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A Shout From The Attic: Youth And Confusion - 14

Ronnie Bray reflects upon his teenage year


“ … oftentimes these ministers of darkness
tell us truths in little things,
to betray us into deeds of
greatest consequence.”

Being a youth in these times was interesting because there was no gradual transition from childhood, through teenage years, and into adulthood. The male child’s coming of age was when he donned long trousers. Females had other rites, but boys knew little about them in the days before childhood and innocence died.

New vistas opened in cinema newsreels, such as Gaumont-British and Pathé. Brightly adorned “Prince – ‘I gotta horse!’ – Monolulu” burst onscreen either bedecked in checked evening suit complete with topper, or else dressed like an African witch doctor complete with ostrich feather head-dress. How successful this horse tipster’s advice was is hard to judge, but he kept in the business for years.

It was something of a let-down to find out that the ‘prince’ was not an Abyssinian Falasha chieftain but a citizen of St Croix in the West Indies, and his name was not Monolulu, but Peter Carl Mackay. Had he not tipped Spion Kop in the Derby of 1920, which came in at 100 – 1, he might have been forgotten. Monolulu was seven when my Granddad Bennett was born, and I was thirty when he died.

Hakey Stewart was a well-known Huddersfield character, often seen trawling the streets for rags and bones with his donkey and cart. He had a good line in repartee, and some of it is fit to recount.


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