. I arrived at Longwood and asked at the paper shop if they knew of a George Bray. I was directed to the very house. Father had moved his family from one place to another on a whim and his moves were not always a step upwards on the housing ladder.

This house was ancient and had it not have been knocked down during clearance and reconstruction of Longwood it would have served as an example of the poor housing that slaves to the textile industry used to live in. One room upstairs, one down, and the earth closet round the back. Stormy nights and weak bladders were a curse.

My father, it is told, had learned to play the piano by watching the movement of my grandmother’s Pianola. In the small room, he had a fine looking walnut case upright piano. I asked him to play something. He went to a small door at the back of the room and opened it to reveal the coal hole and lying upon the heap of small coal were the works of the piano. He had taken it to bits to improve its performance but had failed to impress his will upon it.

In a fit of frustration that had marked his earlier years no less potently he had slung the innards of the piano - properly called the ‘action’ - upon the coal heal, and in course of time, they burned brightly in the grate. The piano case was useful for putting things on.

The furnishings in father’s homes were always the most rudimentary un unexceptional except for their antiquity. Not that they were antiques, their condition precluded them being called by that name, but they were old, worn out, in bad repair; prideless objects in his make-do world. What a shame it is that his dreams were too far beyond his reach to impede his progress towards them even a little.


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