Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Go To Church And Lose A Brother?

Some of my early memories are quite vivid and every now and again I start to think of my childhood..........
We lived on the edge of a small town in the north of England and when I was five years old and my brother Godfrey was only half that age, my mum and dad tried to get us to go to church. I was, by then attending the local church school so I think they were both under pressure to attend the church, next door to it. During the services there was much sitting, kneeling and standing and Godfrey used to crawl along the pews at an amazing speed and my parents managed several times to rescue him from large ladies and gents who were about to squash him when they sat down.

It was decided, because of the difficulty of controlling Godfrey, that Mum would take me to church while Dad stayed at home and looked after my brother. There were no creches in those days.
"You will keep your eye on him, won't you?" Mum implored, as she knew only too well how absent minded my father was when he was absorbed in his music & reading and all his other hobbies that completely engrossed him.
"Of course I will," he said, closing the door behind us. I think I knew even at that age that there might be a bit of a problem looming up!


On our return home from church, Godfrey was nowhere to be seen. Dad said he could remember him playing in the garden only five minutes before we arrived home, so he couldn't be far away. Mum was very distraught and rapidly searched the house, garden and near friends and neighbours. However, he was not to be seen anywhere.
There was a duck pond down the lane and my mum thought Godfrey might have gone there on his own. We were used to going with her to feed the ducks, so he knew the way. A  local man had once told us that a horse and cart had galloped into the pond out of control and had disappeared into the water without trace, so we knew it was deep.
Mum grabbed me and together we rushed down the lane towards the pond as by now we had visions of him lying face down in the water. Thankfully, when we got to the pond, there was no trace of him, but we both remembered the story of the horse and cart that was never seen again.
I remember feeling really uncomfortable & despairing when my mum collapsed into a heap on the grass verge with her hands over her face, sobbing uncontrollably. I happened to look up the lane towards the main road and I saw an old lady holding Godfrey by the hand and she was knocking on the doors of houses along the road.  My mum dragged me and we raced as fast as my legs would carry me to the main road.

"What do you think you are doing with him?" she accused the old lady. 
The lady looked hurt and told Mum that she had found Godfrey by himself trying to cross the main road & she had been knocking on house doors trying to find out where he lived, without success. Mum caught him up in her arms. "I've been looking for him everywhere," she said "And you've been taking him further away from home."
Although I was only five years old, I can remember thinking how unfair my mum was being with the old lady, who had obviously been only trying to help Godfrey and I felt very embarrassed by her remark.
We turned towards home.
My dad was the centre of a major row and it was years before Mum and I ever went to Church together again.

17 comments:

Carolyn said...

There are some flowers for you at my blog...

CrazyCath said...

It is amazing how hurtful we can be in panic. I remember when I was about aged 8 taking my 2½ year old sister for a little walk as instructed.

Mum meant up the road. I took her up a (big) hill. I can only imagine now as a parent myself the sheer terror mum must have felt when her children went missing! (I had my younger brother too - we were both guilty but I was the oldest and got the rap!)

I couldn't understand what I had done wrong at the time. Now I know. I also know what my mum did wrong (that's not a judgement - just a learning curve).

Today my children are literally fed up of me spelling things out in one syllable so that it is absolutely clear exactly what I mean! THAT bit of history will not repeat itself.

I doubt yours will either. :0)

Sniz said...

This is quite a story. Have you talked to your mom about it since then?

Ashley Ladd said...

I'm so glad you found your brother and that he was safe. I know how moms can get nervous and upset when their kids are missing or in danger. And yet, I think that lady was doing her best to help. Thank God a nice woman found him and helped him and didn't just leave a 3 year old to ramble alone in the street or by the pond.

Sweet Irene said...

When I was a much younger, I was always put in charge of my little sister, whom I preceded by seven years.

She had a tendency to disappear and I would have the task of tracking her down. I usually managed to do this, as I knew all the logical places she would go to, but sometimes she could not be found and we feared her drowned or some other nasty accident.

In the end, she always showed up again and she must have had a guardian angel who watched out for her.

Now I can't believe that my mother gave me the responsibility of being in charge of her, being a child myself, but back then it was normal.

Very little children played outside unsupervised by adults and there was not supposed to be any real danger. Can you imagine anything like it now?

Maggie May said...

carolyn ..... I am so touched, thank you.


crazycath ..... Yes I am sure it was through panic that she said that! I know how I have felt on the occasions that I have "lost" a child!

My poor Mum died in 2001 but we did used to talk about things when she was alive. I have a whole load of similar incidents that are embedded on my memory board! Childcare was SO different in those days.

ashleyladd ...... thanks for dropping by! Yes, the old lady was doing a great job & we have to be thankful that he didn't get killed on the road. Those were the days when people looked out for each other & were not too afraid of being classed a pedophile for helping another person's child!

sweet Irene ..... yes, children played outside by themselves in those days. It was the normal thing to do! We had total freedom & enjoyed ourselves as children today would never be allowed to do!

Expatmum said...

I thought I'd lost my daughter when she was about 7, and had to get the police to come to the local park. Just as the police car pulled up, my daughter walked out of a bush where she had "gone to lie down and rest"! I never want to have that happen again, it was one of the worst feelings I have ever had. I think my reaction, had anyone come towards me with her, would have been just sheer relief, but you never know really.

granny p said...

MEN. He should have been made to take you to church.... I think your mother was very long-suffering...

GoneBackSouth said...

It's so scary losing a child - even if mercifully it's only for a short time. It must have had a big impact on you to remember it so clearly!

Ashley Ladd said...

Once a new friend of my kids wouldn't go home and I didn't know where her home was. She claimed her mom wasn't home. I was getting frantic and very annoyed. I was about to call the police. Or maybe I did. It's so many years ago, I'm not sure. When we finally found the mom, she acted as if I had stolen her child. I was so mad. But then again, I could understand, too, how she'd be frantic. But I felt she should be mad at her child for lying to me and to everybody, not mad at me who had no clue where to take the girl. I didn't want to call the police right away and act as if the mom had done something wrong and get her in trouble. It's tough to know what to do.

Jules said...

Wow that's a powerful story! Children are so precious, and I can just imagine how your mum felt. Good thing it ended well.

And thanks so much for checking on me. You're a sweetheart.

Just Because

Maggie May said...

Expatmum ...... I think we've all had moments of sheer panic when it first appears that a child is lost ..... but you were on the point of phoning Police! Never got that far.The sheer relief of finding them is overwhelming!

GrannyP ... Glad you visited me. Yes my Mum was long suffering ......... most women in that generation were.I was only recently wondering why my dad never took me to church instead. Probably would have lost ME, maybe!

gonebacksouth .......... most of my early childhood memories are extremely vivid.


ashleyladd ............ could have caused a big problem & you were only trying to help. The child was lying! I once had a child at school tell me her Mum was in hospital having a baby. After about a week, I asked her whether mummy had had a boy or a girl & she told me mummy was still in hospital. When the dad came to pick child up from after school club, I asked him how the mum was getting on in hospital with the new baby. He looked amazed! Their childbearing days were over, he said!
Last time I took what a child said to me too seriously!

Jules......Well, I am glad to see you!!!!

Babaloo said...

What a story, Maggie May! I remember being out playing in our garden when I spotted one of the neighbour's kids in their garden, so I went over. We eventually went inside their house. At that point my parents were calling me to come back inside, only to see that I had disappeared from our garden. While I was having fun with my friends they were frantically searching for me. Once found I can tell you, I got an earful at home. At the time (I was probably around 5 or 6) I had no idea what was wrong. I was with my friends, not strangers! Of course my parents didn't know because I hadn't thought of telling them I where I was going.
Glad your story had a happy ending as well!

Milla said...

there's nothing like that dread sickness that the loss of a child brings. Enjoy your blog tho - great snail pic, dreadful story about the inheritance/not and amused by the Japanese granddaughter. I'm sure my Italian neice thinks much the same about us lot. Thanks for coming by mine - but please don't think £4.70 was the grand sum. Oh no. Have blanked out the cost of the actual spaying which was handed over a couple of days earlier.

Maggie May said...

babaloo..... yes, I have also put my parents through this when I was little & I know that my children did the same to me. Thanks for dropping by.

milla .......I see you have really delved into my posts! Really pleased you visited me & thanks for your encouragement.

Valleys Mam said...

I remeber being taken by my cousin for a walk up the Bont, my mam didnt know.I hada whale of a time.When we came back dirty happy and tierd , there was mayhem.All the neighbours were out looking for me at least no police ahd been called.I had a massive row mt cousin had a bigger one.I was on such a short lease for a long long time. I almost had to sign out even if I just went up the road - only child syndrome

Maggie May said...

Valleysmam ...Everyone seems to have had a similar experience!