I have posted the full story on a FB site. So my apologies to anyone who's already read it. Some of what I've written is what was told to me by my father. Here's the intro:
On 6 July 1946, 2 soon-to be-famous persons and 1 very ordinary fella arrived in the world. They were:
George W Bush
Snugglebunny - moi!
My place of birth was the County of Lancashire in England.
I was the number 2 son. I’d had an elder brother who died just a few days after his birth in 1944. I mention this because this sad occurrence led to a series of events that were to have a major effect on my own upbringing.
My parents were simply Mum & Dad.(We say Mum, not Mom!)
Dad was 25 when I arrived, Mum was 24.
Dad had been in the RAF during the war. He’d joined up in 1940 and assigned to Bomber Command. He became a bomb-aimer and altogether flew on 43 bombing sorties over Germany.
When I arrived Dad was still in the RAF, so my earliest years were spent in mainly female company, my mother and both sets of grandmothers eager to take part in my development.
We had lots of relatives living within walking distance. Grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, most all of our extended family were within a mile or two. So there were frequent family get-togethers, particularly at Christmas.
Life was good. I was at school at age 5 where our seating position in our class was dictated by how clever we were deemed to be. I sat at the “top table” and quickly learned how to read. In 1953, when I was 6, all the children at school were presented with gifts to celebrate the crowning of Queen Elizabeth the Second.
My home life was good too. Both my parents were ardent football (soccer) supporters, so, every other week of the football season, I would be farmed out to one relative or another so that they could watch the game while I played happily with my cousins.
My parents partied a good deal. Dad’s RAF pals were always visiting us so there was loud music late into the night while Dad would perform his favourite party trick of drinking all the water out of the flower vases.
Eventually Dad was demobbed from the RAF, but not before they had re-trained him in the difficult and demanding job of an air-traffic controller.
Meanwhile, Dad would make model aeroplanes, ships, windmills, cranes and trains – would you believe it, supposedly all for me! I never got to touch them much either.
Yep, I was a happy child, although my mother had a heavy right hand which she wasn’t averse to using on me whenever I transgressed.
Then one memorable day, my Mum and Dad sat me down and told me that my dad’s new occupation meant that we would soon be moving house. We were going to leave the North of England and move “down south”.
So we moved south to London.
Actually it was a London suburb. Close to London Heathrow Airport, my Dad needed only to hop on the 116 bus, change to the 90B in Hounslow and he was there in less than 30 minutes.
The inevitable change of school brought me many problems, not least being my own broad Lancashire accent. Also, the school was a good 12 months ahead of the one that I had left, so I was quickly demoted from bright star to bottom-of-the-class dunce.
Mum was also very stressed. She missed Lancashire, the family too, and also found the southerners of England damned unfriendly.
I was later to learn that the death of my elder brother in 1944 had a lot to do with her unhappiness.
When my brother had died years previously, my Dad had been granted 48 hours compassionate leave by the RAF.
That first night, in 1944, when the Lancaster flew on another bombing run over Germany without my Dad on board, the plane had been shot down.
The crew were listed as Missing, presumed killed.
My Dad had been distraught and also full of guilt.
My grandmother – his mother – had been dabbling in Spiritism and suggested that Dad saw a spirit medium with a view to getting in contact with his dead crew.
Eventually Dad complied, he agreed to see a spirit medium.
The spirit medium went into a trance and said that she was now in contact with the skipper of the shot-down Lancaster. She stunned my Dad when she said that his name was McKay. She described in detail how McKay had witnessed the death of himself and his crew.
The whole thing shook Dad up considerably.
So now here we are, 9 years on in 1954. I’m almost 9 years old, Mum is highly stressed most of the time and Dad is working hard at London Heathrow.
Then, in late 1954, my Dad received a letter that had come from overseas.
The letter was from a chap called McKay and had been written just a few weeks previously.
Skipper Mc Kay hadn’t died in the crash of the Lancaster. He’d parachuted to safety and spent the rest of the war as a POW. He just wasn't dead - he was very much alive!
So now my Dad was really shaken up. He needed some answers.
But where to start looking?
So my Dad has been kept off a doomed Lancaster bomber by the death of my elder brother and has also spoken to the “dead” skipper whom he now finds to be very much alive. Spooky!
That winter was a real chiller. Our water froze solid, cars were unstartable, the airport was closed temporarily.
My Mum took solace in the Playhouse cinema in Feltham and in the never ending consumption of mint imperials along with a deep addiction to cigarettes.
One night, whilst she was at said cinema, there was a knock on the front door. I was sent to answer it. My dad was in the attic attempting to unfreeze the water pipes by means of a lighted gas-poker attached to the garden hose which was in turn attached to the kitchen stove.
I opened the door to be confronted by a tall, hook-nosed man (in retrospect he looked like Abe Lincoln) who wanted to speak to one of my parents. Oh God I thought, he must have come to complain about me.
Well, no. I heard Dad say, whoever you are, come inside, it’s far too cold to talk on the doorstep.
At which point I lost all interest and went back to reading my comic books. The witnesses had entered our home and I was to remain blissfully unaware until...
...Until several weeks later when my dad announced that we were going to “a meeting” and that I was going too and I had better practice sitting still for a whole hour! Oh crikey, this was terrible!
Years later I learned what had happened that icy evening when the witnesses first called. My Dad had said to the witness, Leslie, that if he could answer just 1 question satisfactorily, he would look further into this strange religion.
So, Dad had told Leslie all about Mckay and the spirit medium and how McKay was dead then suddenly alive and living in Canada.
And Leslie had the answer...
Because demons were wicked they were also imperfect and because they were imperfect they often made mistakes and because this particular demon who was impersonating McKay hadn’t done his homework properly, he had made a fundamental error in not checking up that McKay was definitely dead. Silly demon.
My Dad bought it 100%.
We were part of a religion and from here on in, nothing was ever going to be the same again.