Drawing of the book cover Water Under the Railway Bridge by Bill Gerty

7 Back to School



I started to go to school again, sometimes I would walk there and some times I got a lift in teachers car. Life was very dull at home as there were no other boys in the area to play with. My father would go out for a drink some nights and the only thing that I could do was to go to bed and wait for him to come home, every little noise that I heard sounded as if a whole herd of animals were coming through the back door. It seemed that my father was working every day of the week and I did not go to work with him anymore. Later years I reasoned that he thought that I might try and go up to our old house in the woods again.
I started to go to Sunday school which was about half a mile from our house. It was taken by Rev. Armstrong and afterwards he would take me back home in his car, at least this way I saw other people other than at school. Once a month a full service was also held, all this took place in Brackley Hall which is no longer there.
One night when I was in bed I was woken up by a lot of noise coming through the front door. It was my father along with another man, they were in the kitchen when I got up to see what was going on. They were both soaking wet and there were pools of water all over the floor. They both seemed to have quite a lot to drink. It seemed that the other man, whoever he was, had fallen in a drain and my dad had found him and pulled him out.
After a couple of months we borrowed a donkey and cart and set off for Killyran, after we had our tea it was decided that Vera would come back with us. It was the first time that I had seen any of my brothers and sisters for months. I was very cold, I remember sitting in the back of the cart. Next morning I had to take Vera to school, because there was now two of us going to school it was not possible to get a lift in the car anymore, so we had to walk there and back again. Along this road to school Tinkers often camped, I was very frightened of them, so in order to miss them we used to take a side road which took quite a bit longer, result being that we were late for school. Mrs. Coffey to her credit never told us off, I guess she thought we had enough trouble as it was. Vera thought it was great fun being able to cook our own food, which was usually tea and bread, butter, egg and potatoes. One Saturday when I went to get some water across the road Vera came out behind me and pulled the door up behind her. It was a self locking door so we were locked out. I did not know where our father was so I tried all the windows with­out any luck. We were still there about four hours later. Eventually I saw a man walking along the road and asked him to help, he managed to open one of the windows and I got in, we never made that mistake ever again.


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