The Auntie Doris Years: 1956


Our house backed on to an house in the next street. An immigrant bloke called Muhammad lived there. Him and my Raymond used to get on well together and help each other other out with little jobs outside. Just after the war, they spent an afternoon together clearing some rubble and growth from the passage that ran along the side of Muhammad’s house. it was Muhammad’s property, but because my Raymond had helped him, he used to let him use the passage whenever he liked. It was handy for getting to the Rose and Crown from our house. If it hadn’t have been for that passage he would have had to go all the way around by the main road, so it cut the journey by five or six minutes. Five or six minutes might not seem like much. But as my Raymond used to say. when you have the thirst on for a pint of best bitter, five or six minutes can make all the difference. It certainly makes a big difference when you have drank five or six pints of best bitter and you are on a mission to get back home before you pee yourself.
Any road, old Mohammad got himself a bigger house in 1956, and he sold the one behind ours to a countryman of his, called Gamal. Gamal put a locked gate on the either end of the passage and used it as an area to store bicycles for himself and his two lads. So from 1956 on, Raymond used to have to go around by the main road anyway. There was no point in getting all stroppy about it. Like he said, he didn’t have a leg to stand on. The passage didn’t belong to him, and the new owner didn’t want him to use it.
Do you know, Raymond went up in my estimation for that attitude. Some blokes would have kicked up a fuss about immigrants, and how the passage was a part of his country, and got all stroppy and belligerent. I know Raymond’s brother John was a bit that way on, and I think that he had even encouraged Raymond to be like that. But Raymond stood his ground and did what was right.
If only Sir Anthony Ruddy Eden had been half as understanding about the Suez Canal, instead of going into Egypt mob handed and kicking up a fuss about Arabs, and how the canal was part of his Empire, and getting all stroppy and belligerent. Sir Anthony Eden went right down in my estimation for that attitude. Not that he was very high in my estimation anyway. He was a ruddy Tory any road, wasn’t he?
Never mind. Gamal moved out in the late 1970s, and the house went to one of those homosexuals. David he was called. I think Raymond was a bit afraid of him because he was quite camp in his manner, but I got on with him quite well. We used to chat over the dividing wall, while we were hanging our delicates out to dry. One day I told him about the situation with the passage and bless him if he didn’t have me a couple of keys cut so that we could use it whenever we wanted. What a lovely gesture. I used to call it the Camp David Agreement. Sadly, my Raymond never took advantage of the arrangement as he never was one who felt comfortable around homosexuals. He just used to mutter darkly about back passages and occasionally wet himself on the way home from the Rose and Crown. Soft so and so.
Auntie Doris’s pop hit of 1956: Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)” by Doris Day. Never mind Elvis Ruddy Presley wiggling his hips and sneering. Doris was a proper singer, and she had a lovely name an’all. Made me feel almost fashionable again.

5 thoughts on “The Auntie Doris Years: 1956

  1. Oh Auntie- My Ma was born in a pub in Kent, “The Cobham Inn” I believe it was called, her old dad lost all their money in the crash of 1929, and the Sally-Anne paid the way here to Canada. Ma was six, she did not talk of it much, but her stories of old Vancouver, my Aunt Phyllis at 15 supporting the family as a chorus girl, her Chinese neighbors, alleyways between the houses everyone shared, wedding receptions that lasted for days. Oh the stories you must share there on the other side!!

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