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A Shout From The Attic: “I Always Knew You Would Amount To Something’’

Ronnie Bray recalls his neighbours.

The Mantons lived in a ground floor room at the rear of our house. A sink was installed in the room, and some kind of cooker, although René remembers Evelyn cooking downstairs in our kitchen. No doubt she arranged her kitchen time to avoid seeing Nanny, who was often none too kind to her. I can still picture Evelyn coming downstairs and into the kitchen through the stone room to get hot water from the electric geyser in the scullery, but I have no recollection of her cooking in or on our oven

Harry died of a heart attack. Evelyn developed paranoid schizophrenia that required her to undergo long periods of hospitalisation in Storthes Hall. Brian joined the Military Police, made a successful marriage, became a Warrant Officer Class I and was decorated by the Queen, first with the British Empire Medal and later admitted as a Member of the British Empire.

The last time I saw Evelyn was in the old Victoria Lane. I can’t recall what I was about at the time. She was on leave from the hospital. We talked for a while, and before I left talking she said, “I always knew you’d amount to something.” That was one of the nicest things anyone from my childhood had ever said. How sad that some must be lost to that terrible illness, feel the terrible isolation of alienation, and experience a world that is not real, as if life itself was not sufficiently cruel.


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