Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Raymond O'Connor- his story-( contin)

Raymond with his father Chris O'Connor and mother Bertha taken in 1939.

After leaving Craig-y-nos, where his mother died, his ordeal was about to begin for he was sent to relatives in Liverpool.
Raymond's story is so heart-rendering that I am running it in full. It's like a Welsh version of "Angela's Ashes".
This is the second part:

"The next memory I have is that someone went to a great expense to kit me out in brand new clothes, grey jacket and trousers, collar and tie, a peak cap, socks that came up to my knees with a pattern on the top, brand new shoes and mackintosh. I can remember travelling to the railway station in a horse and cart and the gentleman with a top hat handed me over to the porter along with a letter of instructions of my destination. I can remember changing stations at Crewe and being put on another train to Chester.

On my journey from Crewe to Chester I recollect a lady telling me to take off my mackintosh as it was very warm in the coach. I remember having to wait in Chester in the porter's room where they gave me a big mug of tea and biscuits. After some time I was put on a train to Rockferry, Birkenhead.

I was met by a man and a woman there who took me to a house in St.Paul's Road, Rockferry.

Craig-y-nos Castle

If anybody thought of 'Craig-y-nos' as a bad place to live in, what was about to take place is like a horror movie.

I was introduced to my new family as they put it, the lady who picked me up at the railway station, told me that she was my new mother and the place where I was to live was a one room flat and the 2 girls that were there were my sisters. Catherine who was the eldest and Beryl. I was told to put my bags down and come to meet the new family .

We walked up the street for 300 yards all the houses we passed were derelict and bombed, to a row of houses that were three storeys high with a cellar.

Opposite there was a pub called The Railway Hotel. We went into the first house that we came to, down the steps into a cellar.
Inside, was a crinkly old man in the corner and his wife sat opposite and about 5 children of different ages.

The mother and father of my new mother were introduced to me as Cissy and Hughie Walker. The horror was about to begin as I was told to take off all my new clothes and to put on the rags that they gave me.

The shoes had holes in the soles with piece of cardboard to keep out the water. ' These new clothes will be kept for Sunday only' were the harsh words of Kitty Walker, needless to say, I never saw them ever again.

My reaction was one of horror as I ran out of the house down the street straight across the main road where I was brought to a final halt by being covered with black mud and water as I had reached the muddy shores of Rockferry muddy beach.

I was retrieved by two of Kitty Walker's brothers Sammy and Gerald who dragged me back to the big house, stood me in the backyard and hosed me down with cold water.

What an introduction to my new family on the first day!

(to be continued)

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