Wednesday, 15 May 2013

"Don't Split; Will Ya"

I must have been about seven years old and the war had just ended. We had been evacuated to Leeds in 1944 while the Nazis tried to blow Southern England to smithereens with V1 and than V2 rockets. Now it was 1945 and we had returned to London to be rehoused on a sprawling council estate in Hackney, East London. There were several large blocks of flats. We had number 25, Woolpack House. Close by there was a sizable bomb-site that we - my friends and I - called 'the ruins'.

One summer afternoon I was wandering on my own in the ruins when I came across Brian Poor and Barbara Deadman in the long-grass. I was startled. They were older than me; perhaps twelve or thirteen. "Don't split, will ya" said Brian rather imperatively. I had no idea what he meant. For some reason, my best guess was that he was suggesting that I shouldn't fart. Don't ask me why this was my best interpretation but I remember quite distinctly that it was. Perhaps my unconscious mind was centered on my sphincter at that moment. "I won't", I mumbled and wandered on, somewhat relieved.

For the record, I didn't split - until now!

I sometimes wonder what became of Brian and Barbara.

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