I have managed to cover quite a bit of the book this weekend, which I am well chuffed wi me sen about. Christ, I am onto chapter 11 well over 10, 000, which just show’s. showing up, doing a bit when you can, does pay dividends. I didn’t particularly want to write about this part of my life, but in order to understand the relationship between me and dad, I have to give some history, some context before I get into my own personal experience with a shitty relationship, with drugs and then being there when dad was on his knee’s. It was around this time that I went from being a kid, without a care in the world and started morphing into an adolescent monster. So here goes –
Ada had proposed to mom not long after moving to Gleadless Valley, the romantic sod had bent down on one knee in what was once the hole in the road a precinct in the town center and declared his undying love before presenting her with a beautiful engagement ring. Mom had never had an engagement ring before, Christ she didn’t even have any wedding pictures!
It was around that time that I learned Ada had actually been married before and was also divorced there were no kids, no ties and to be honest it was never talked about. So now mom had gotten her divorce papers through they were both free to wed again.
They had booked a date for the wedding, it would take place on the 15th of May 1982, I would have been twelve at the time, I didn’t have a problem at all with mom getting married, after all she was the happiest I had seen her in my young years, Ada was a nice bloke, he might be strict but he wasn’t a bad guy. Nan was ecstatic, you would have thought it was the friggin royal wedding the way she talked about it, but I think she was more ecstatic about the fact that mom had finally met a normal bloke (what ever that is) Ada didn’t go to the pub all the time like dad, Ada was a family man unlike dad, Ada earned an honest living, unlike dad.
Because mom and ada both felt that this was the real deal they opted for a church wedding. The wedding would take place at the local church, called the Holy Cross, which was on the other side of the Valley. It was a new modern looking church that sat behind The Wyvern Pub, the same one dad would sometimes frequent and wasn’t that far from where Dad was living with Pat and her boys.
The only issue I did have with the wedding was the church, but because mom and Ada were both divorcees we “as a family” would have to start attending church regularly before the vicar would agree to marry them! I couldn’t get my head around the injustice, having to pray for a guy I had never metwhat a load of hypocritical bollox!
Oh and I fucking hated it, how could I hide the fact I would be going to church every Sunday, the church sat bang in the middle of the friggin estate I grew up in for gods sake! some of me mates lived near by and even though no-one said it, they might have started to refer to me as one of them bible bashers, no one else I knew went to church, well apart from a couple of geeky kids from our year, and if they thought that I was going to be their new bessie mate they were sadly mistaken! There was only one other mate from school who’s family were religious, not that you would know it, he came from a family of devote Jehovas witnesses, the attended the Kingdom Hall, around the back of the church, but no one would ever have taken the piss, nor did they, because Rob was built like John Coffey from the film Green Mile! It was an absolute joke that we would have to go along with the pretence that we believed in god, just so mom and ada could get married under their roof!
It was also agreed that me, Sarah and my two cousins Linda and Debbie would be bridesmaids, moms best mate would be maid of honour, you can imagine my delight at the though of having to wear a frigging dress. Money was tight, so all the dresses were handmade, mom would be walking down the aisle in a white lace number and we would be following her, carrying our bouquets dresses head to toes in lilac. So the wedding was booked, the dresses were being made, we would be attending church pretending to be whiter than white and then BOOM mom finds out she’s pregnant.
Ada had never made it a secret that whilst he loved me and Sarah and took us on as his own, he always wanted his own kid, so the news that mom was pregnant didn’t come as a surprise. And whilst I was pleased and happy for mom and Ada, I did chuckle to myself, not only was mom having to attend church months before she was married to prove she was pure after her divorce, but how could she be pure when she already had two kids and now she would be walking down the aisle preggers! Isn’t it a sin to have sex before marriage? So after many readjustments to mother’s wedding dress, the day finally came around when she would be wedded to Ada, but this also meant that after this I would never have to attend church again, Praise the lord – A fucking men and all that bollox!
I have many memories of the day, but the one that sticks out is those of my cousin Linda, a year older than me, Linda was the daughter of moms oldest sister Auntie Glenda. To be fair she wasn’t first in the line when god or whoever it dished out looks or personality, in fact, she was the most awkward contrary kid I knew. I remember she had been stuffing her face all morning with sweets whilst we were getting ready, but then started complaining that she felt unwell she moaned all day, she wouldn’t smile for the cameras, her face looked like she was permanently constipated throughout the whole friggin morning of the ceremony and to be fair she probably was!,
As the ceremony started , I had a vision of dad turning up just as the vicar ask “If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together? let them speak now or forever hold their peace” thank the lord or whoever that he never showed up. Despite having his own woman, or women during his and moms relationship, he still kinda felt that she was his first, he was the father of her two first born and even though they were long separated, divorced he would always be there, he would always be our dad and not ada, I recall there was a time, I onto remember if it was before or after the wedding dissatisfied with the UK mom and Ada explored the possibilities of emigrating to Australia or New Zealand at one point, but dad kiboshed that idea even though he saw us sporadically and didn’t seem to care, when he heard about that, he asserted his rights as a dad, claiming he would never allow mom to take us to another country, anyway back to the wedding.
Grandad was our designated driver and minder for the day for us bridesmaids and wasn’t impressed in the slightest about her complaints of wanting to be sick on the journey to the celebratory meal from the church grandad had to stop the car twice to allow her to be sick. I was laughing my head off because granddad was sooo angry with her and her whining, up until then she had moaned just about all the friggin day. I’m too hot, my dress is too tight, I feel sick, her whining was never ending, Auntie Glenda ran and fussed around her like she was a princess who could do no wrong, but not granddad. Whilst she was voming outside of the car, grandad was pacing up and down truntering to himself then giving her the third degree about eating too many sweets, he turned to me and whispering under is breath he mouthed “thank god you are not like her Tatey”. Yep grandad don’t you worry I wont let you down. At the meal Lindas demands continued as she refused to eat her wedding meal without ketchup, she had ketchup on everything and today was no exception, I remember grandads disgust when Auntie Glenda came rushing over to the table and produced a bottle of Henze tomatoe ketchup out of her hand bag, satisfied Linda then proceeded to cover her entire plate and I mean her entire plate in red gloopy sauce. It wasn’t long into the meal that, that said same gloopy sauce ended up all over her bridesmaid dress after she spewed all her dinner back up again, right there at the dinner table. I couldn’t help but laugh at granddads face, Lindas face and watching auntie Glenda running around like a demented moron trying to clean up the mess, which quite frankly looked like a blood bath.
The meal was over and more people, some I had never seen before, started to descend on the venue to help mom and ada celebrate their prenuptial’s. The DJ took his place and asked for silence, before requesting that mom and Ada take their place in the centre of the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. Mom was no longer Dads wife she would no longer be referred to as Mrs Ford, she was now officially Mrs Flude and with that they took to the dance floor and danced for the first time as husband and wife. I recall thinking how happy mom looked that day, how content she seemed to be marrying the man of her dreams and now carrying his child. There were many speculative debates in the house as to wether mom was carrying a boy or a girl, personally I longed for a little boy, boys were easier, boys didn’t bitch or fall out with each other every five minutes and deep down I knew that Ada did too.
On the 6th of October that year, my new baby brother was born, you couldn’t help but fall in love at first sight with Mark, his blond whispery hair, the blue eyes, he was perfect, after bringing him home, after what had apparently been a traumatizing birth for mom, the house was filled with visitors bringing gifts and wanting a cuddle with the new arrival. One of the most frequent visitors was my nan, in-fact she came around even more after Mark was born in fact she was completely obsessed “The golden child” as he would later be referred to, and it wasnt just me, other family members noticed her obsession too. She was present at his birth, but the way she went off you would have thought that she’d given friggin birth herself, you would have thought Mark was her son and not mom and ada’s.
She was like an itch that wouldn’t go away, always there, always having an opinion, don’t do this, don’t do that! But despite her presence, I did love having mark around, I loved the permanent smell of babies that would hit you as you walked in the house, our Sarah loved caring for our mark, wanting to help out, feeding or bathing him, taking him for walks in his pushchair, to her he was like her new doll, she was a natural, whereas I preferred playing and cooing with him and couldn’t wait until he started to crawl, walk and develop his own little personality, he’s going to kill me but I don’t care, but when he was about eighteen months he was fixated with his todger, willy, nob or penis, (whatever you call it) he would be told to leave it alone, “it will fall off” mom would say but he was obsessed, In fact sometimes I’d find him, hiding behind the sofa secretly playing with it! Much to the dismay of Nan, which would only make me encourage him more, just to piss her off.