1963

28th March

My name is Richard Edward Stedman

I live at 6 Albert Road Severn Beach

My Mum is called Eileen

My Dad is called Mister Harold Stedman

My sister is called Valerie

My brothers are called Alan Anthony and Gerald.

I go to Pilning County Primary School

Note

Tidied up a bit and spellings corrected but words are as written. In the March entry I am practising the words that Mum and Valerie are teaching me before I go to school.  When Gerald went a year later the school made it perfectly clear that this was not needed and is positively discouraged and that they would teach him. They were patently wrong.

I didn’t have a mummy or daddy. We had a mum and dad.

Friday November 1st 1963

I had a good day at school John Macloud and me had to play in the sand

I was a good boy and not naughty or anything but Miss Eccles made me play in the sand

I went home on the bus and sat on the top seat on my own

I read three books Miss Eccles gets angry when I tell her the books are easy to read

My mum is having a baby

My dad is making tea

We don’t need a baby but we are getting one anyway

Note

Our family was completed when Derek was born on this day. His, then 5 year old, brother didn’t really have a lot of concern for the new kid on the block. Derek was of course closer in age to Gerald by that important year and a bit so naturally they tended to play and crucially, gang up together, as young kids in a large family. I say large but our street was no stranger to large families. When talking with a fellow Albert Road old boy in the pub recently with old friends we counted the family sizes and Number 6 had a relatively small number when compared to the 10+ children in other houses along the street.

Derek would have a hard time with us two. While the teenagers of the family were doing their own thing Derek had to fit in wherever. He was the ultimate in hand me down children as witnessed by the photo and that pullover. He was always just too young to join in the rough and tumble of my football matches in the playing field. He would rather be off with Gerald, catching fish or fixing things with Dad. I remember that when we had boxing gloves I would sometimes hit Gerald a bit too hard. It would then of course be Derek’s turn to use my gloves and Gerald would take it out on poor Derek for fun. He went to Marlwood School and that was probably a good thing because there he could do his own thing. We did once play at Marlwood on a Tuesday night and he was in their younger age school Rugby team. I felt quite proud of that fact as he was obviously a decent sportsman but I had no idea of how good he was. He played it down in what became his quite modest way of keeping things level headed and simple.

When I left home at 18 Derek was then 13. Gerald had left school so Derek was left at home to deal with life as it became. He suddenly became the only child in the house. Derek grew up very quickly. He had to put up with Mum’s more worrying times. When she was in Glenside Hospital being treated he would be at home with a fretful and uncommunicative Dad. I felt bad that I was elsewhere and waltzed back in every so often and then left him again to deal with things. When Mum was discussing the voices in her head Derek would no doubt rather be anywhere other than being at home. The gap in our ages became best fun when he was 16, and I was 21. We could talk in our common language of beer, pubs and Rugby. Of course we never ever talked about the important things of our shared life and probably never will.

three of us

Derek takes centre stage

ON THIS DAY IN

1986       2nds Old Verulamians H W 4-0

1994       Cambridge A 1-1

1997       Northampton A 1-1

2003       Swansea A 0-0

2014       Telford A 1-0

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