Sunday 13th December 1959
Our Ger and his big brother.
Gerald was born sometime this evening. Obviously I knew nothing of the drama involved and Val would have played a starring role in looking after me while Mum went in to hospital and Gerald came into the world.
Gerald is my closest brother in all ways. He is the one that is both most and least like me. We were born so close together that we shared more than most and perhaps we were more competitive than typical brothers. He will hate me writing this about him. Gerald is “Our Ger.” I see a lot of me in his character. We are both pretty stubborn at times, we have opinions that are unshakable from us. We are both caring people at heart and want to do good whenever and wherever. We both hurt badly when we harm others. Where we differ is simply down to how I have treated him over the years. He had to suffer me being his slightly older brother. I gloated over the fact that for three months every year I was 2 years older than him. I did nothing to look after him as my little brother. I never got in a fight for him. I never defended him for his wilder teenage lifestyle. When we played football or cricket he would merely be the person to get the ball after I had whacked it as hard as I could all over the field. If I did anything good at school he would have to put up with the constant comparison in the style of “why can’t you be like him?” Not that he was a consistent school attendee. From day one he found a way to get home from Pilning School to the Beach. At 5 years old he would just walk out. He had it down to a fine art by the time of secondary school. He would often arrive home from Patchway just after the Western Roadways coach dropped us off in the afternoon. I soon gave up replying to teachers asking “where is Gerald?”
He is the most like “Our Dad” and in many ways is the alternative consequence of the environment in which we were both brought up. The diary suggests that we were raised with an unintentionally liberal view to supervision from our parents. What they didn’t know is that they, Dad and Gerald, were seriously admired and at the same time worried about. They could do everything that I can’t. They can fix things, grow things, comfort people, raise fine children, laugh and cry within seconds of each other and have families to envy from distant viewing. Not that I have ever told them so.
My favourite “Our Ger” story has been told many times to my friends. When we played cricket in the field I would practice my cover drive long and hard. We would play all afternoon. By play I mean I would bat and he would bowl all afternoon. When he did bat I bowled as fast as I could so as to bat again as quickly as possible. Gerald eventually had a frustrated response. The stump hit me square between the lips from 22 yards. The hospital visit involved stitches and severely dented pride.
A few years later and on to a conversation after a parents evening at school. I came home and as usual my Mum said they were pleased with my report and that was it. No comment from Dad, the case was closed apart from one more thing. She then said that Gerald had a good P.E. report and that he was really good at cricket; that it was HIS sport and I should LET him be good at it. That was not the thing to say to me. Gerald, like me, played for the school team above his age group. He was a good bowler and could bat a bit. I was not having it at all. Cricket was my sport and he could go stuff himself if they thought he would be better than me. I was also cricket captain. Gerald Stedman batted at Number 11 after that.
Move forward ten years or so and I brought my club, Rickley Park on tour to play against Pilning Big headed Richard is scoring runs down the order when Gerry is brought on to bowl. Our Ger was now Gerry to his mates. This Gerry was not beyond pulling a fast one to get me out. He decided to go around the wicket. No problem, pick middle guard and make sure you cover up for the in cutter. He stepped wide of the crease. So wide in fact; yes in fact, that both front and back feet were well outside the return crease. “No ball” I shouted, as the ball left his hand. Smack him over long off I thought. No call came from the umpire. Someone, John Scriven, on the boundary, caught me out from that dirty trick. Gerald had a long laugh as I left the field fuming.
I can hear him saying “Look at the scorebook Rich. It says Stedman R ct Scriven B Stedman G” “Look at the number 36 after it Ger” was my pathetic riposte.
To my personal regret, we barely meet now. We have different lives that somehow just don’t meet up. I genuinely worry that his perception of me is a seriously wrong one. Not that he has anything to apologise to me for. And similarly, neither do I feel a need to do so to him. Therein lies the product of a boy being born in December 1959, unluckily for him to be a little brother to an arrogant boy born in September 1958.
If Mum kept a diary it might have looked like this for December 13th 1958. Gerald was due but probably not on this very day. He was a very small baby and no doubt it was just a normal day for a heavily pregnant housewife with four children. There was no thought that he would arrive this particular Sunday.
Sunday December 13th 1959
7. Sort Richard
7.30 Light the fires, breakfast
8. Kids up. Tony clean stairs, Val bedrooms, Alan the outside path
9. Send kids out to play. Val and Pauline with Richard. Alan and Tony out in field
10. Start dinner
11.30 Kids in
1 Send kids out for walk on sea wall. Stay in with Richard. Dad tinkering with motor bike.
3.30 Kids in
7.00 Baths and bed
9 Dad off to work – Night shift again
ON THIS DAY IN
1986 1sts Buckingham A L 0-31
1987 1sts Chesham H W 56 -3 1t 1c
1992 Bristol City H 4-0
2003 Yeovil H 0-1
2005 Port Vale H 0-1
2008 Tranmere H 2-0
2014 Bath C H 0-2
Next Entry 11th December 1960