Monday, April 21, 2014

Random Philosophycal Musings of an Old-man.

The three quotes below express my philosophycal thoughts and beliefs very well.
They are taken from the November 11th.2011 edition of the magazine ‘’Spanglish.“

Many people, especially ignorant people,
want to punish you for speaking the truth,
for being correct, for being you.

Never apologize for being correct, or for
being ahead of your time.

If you are right and you know it,
speak your mind.
Speak your mind.

Even if you are a majority of one,
the truth is still the truth.

                      Mohandas Ghandhi

Independent, autonomous individuals with their own mind set, able
to live their lives aware of their personal wealth when interacting with others.
                                            Elio Masci

When someone adopts this idea, then he or she will give its own
meaning and belonging, once his or her INNER SELF is healed or
strengthened, then this person will be willing to share with ANOTHER
becoming a WE in a community.
                   Elsa Valenzuela

Who am I ?

      My name is Lawrence Sidney Price. I was born in Wolverhampton England, June 26th. !932. As I start to write this I  am in my seventy ninth year. When I will finish I don’t know My name doe’s not tell you who I am, it is only a label. My age tells you that I am an old in years, but not who I am.

Back in the Hippie era it was often heard that people were trying to find them-selves. At that time I did not understand what that meant. That some-one did not know who they were seemed ludicrous to me. As I have grown older I have realized that there is a lot more to that than is first evident. This is who I believe I am, and how I became that person.

     I am the sum total of my life’s experiences. Starting with my family, on to my relatives, school-mates, work-mates and other acquaintances. What I read and what I saw. I decided that I would accept some ideas from them,  and rejected others. How to treat other people, what to eat, what to wear and so on. Every little experience added to my personality. Until I became the person that I am today, and  I intend to keep adding to those experiences until the final experience.

     One thing I believe is. We cannot know who another person really is. We can fool other people into thinking they  know us, but the only one  that can really know us is ourselves.

Many people spend a lot of their energy and time trying to impress other people. What others think of you is of no consequence. It is what you think of yourself that counts. If you know that what you do, is done sincerely and with good intentions. That you are honest and truthful. That is all that matters. If some-one takes offence at what you do or say, apologize, and if they refuse it, they have the problem, not you.

      Here are some of those experiences that have shaped me. I learned to read at a very young age. I cannot remember when I could not read. It got me into a lot of trouble when I started school. They where teaching me "See spot run" and I was reading "Peter Rabbit" and "Just so Stories".
 That has had the more influence on who I am than anything else. If a person can read they can educate them-selves.
      Knowledge may give the impression that  you are educated, but if you do not use it, it is useless. Pass your knowledge on to another person and it will grow and you will have lost nothing. Never stop learning. A person who thinks they know everything, knows nothing. Someone said, ”If I meet a five year old child, that can teach me, I will listen. If I meet a one hundred year old that I can teach, I will.’‘
      As a child I was told by my elders and teachers that adults are smarter because they are older. Which did not make sense to me then and I have  since seen a lot of evidence against it. It is experience, and what you take from it that makes you smart, not age.

        I met a 80 year old lady that had never been more than two miles from the house where she was born. The only experience she had was shopping and keeping house. She had never been to Vancouver which was only a twenty minute drive from where she lived.  She could see the buildings of the city from her front window but had no desire to go there. There is no doubt that she was a good house keeper and looked after her family very well, but what a narrow life. Was she smarter than a ten year-old?, that had walked the streets of the city, seen a movie, walked through a forest, visited a zoo or camped out in a tent, in the wilderness.


      To para phrase John F. Kennedy. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for yourself”.  Thats right. We are all responsible for ourselves. We can follow our own path.  What ever you can think of doing you can achieve. Every thing that has ever been accomplished from the beginning of time, began with a thought. Keep a positive frame of mind and you will find that, if you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.

Give of yourself.

Want to be popular?

       Don’t be selfish. You will gain more by giving, than by taking. All conflicts, from family disputes to wars between nations, begin with selfishness. Thoughts like: “I am right, you are
wrong”,  “This is mine you cannot have it”
The comedian,  George Carlin gave a performance where he proved that we did not need ten commandments, only three. I say, “Thou shalt not be jealous” is the only one we need.
There is a movement called “Random acts of kindness”. A group of young people are asking that we all do small things for others, without expecting any payment. Nothing profound. Hold open a door for someone. Pick up litter in front of your home. Shop for an elderly neighbor or take them for an appointment. Just say good day to some one you pass on the street. Compliment  a gardener on their garden. I think you get the idea.

We are all connected.

You influence many people every day, and are influenced by them. Many people depend on what you do everyday.  Think about the last meal you had. How many people were involved in putting that food on your plate, and what about the table and chair. Plate, knife and fork. I will defy anyone to tell me anything that they do that doe’s not involve others. You are important. Not just to your family.

“Never believe anything  that you hear, and have doubts about what you see. Until you have proved it, to your own satisfaction. Even if I tell you it is so.”.

   This quote has been attributed to Confusious. If you have doubts about it’s validity, look to history. It was widely believed that the world was flat. That the world was the centre of the universe. Humans could not fly. Cars would never travel more than thirty miles an hour. More recently. Computers will never be  in  personal use. Humans could not survive in space. These are only a small number of doubts that people had. There are thousands more. Be an “open minded skeptic”, like me. Nothing has ever been invented or accomplished, that did not begin with a thought.

 Think and move outside your comfort zone.

    I know so many people that only see what is immediately presented to them. Here is an example.
Hold up a ball in front of several people, and ask. “What shape is this”. I guarantee most answers will be “Round” I would be very surprised if anyone said  “A sphere”.
  Many people get into a rut, or as I say, they have built for them-selves a small box that they never step out of. A comfort zone. Follow the same routine everyday. Eat the same foods in the same type of restaurants on the same day of the week. They will not step out of that “box” for any reason. Most of the time they are unhappy with their life but still follow the same path as they have always followed, and blame others when nothing changes. Every thing outside, they see as wonderful, but their life is a mess. We are all responsible for where we are today. If you follow the same road as you always have, you will always end up at the same place.
Life is like a card game. It is not the cards that are dealt you, it is how you play them that gets results. So it is with life. It is not what life deals you but how you deal with life that counts.
           Step out of that comfort zone that you have built for your-self, and you will find there is an interesting world out there.
         If you are not happy with your life, change it. You have made it what it is today and you can make it better or worse in the future. Change your direction.
         The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence. Climb over and take a closer look, you will be surprised.

Have no Regrets.
Do not dwell on past “mistakes”.

When I was asked: ”If you had your life to live over, knowing what you know now. What would you do different?‘’ My answer: ’‘I would make different mistakes.”
My opinion: There are no “mistakes”. We do things that do not turn out the way we intended, or on reflection we should not have done. The lesson is: Do not do the same thing   again. If it is possible to reverse it, do so, if not, take the lesson from it, but do not dwell on it. Fix it,  forget it, or find a way to live with it.
If you drop a carton of milk. It will do no good to stand there and cry and curse. Wipe up the mess and go buy more milk. Make sure you do not drop the new one.
Thomas Edison had 2000 failures, before he made a light bulb that worked. When someone commented that this was a waste of time, he said “Not so, I have learned 2000 ways how not to make a light bulb”
The past has gone. You cannot change it, but you can make your future, today.

Albert Einstein said:
 “There are two things that I am sure of: The infinite of the universe and the stupidity of humans, and some times I have doubts about the universe”

Do you have doubts about the voracity of this statement? Look around.

Here is a list of some of the foolish things people do, in spite of warnings of the dangers.

Drivers: Talking on cell phones. Texting. Speeding. Running red lights. Making illegal turns. Holding pets or small children on there laps. Not wearing seat belts. Weaving in and out of traffic.

Cyclists:  Not wearing helmets. Riding against the traffic. Weaving in and out of traffic. Talking on cell phones. Wearing earphones.

Pedestrians: Talking on cell phones. Texting. Jay walking. Stepping out into traffic, without looking, simply because they are in a marked crosswalk. Wearing dark clothing at night. Holding an umbrella in a manner that they cannot see the traffic.

Every winter, there are avalanche warnings broadcast,  and almost without fail there will be people killed within days because they ignore the warning.
There were movies shown on TV of divers looking for the body of a drowned person that swam in a dangerous place. In spite of this and right next to a warning sign, there were people swimming.

There are many other examples I could give. I am sure if you think about it you can come up with your own. If not, read any news-paper or watch any news caste.

                                                                    Do not Hate.

Hate will eat away at your very soul, as sure as water wears away stone. And it has no affect on the person you hate. If some one offends you, tell them so without anger. If they apologize, accept it, or not, then move on.

Have no fear of dieing.

There is an old adage that says. '’Two things are sure, Death and Taxes“  I am not certain about taxes but, as a character in a movie, I saw, said, “We are all going to die. It is only a matter of where, when and how “.

There is a line in the song “The Rose”. “It is the soul afraid of dieing that never learns to live“.
This does not mean you should take foolish chances. Live life to it’s fullest everyday. It may be your last.

I met a lady who was in her eighties. She was receiving chemo for cancer. She  told me that she had first been diagnosed with cancer at a very young age and was told she only had months to live. I asked her what her reaction was. Here is the jist of what she said. “I went home and cried a lot. Then I pulled my self together and decide that if I only had a short time to live I was going to do just that. Live every moment to the fullest.”  Since then she had travelled the world and had ten boutes with cancer.

I have now been wrting this for about two years. I am now in my 81st year. It is not meant to be a work of litrature, mearly my thoughts on life and how I have tried to live. It is written  with idea of me evaluating my life and how I got to be the person I am. I have no doubt some who read this will think differently from what I have written. It is not my intention to denigrade what others think. If others find offence at  what I have written,
too bad. I do not appologize. These are my thoughts and beliefs. If it offends you I suggest you re-evaluate your own  thoughts and beliefs on how you think life should be lived.

The next chapter I am sure will, at the very least, raise eyebrows, and also a few hackles.

Religion and Politics.
Two very contravercial subjects.

Over the centuries more lives have been sacrificed and more misery spred by religious and political causes, than any other reason, and it contiues today. All wars began or begin as either political or religious causes, but what ever the start, the other factor is soon brought in  to ferment the conflict.

I do not pick on any one political or religious group. There is very little to choose between them. They even fight among them-selves. Christian against Christian. Jew against Jew. Muslim against Muslim. Sikh agaist Sikh. Each faction believes they have the right interpritation of their holy book, and therefore think they have the right to dominate the religion. At the same time they build expensive edifices to their god, while the people live in poverty.
Many of the leaders live in magnificant houses while there subjects live in squaller

The only religion that appears to have respect for human life is Budism. Which I cannot judge as I know so little about it.

Polititions think they  have the answer to all the economic and social problems, and denigrade anyone who disagrees.  They vote themselves large saleries, big expence accounts and after only a short time they can retire on large pensions. All of this paid for with our tax money. The same money is handed out to buy the votes of those people that support them. While health care, old age pensions, schools etc. struggle for funds.

Do I believe in a god? Certainly not as depicted by any of the religions that I am aware of. I cannot conceive of a god that would council subjects to go out and destroy others just because they did not believe in  him/her. If God felt that way. God would be able to do his/her own destruction.

As a young boy, probably eight or eleven. I had a fantasy. That our brains were the same as radio recievers, and somewhere out in the cosmos there was a transmitter that we could connect with and find the answer to any question. Today I have to change that to a web site and our brains are computors. Some thing I have belived for many years is that we are all connected. Not just physicly but in spirite. Is there any disaster, no matter how small, that do’s not affect our emotions. An earthquake or a family in trouble. Will bring many people to give a helping hand.

After writing the above sentence. I tuned into a lecture, on PBS, by Dr. Wayne Dyer. I was suprised to hear that his belief paralled my own. That we are all connected. He says that there is a source that we can all connect to where all knowledge is stored, and no matter what it is that we wish to accomplish, we can do, by simply putting our minds into the right mood. Concentrate on what you wish to do, immagine that you are doing it. Do this every moment that you can, especialy at night just before you go to sleep. Eventualy you will suceed.

Immediatly after, I was doing some research, on Wikipeid, about  Albert Einstein, to find that he had similar beliefs. Nothing is impossible, anything that we can think of, we can do. All knowledge comes from one source and we all have access to it.

Is there life after this one? I will find out for sure someday. Judgeing by what happens in the material world. There has to be something. Nothing material can be destroyed. Burn it, blow it up or what ever. It mearly changes into another form. To me this says that our soul or spirit go’s on in another form.

There is nothing wrong with religion or politics. It is the people that practice them that spoil them.

Finances and Economics.

In 1950 I came to Canada. I had $2.00 in my pocket, some tools and a few  clothes. On September 3rd. 1955. I married Doreen.(The best thing I ever did) I had $200.00 in a bank account. A 1936 Chevy that I paid $200.00 for. And no job. I don’t remember what finaces Doreen had. Today 57 years later we have a nice home and are able to live very comfortably. Based on that, I think I can give a little advice to younger people starting out.

Our stratergy from the begining was: #1. Pay yourself first: No matter how little you earn, put away a fixed amount from every pay check. #2. Pay your fixed expences.  Rent or mortgage, utilities. insurances etc. #3. Buy only what you need   Food, Clothing, toiletries etc. Not what you want. If you buy on credit. Be sure that you have the money to pay it off at the end of the month. Better still, if you do not have the cash, forget it.

John D. Rockafella. Once said to a paper boy. “Look after the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves.” That statment is more true today than when he said it. One cent is one percent of a dollar. Most bank savings accounts pay only one and a half percent. Save a nickel and you have the interest on $5.00 in a bank account for one year. And no tax to pay.

As I write this, September 2012, The economics of many countries in europe are in a shambles. On this side of the world, Canada and the USA, are heading down the same road. All goverment pensions and many company pensions are broke or close to it. Looking back over the years. I see the beginings of this. As far back as the fifties. I heard statments such as: ‘’I only need to work two more weeks and I can go onto E.I. for the winter” another one was: “If there is not a job in my trade I am going on E.I.”  Since then unemployment insurance, wellfare and food banks have become a way of life for many. All of these were brought into effect to help people over rough spots. but they are being abused by many. There is an attitude among many. ”I am entitled to what everyone else has.“ We are only entitiled to what we are prepared to work for. And the equal opportunity to do that. Regardless of gender, religion or ethnic origin.

I look at young children and think of the debt that they are going to inherit from us.
Gambling is nothing less than a tax on the poor. The rich can afford to lose. The poor cannot.
It has become a cash cow for all levels of government.
If you are going to gamble, set yourself a limit. If I lose $20.00 I quit. If I win $10.00 I quit.
Also I only play games that I know there is a slight  chance that I can win. There is a lot of information on the internet as to the odds on any games and slot machines. The one I like is “The Wizard of Odds”.

This poem  sums up all of my writing.

IF.  By Rudyard Kipling.

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

December 6th 2013.

Nelson Mandela is physically dead.  But his spiritual legacy will live on  for centuries.

If there is anyone who reads this who is not moved emotionally, when listening to his life accomplishments. Then you are dead. Nelson has had more influence on humanity than any other human since Jesus of Nazerath. I have no doubt that he would disagree with me.
 He proves to me. We are all connected. By the way that we live we can influence many other people, for good or evil.
 I would like to say more but I find that I do not have the words that would express my feelings.


Friday, September 24, 2010

My Childhood Memories of Bilston.

Me and my family.
I am not sure how I should go about this. I do not want to bore you with a lot of personal stuff. How-ever the only memories I have, are personal, so I must draw on those experiences to tell you what I remember about Bilston.
My name is Lawrence Price. I was born on June 26th. 1932, in a nursing home at #1 Bath Rd. Wolverhampton.
I emigrated to Vancouver. B.C. Canada on May 11th. 1950. One step ahead of the draft board.
There were four of us children, Ronald, the eldest, Lawrence, (me), Sylvia and Graham.
Dad was one of four children, Arthur, my dad. Jesse, Louise and Gladys. Non of my fathers sibling's had children.
His mothers maiden name was Skinner.
Dad's family lived at 69 Dudley Street. There is a house in the Black Country museum that is a dead ringer for that house. I remember it as a dark dreary place. the main floor had three rooms. The front room where no-one ever seemed to go. I only remember going in there once. The curtains were closed and it smelt musty and dusty.
Coal gas was used for lighting. Their wireless was powered by a glass battery that had to be recharged at a store a little way up Dudley St.
The main living area was a living room and a large kitchen. The kitchen had a fireplace, which was used for some cooking. The grate was in the middle and there were ovens on each side. There was also a clockwork spit, which could be wound up and a roast or fowl hung on it to be cooked over the open fire. I never saw it used. There was also a huge cast iron gas stove. Dishes, pots and pans hands and faces were all washed in a big soap stone sink. There was a disused hand pump, that earlier was used to pump water from a well under the kitchen floor. The ceiling was hung with Christmas puddings and smoked meat. Granny always made her Christmas puddings one year ahead, they were well preserved with brandy.
Outside was a narrow yard with a coal shed and a toilet. In winter a paraffin lamp was lit to keep the toilet from freezing.
There was also a cellar under the house that was for coal storage but was not used. Across a yard, outside the back gate were several building that used to be used to manufacture hand made nails and chains. They were used by my grandmother and her neighbors as wash houses. Where they did there laundry. I remember there was still a forge in one.
Mothers family came from in Ladymoor. Her maiden name was Southan. She had seven siblings. Edward, Clara,(she died young) Daisy, Lilly, Ginny, Edie, Tom and Elsie my mother. There was also Winnie, who was raised as a sister but was really a niece to the others. It's a long story I will not go into. Daisy and Lilly moved to the London area when they married. Uncle Ted lived down Ladymoor. Aunt Edie lived on the Wellington Rd almost opposite Villiers Ave. Uncle Tom stayed in the family cottage.
They were all raised in a very small cottage that stood in the shadow of the steel works. I don't remember much about it, mother always said that it was built by her mother and dad. There was a large garden and they kept a variety of live stock,
fowl, ducks and an occasional pig.

The Wellington Road.
My mother began in service, as a maid, with the Rose family at 26 Wellington Rd. At that time, I guess, around the late 1920,s.
That part of the Wellington Rd. was occupied by business men, lawyers and doctors. Our family doctor was Dr. Lambah, he had his surgery some where there. I understand that section has deteriorated a lot of late.
Mr Rose was connected to a Builders Yard that was on the corner of Prouds Lane and Wellington Rd. Where the Bilston
Community Centre now stands. I do not know if he was the owner or just an employee. I remember it as a vacant lot, until
the Health Clinic was built during the war. The architect that worked on the design of that building, boarded with us while
the construction was going on. His name was Jim Sinate.
Later The Roses' moved to 274 Wellington Rd. The houses there were very much upscale. Mother went with them and became their house-keeper. After my father and mother married, dad moved in and became their handy-man come gardener. He also had a day job as a crane-driver at John Thomsons, in Ettingshall. This is the house my family were living in when I was born. That house is no longer there.
It had four rooms on the main floor. A front room, dining room, where (Aunt) Alice Rose lived, and a large kitchen and scullery, where we lived.
Up-stairs, there were two bed rooms. One for mother and dad and one for "aunt" Alice. A bathroom; and a box room where my brother Ron. and I slept.
The house was lit by electricity, unusual in those days. There was also hot water on tap, also rare then. The water was heated by one of the fireplaces. I think it must have been the kitchen fireplace, that heated the tap water, as that was lit most of the time for cooking. The hot water was stored in a large copper tank above a linen cupboard in the bathroom. A lot of the cooking was done on a large cast iron gas-stove. Laundry was done in a coal fired boiler, and rung out by a hand cranked, wooden rolled mangle. Then hung outside on a clothes line, held up by a wooden prop. In winter, on wet days it was hung on a ceiling rack, in the scullery.
In the out buildings, at the back, were a toilet, a coal-shed and a small tool shed. The garden was mostly lawn with flower borders, next to the house was a small patio with a rose trellis. The back yard was enclosed by a brick wall about, this is a guess, eight feet high. When we got older Ron. and I would climb onto the compost box at the bottom of the garden to watch the players in the tennis club, that was behind the back wall.. They also played croquet.
Across an open piece of land was the railway, the GWR if my memory is right. On the way home from school we would often tarry there to watch the trains, and got bawled out for being late home.
In front of the house there was a very small area with a privet hedge and a brick wall topped with iron railings. On the road there was an island, that divided the traffic. On the island were high gas lights. There is a photo, on page 78, in a book of old photos of Bilston by Elizabeth Reed. This was taken from in front of our house. The house was a short distance from where Wellington Rd. becomes Wolverhampton Rd. and Hall Park St.
My first school was Ettingshall Primery on Hall Park St. near Ward St. Known as "The Tin School", because it was clad in corrugated iron sheeting. To paraphrase the radio comedian, Bernard Miles, " When it rayned it day arf rakle." Yo remember 'im do' ya. "Over The Gate".
On the triangle corner of Wolverhapton St. and Wellington Rd. there was a service station where Don Everal kept his charabancs.
A short walk along Wolverhampton St. was Hickman Park. At that time there was a army tank set up as a memorial to the 1914/18 war. The things that stand out in my memory are the bandstand, where concerts were held, almost every Sunday, in the summer time. On August Bank Holidays there was the "Bilston Floral Fete". With Pat Collins Fair. Which had Round-a-bouts, Dodge-em cars a Mechanical Pipe Organ. Coconut shies, bust'in balloons with darts and various other stalls that sold candy floss, baked potatoes, chestnuts and other things, all designed to separate you from your money. There was a steam tractor, with a huge fly wheel, from which ran a belt to a generator that supplied the power for all of the fair.
Greenlanes Estate.
Alice Rose worked for Mander Brothers in Wolverhampton. I do not remember what she did there but I got the impression that it was a pretty important position. Some time in early 1937 she was transferred to a branch in London, and decided to sell her house. Which meant the Price family had to move.
I remember well, mother went to apply for renting a council house, only to be told that there were none available. Mother, ever resourceful, paid a visit to a council member that she knew. We got a house, at # 9 Hughes Place. It was a bit of a come down, after living in such a posh house before. The house had three rooms on the main floor. A large living room, a scullery and a room with a bath-tub and a coal fired boiler for laundry. Just inside the back door was a coal place and a pantry. The toilet was off the front hall. Lighting was by coal gas. Cooking was done on a gas stove or in the oven of the Triplex fire place. The doors were simple plank doors with simple latches to close them. The only heat in the house was by a Triplex fire place in the living room and fire places in two of the three upstairs bedrooms. Hot water came from a kettle. On bath night water was heated in the laundry boiler and dumped into the bath with a bucket.
When we moved in the house was in terrible condition. The previous tenants had not had much heat in there. The wood floors on the main floor were rotten and damp and the walls were badly marked and dirty. The floors were replaced with red tiles. One evening, while we were sitting at the table having a meal, there was a very loud bang. After looking around for some time someone noticed that one of the two beams, that ran across the ceiling, had split the full length. On inspection it was declared safe.
The back yard was big, but it too had been neglected. The soil was mostly clay and had not been turned over for many years, if ever. In front was a grass area, it could not be called a lawn. In the centre of the square was a garden that had a collection of evergreen bushes and trees, surrounded by an iron railing. In the area in front of this we played, Tin-can alerky, Puss in the corner, Tip Cat, and all of the other games that were popular at that time.
The whole neighbourhood was our playground. From the bottom of Marchant Rd. across to the Willenhall, Wolverhampton Rd. was open ground. This area, later, became Stowlawn estate. On this land was a small stone cottage left over from coal mining days. It was still occupied. There were two pools, the Pink-Pool and the Cracker, where we fished for Sticklebacks and tadpoles. The Pink Pool was on the right near the end of Marchant Road, I have since learned that this was an old flooded mine shaft. There was also a stream, the river Tame, that we called the Rusty Brook. It was an open sewer that ran with industrial waste. Near by was a golf coarse that had a pool. This pool was stocked by a fishing club, which I joined for ('arf a crown) 2/6p a year. The club also had a pool down The Lunt.
There was often a pungent smell from a factory the rendered down animal bones and horse's hooves, to make fertilizer and glue.
We called it the "Potted meat factory". I got maggots from there for fishing bait.
Groceries, milk and bread were delivered by horse and cart. Midland Dairy used an electric van. The horse new the route and where the milk was to be delivered. The delivery man took the bottles from the cart and the horse would move on to the next house without any prompting. Coal was delivered in sacks by lorry. If no one was home it was dumped on the street in front of the gate, and I and my brother would wheel it in to the coal shed in a barra.
Beer was delivered to the Villiers Arms on a cart pulled by two huge Clydesdale's.

Stowlawn Estate.
Preparation for the estate began after the war. Probably 1946. The pools were filled in, ground leveled and the river Tame was channeled underground through pipes in some places. German prisoners were employed for some of the prep. work.One year two prisoners came to our house for Christmas dinner, I think 1947. I don't remember when the building began.
We moved into one of the first houses that were completed. 35 Oaklands Green. What luxury. A complete bathroom inside the house upstairs, hot water on tap, three bed rooms, three rooms on the main floor and a second toilet just outside the back door.

Villiers Avenue.
There is a square about half way down Villiers Ave. On one side, the Villiers Arms, on the other stores. When I lived there, there was Taylors sweet shop and post office, run by two sisters. There was also a Home and Colonial store and a ladies dress shop. May be there were others but that is all I remember. Behind the Pub was an old house where my two cousins, Margery and Dolly Skinner, lived.

Prouds Lane.
I went to Villiers secondary school. The headmaster was Mr Lenton, (not sure of that spelling). My teacher was Miss Wright. the best teacher I ever had. Behind the row of houses across from the school was a piece of land where cows often grazed. Mountford Lane was next to the school play ground. On top of a steep hill there was an isolation hospital. Next to the school, on Prouds Lane, was a playing field At the top of that was "The cubs 'ut". Headquarters of the First Bilston Scout Troop. Next to that was a large mansion on a large estate. Where garden parties were held, open to the public. The last time I saw it, the house was derelict. Almost at the top was Farmer and Chapmans. They made enamel ware, stoves and such. I have heard stories that they had some connection with Bilston Enamels. I have no confirmation of that. Where Prouds Land meets Wellington Rd. There was a sweet shop. If my memory serves me right, Ankers was the name. Across the street was the Health Clinic. Now the community centre. Built some time about 1941.

Mount Pleasant.
Going east from Litchfield St., on the left was Hartils, they sold bicycles. "Wor there a chippy theer some weer"? Further along was the Technical school, it was also an art school. We went there for art classes from Bilston Central and I took lessons at night. Mr Cartwright was our teacher. The next place I remember was The Theatre Royal, on the corner of Mountford Lane. The Christmas pantomimes are the things that stand out for me. Some where near there was the bus depot.
Across the street was the Library, Art Gallery and Museum. all in one building. Then the police station on the corner of Bow St..
Opposite Mount Pleasant was Walsal St, on one corner was St. Leonards Manse. On the other was a grave yard, no longer there. Going further along Walsal St. St. Leonards Church on the left, and the graveyard on the right. Over the GWR bridge at the end were stores. One I remember was a Newsagent. My brother Graham delivered papers for them. He tells me the owners name was Horice. If my memory serves me well there was also cobbler.
Litchfield Street.
Walking south, towards town. On the corner of Mount Pleasant was Caddicks a sweet shop. If I remember right, the door to the shop was below the street level. We had to go down steps to enter the store. A little further along was the Odeon Cinema, formerly Woods Palace, later a bingo hall. Next to that was a bank, Lloyds, if my memory is as good as I think it is. A bit further were public toilets. It cost a penny in those days. On the corner of Bow street there was a pub, The Swan Bank Tavern, and on the other side on the corner was the Wesleyan Chapel. There was a hall at the back of the chapel, the home of the 6th. Bilston Scout troop. Which I belonged to for about five years. Across the street was, and I hope still is, the War Memorial.
Around the corner on Fraser street was the Bilston Boys Central School. More about this later.
Across the street was the White Rose. Where Aunt Lou was a barmaid for a short while. Some where near there was the Midland Red bus stop, where we caught the bus to Sedgley. The fare thre'pence. 3p. Around the corner, on Bath St. I think, was the fire station, the main post office and a veterinary clinic. There was also a Barclays Bank there, some where. Further was Railway Street and of coarse the GWR station. Back towards the Town Hall, Swan Bank. There are photos of a coal mine in the middle of the street at Swan Bank, circa 1906. I was always confused as to where the division was between Litchfield St., High St., Swan Bank, and Oxford St.

Church St. and High St.
In no paticular order here are some of the stores that I remember.
Udalls, butchers. Shelleys "Ye Olde Pharmacy" chemist, Boots, chemist, Woolworths. Marks and Spencers. A grocery store I do remember well was John Tart and Son. My mother dealt with this store for many years. Two things that I remember most, one was the smell of the open barrels and boxes of spices and dried fruits. The other was the huge rounds of cheese that were cut up with a wire attached to a wooden board. The person cutting the cheese would often give us a small piece.
The old market hall was a prominent building. This was were my mother bought vegetables and fruit every Saturday, from a vendor that had a stall just inside the last side door from Market St. Inside the front door was a magazine stall were mother bought us the Dandy and the Beano. She also brought home boiled sweets from a stall that made their sweets in Bilston. Out side the front of the market sat a man with drawings, begging for hand outs. He appeared to have no legs. To every ones surprise one day, he appeared as the doorman at the Allambra. Other places I remember, Heathes, green grocers. There were two of them, at one time if my memory is right.
Marshes, butcher. Taylors sweet shop. The Alambra Cinema, Pitts, butcher. Where my mother dealt for many years.
Just off High Street on Stonefield Road was Comas Coach Works. There was a blacksmiths shop as part of Comas where horses were shod. That was where I got my first job. There were two sons. Raymond, who was my age and went to Villiers when I did and Arnold who was older. The Coma family lived at the top of Prouds Lane just past Regent Street. Across Stonefield Rd. in front of Comas was Tranters sash and door factory. Down the street was Stonefield School. Across High St. was the Greyhound and Punchbowl. There was a story that went around that the highwayman, Dick Turpin, spent time in there. I remember when there was some digging done there and it was discovered that High St. had been built on a Roman Rd. Further down toward Church St. was the Savoy Cinema.
Another firm I worked for was Holdens Plumbing and Painting.They were on Hartshorn Street. I was a painter, it was where I worked when I left for Canada.
Somewhere near the intersection of High St., Millfields Rd., Coseley Rd. and Wolverhampton St. there was a blast furnace, that melted down scrap iron, into pig iron. In the same area was Hickman Tye Hardware.
Going down Cosley Road. There was the LMS railway station. It was high above the road. We took the train from there to Dudley to go to the zoo. The cost was one and thre'pence 1s/3p. Right next to it was a large slag heap. We called it Cosley mountain. I once climbed to the top of it and was suprised to find a small pool that had small water insects swimming in it.
Bilston Boys Central School
Which I attended from the age of eleven till fourteen, when illness ended my schooling.We were called "Central Sissies" by other boys. It was not the best time in my life. Most of the teachers should have been retired but because all of the younger ones had gone to war they were brought back to teach. The headmaster was Mr (Billy) Peach. He was a real tyrant. We had to wear uniforms. Green blazer, short grey trousers, until we were twelve then we were allowed to wear long ones. Red and green tie and a green cap. If we met a female teacher on the street we had to lift the cap, a male teacher got a salute. Billy Peach wore a mackintosh that had seen better days and was tied at the waist with a belt with no buckle. One of his pet peeves was gum chewing, which he blamed the American service men for. Another teacher I remember was Mr Roderick. He taught music and math. For some reason he took to picking on me. He often called me stupid. At one time he slammed a desk lid on my head because I did not take out a book fast enough. At that time he called me "grandpa". That name followed me for the rest of my school days. He also would punch in the chest, anyone that offended him, knocking them off their feet.
Miss Jones taught french. Another teacher, whose name I don't remember taught chemistry. She caused an explosion in the lab and was lucky enough to get away with minor burns. The man who taught woodwork had the habit of throwing anything that he had in his hand, to catch the attention of any boy not listening. Mr Knight taught science, he was a very mild mannered teacher. There was a Mr (Hank) Jones. The only things I remember about him are, he lived on Hughes Road near the top of Hughes place. One time he ran for the labour party, but was not elected.
The back of the school was next to Etheridge Girls School. When changing classes the girls crossed our play ground.
We were forbiden to talk to the girls under penelty of a canning. One boy broke the rule by talking to his sister. The only thing that saved him was the fact that it was his sister.

The War Years.
September 3rd. 1939.I was seven but I remember it well. My dad was drying dishes with one ear cocked toward the wireless in the corner of the living room. Winston Churchill was giveing his famous "We shall never surender" speach.
Dads comment was "Bloody" 'ell, weem in fo'rit now" All of the neighbours came out into the street and all kinds of speculations were made as to what would happen. One neighbour Mrs Guy made the prediction "Thaym ull never mek it to eer" What a false prediction that was.
Dad joined the AFS. Air raid warden groups were formed for the neighbourhood. Private and public buildings formed ther own groups to watch for fires during a raid. Armed guards appeared outside of factories and anti aircraft guns were set up around towns. Penn Common had several there. The Home Guard was formed and could be seen training. One day coming home from school, there was a machinegun nest set up at the corner of Hughes Rd. and Villiers Ave. But all of the guns were wooden.
Life around Bilston changed. No more the "Old Lamp Lighter" going around and lighting the street lights at night. Windows were covered with light proof curtains and blinds. Schools were closed until air raid shelters could be built. Anderson shelters sprouted in back yards. Gas masks became part of the dress code. Private cars were put in storage. Ration cards were in every housewifes shopping bag. Any thing that was made of metal and did not have a real useful purpose was collected. Iron railings and gates, the ww1 tank in Hickman park, all taken for the war. We raised fowl, ducks and geese for their eggs and meat. We had to use our egg ration coupons to by food for them.
Bilston and the surounding area did not go unscathed. A land mine fell on the open ground near the Wolverhampton, Willenhall road. It dug a huge crater and took the fronts of several nearby house. The houses looked like a childs doll houses with the fronts open. Very little had been disturbed inside. There were even dishes on tables, and ornaments on shelves. Next to the huge crater that the bomb made, and on top of the earth tha came out of it. Was a petrol tanker, that had been taking petrol to the fire fighters for their pumps. The driver just made it to a shelter before the bomb exploded.
After every air raid we would go and look at the damage. How we got the information as to where the bombs fell I don't remember. A house on Hallpark St. was hit by fire bombs and completly destroyed. It was in the middle of a row but none of the other house recieved much damage. A small explosive bomb landed near the GWR track near Wolverhampton St. No damage was done. Down Ladymoor a house was hit and a least one boy was killed there may have been more.
A land mine also fell in Ladymoor but failed to explode. It was only a few hundred yards from the back of my Uncle Teds house. He refused to evacuate while the bomb disposal men worked at destroying it. "That bloody 'itler aint goner push me out a my 'ouse" The bomb turned out to be a dud, sabotaged by some slave worker, probably.
The Goodyear works in Wolverhampton was burned down. Dad came home the next morning covered in black sticky soot.
That same night the hospital got hit by incenderies. No major damage. One morning when Dad got to work he could not work as the power to his crane had been cut off by a crate of fire bombs that had torn out the cables, but failed to ignite. When dimantled they were filled with black sand, another sabotage. On one occasion I saw a small boy banging an incendiary bomb on a lamp post. It too must have been a dud. Granny Price and Aunt Lou were evacuated for what turned out to be an unexploded ack ack shell.

Other Things I remember.
I know there are lots more that I should remember. Here are a few that are in no paticular catorgary.
The "Rag and Bone Man" that collected old clothes, scrap metal and yes, bones. The Gypsies that sold clothes pegs and bundles of kindling door to door. They often set up their camps on the open land near the Willenhall and Wolverhampton Rd. The man that sold spices and herbs door to door. The man that sold fruit and vegetables from a cart. The street sweepers. Post was delivered twice a day, except when Christmas day fell on a week day when it was delivered only once.
Of coarse the lamp lighter that lit the street gas lights until the war.
Sievens, barber shop on Dudley St. where I got my hair cut. One memory is when a large mirror fell off the wall onto my brother Ron and my self. I still have the scar on my finger from the large piece of glass that was sticking out of it when tha dust cleared. Ron got a small scratch on his knee.

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