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A Shout From The Attic: A Brief History Of Time

Ronnie Bray tells of a young man with histrionic leanings.

To sample further tasty slices of Ronnie's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

At Holy Trinity church’s lychgate end of Wentworth Street, lived James ‘Jimmy’ Gilhouly, a young man with histrionic leanings, who played with the Huddersfield Thespians.

Concerning the street where Jimmy lived, René and I have different opinions. I am sure – well, almost – that he dwelt on Wentworth Street, but our René says it was Portland Street, and that he lived there with his sister Maria, who died in Summer of 2003 at what must have been a ripe old age. She does not know how Jimmy fared in life or in what paths his histrionic feet led him.

Wherever it was he lived, Jimmy was personable and approachable and had a Mickey Mouse wristwatch. His sister was a childhood friend of my mother, and he took us to Spring Grove School every morning until we were able to find out own way, presumably after he had left school. I can not remember ever going with him but René remembers better than I do and I believe her. Jimmy wanted to go to London and be a theatrical producer.

We ran across Fitzwilliam Street when we saw him coming down from Trinity Street - had he been to visit James Mason who lived less than a mile away? - and asked to see his watch. He raised his sleeve to show it to us, engaging us in good natured gentle talk that we loved him for. I always asked him if I could have the watch, and he always promised that he would give it to me when I was twenty-one.

Well, twenty-one came and went and I didn’t get Mickey Mouse. Jimmy Gilhouly went the way of all neighbours when we moved and he moved and I never saw of hear of him again except when he played Danny on the Thespian’s production of Night Must Fall. I was shocked to see him behave in such a bad way because he had seemed such a nice person.

Somewhere, is a very old man sitting in the half light with his memories of his many triumphs in the theatre, holding on to an ancient Mickey Mouse watch, hoping to run into the young lad to whom he promised it, but despairing that he will ever keep his promise and make the gift.

It is, perhaps, our unfulfilled promises that will dim our lengthening days and allow rivulets of regret to blur our darkening vision as we move through the evening of the coming night of our lives.


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