The Cowboy wore glasses – Part One
This is the story of the life and adventures of Andrew Edward Silver. If you so wish Andy would like you to accompany him on his journey through each instalment of his life during the sixty odd years leading from boyhood to the present day. This is not a tale of ‘rags to riches’, or indeed a tale of ‘obscurity to celebrity’. This is, quite simply, a tale of a boy who believed that .. if you try hard enough .. dreams do come true. Did he achieve some of his dreams? … perhaps he did, there again, perhaps he didn’t. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
(All names are fictitious to protect the innocent … ( and guilty )…)
PART ONE … the early years. In which Andy grows up in post war London.
Andy arrived on this planet in 1946 He had kept everyone waiting for a day or two and then spent a comfortable few days being fussed over in the maternity ward of the local hospital in the London borough of Hammersmith. His first home was a rented first floor flat in a tree-lined avenue adjacent to a large park. Food rationing was still in force during his first few years..but it didn’t seem to have affected him unduly as he grew into a well proportioned, affectionate little lad.
Andy was an only child but eventually, primary school introduced him to similar young boys from the local area. Their after-school playground was the many bomb sites that seemed to be every where around them. Even the park had large craters, still un-filled from the blitz and he and the other lads in the street would spend many hours sifting through rubble and dirt, looking for shrapnel and other treasures to take home. His prize find was a cuckoo clock that still worked, it kept good time but something had happened to the sound mechanism. Also the head was missing so when the little doors opened on the hour, a little headless wooden bird popped out and gave a sort of strangled..OO causing much merriment to the listeners.
Andy’s father was a sailor. Luckily he had survived the war but his visits home on leave were few and far between, so it was left up to Andy’s long suffering mother to try and keep him on the straight and narrow.
Andy did not like being told off and on the odd occasions that his behaviour warranted strong words from his mother and being sent to his bedroom, he would sit and make plans with his escape committee. The committee consisted of two rather worse-for-wear teddy bears and a wooden cowboy puppet. One day, after a particularly severe telling off, initiated by him and his friends bringing home a live incendiary bomb which had remained undiscovered in the parks dense shrubbery since the war, he decided to bite the bullet and run away to America and become a cowboy.
Having convinced himself that his mother didn’t love him, he informed her of his intention and being a bit taken aback by her ” Ok…have a nice time then” reply, he went to his room and loaded up a pillow case with his treasures, …two toy six guns, one toy double barrelled metal pop gun complete with corks, one plastic silver sheriff’s star and his cowboy puppet. Using his dressing gown cord tied to the pillow case to form a makeshift backpack, he set off along the avenue pavement towards his new life.
All went well until he neared the end of the avenue, and that was when his courage failed him. The busy main road lay across his path with large red buses and even larger lorries hurtling along at breakneck speed. “Who dares wins”, had not yet become part of Andy’s thought process, but “I’m not sure this is a good idea” definitely was and although he didn’t know it at the time..”I’m not sure this is a good idea” ..was going to crop up quite a few times for him in the years to come. Mind you, so was..”who dares wins!” So discretion being the better part of valour in this instance, he executed a smart about turn and found his mother standing just behind him. She had followed him all the way up the avenue. .. SO SHE DID LOVE HIM AFTER ALL .. He did however get a mild telling off for worrying her as they walked back to home and safety – becoming a cowboy would have to wait.
NEXT TIME – Andy moves to the country .. further adventures await him involving .. cider.. duck ponds and bulls.
© Martin Silvester 20/8/15
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