My Early Memories

As I reflect on my early years, there are certain memories that stand out and shape the person I have become today. From my birth in 1941 to the bittersweet moments of leaving Southport for Chester, each memory holds a unique significance in my life.

A Birth and a Christening

I entered the world on the 18th of July 1941 at Christina Hartley Maternity Hospital in Southport. It was a momentous occasion for my parents, who named me Ian David McGregor. Soon after, I was christened at Saint Philips Church on Scarisbrick New Road, surrounded by family and loved ones.

A Childhood Home and Sibling Bonds

My early years were spent at 54 Sefton Street in Southport, a place that holds a special place in my heart. I shared this home with my two younger brothers, who were 2 and 4 years younger than me. Together, we embarked on countless adventures and formed unbreakable bonds.

A Father’s Return

While Southport was a source of joy for me, there were moments of difficulty. Whenever my father returned home on leave from the army, a cloud of unease would settle over our household. He believed in the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child,” and his thick, heavy belt became a painful reminder of his strict discipline.

Despite these challenges, I managed to find happiness in the small things that brought me joy during those early years.

Simple Pleasures and Childhood Delights

Looking back, it’s the simple pleasures that bring a smile to my face. Buying sweets at the corner shop for a farthing and part of a ration coupon was a treat I cherished. Our local junior school, Sefton Street School, was conveniently located on my street, making the daily journey to school a breeze.

I remember the school railings being cut down and repurposed for the war effort, a visible reminder of the sacrifices being made. The bakery across from my house tempted me with the aroma of freshly baked bread, and I couldn’t resist devouring the soft inside on my way to school.

My bedroom was illuminated by gas lighting in the ceiling, casting a warm glow as I drifted off to sleep. The outdoor toilet, with its torn-up newspaper on a string for toilet paper, was a quirky feature of our home. In the scorching summer months, I discovered the joy of molding hot tar between the cobblestones in the street, creating makeshift models.

My mother worked as an usherette at the Scala Cinema in Southport, and I would often tag along to watch movies and enjoy the enchantment of the silver screen. She also sent me to the last afternoon of the flower show to gather free vegetables and flowers, a task I eagerly embraced.

There were moments of unexpected mishaps too. I remember stepping on a nail at the Cheshire Lines Railway Station and being rushed to the railway’s first aid room for treatment. And who could forget the coalman’s deliveries? The sight of him unloading hundred-weight bags of coal from his horse and cart into our coal hole remains etched in my memory.

One day, while exploring the shed, I stumbled upon my father’s rifle, a Lee Enfield .303, along with bullets. It was a discovery that filled me with intrigue and a sense of adventure.

Our back garden was adorned with rhubarb, a vibrant plant that fascinated me. I would spend hours observing its growth and eagerly awaiting the opportunity to taste its tart sweetness.

One particular memory stands out as both confusing and enlightening. I spent a few weeks in a house filled with unfamiliar faces and attended a strange school. Years later, I discovered that it was an orphanage, and I was there because my mother was in the hospital undergoing a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Though the circumstances were challenging, it taught me resilience and the importance of empathy.

Other memories include waking up in the hospital after having my tonsils removed, a bittersweet farewell to my maternal grandfather, who lay in a coffin in our front room for three days before his funeral, and the news of the king’s death on the day I left Southport for Chester.

In Conclusion

These early memories, though fragmented, have shaped my perspective on life. From the joy of simple pleasures to the challenges faced within the confines of family, each experience has played a role in shaping the person I am today. As I continue to reflect on my journey, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the memories that will forever hold a special place in my heart.