Thursday, 6 April 2017

War Baby ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 36 Responsibilities start to take its toll, and a lesson learned

Another in the series from Eddy

I was about halfway through my apprenticeship and had settled to the thought that I wanted to be a draughtsman in the electro and mechanical field and make it my career.

I was doing well at the one-day school release and was passing the necessary exams. This would take me beyond the end of my apprenticeship.

By this time, I had proposed to Janet, and she said yes. The ring I bought made it official. Janet had moved on from OPC and started a new job at the Westminster Bank in Greenwich. She was working as an accounting machine operator at OPC and had now got herself a job doing the same thing in the bank. My mum and dad thought a lot of Janet and were happy that we had become engaged. Saving became the thing to do.

I got a drumming job at the Rochester Way Social Club with a pianist, Len and I worked both Saturday and Sunday evenings. The money would be banked and the savings started to grow. I did not know it then but I was heading for a lot of trouble. Janet and I were settling to a pattern of life which suited me but not for Janet.

Every Saturday, Jan would come to my place we would go out together and then go back and have tea. Come the evening I would walk Jan to the bus stop see her on the bus and go to the club to play the drums.

On Sunday, I would go over to Jan’s see her and visit a relation of Jan’s catch the bus back to the club for the Sunday gig. Janet and I started to row, I could not get an evening off and the truth be known I did not want to take time off.

My thoughts were, if we want to marry we must save, and I was in a position to save so why not do it. This went along until after a huge row I was told it was over and Jan got on the bus and went home. I got a letter soon after that calling off the engagement and if I wanted the ring I know where to go to get it back. I wrote back saying it was just as well we broke up

That was it, I was free at last of all the aggro that I had from Janet. Half of me was relieved and the other half was missing her. I commiserated with my friends Steve Searl, Tim Leonard and Ron Hawes all got the hard-done-by story from me. In time, I was to realise just how selfish I was during that time. I thought I was doing “The Right Thing”.

I had no appreciation of what Janet wanted out of our relationship and thinking back I now know. Janet was a young woman and we should have been having a good time. Of course no girl wants to be packed off back to her home on a Saturday; she wanted to be out enjoying herself.

I was having a ball playing in the club doing just what I wanted to do, and getting paid for it. I was using the excuse of saving to justify my wish to carry on playing. I did not see it then but I had become very selfish.

We had been together for about two years by then.

During the time I was at the RWSC, I joined up as a member. It seemed a good idea as the drinks were cheaper and it was the closest drinking hole near to my home. I got dad to join too and it soon became a big part of my family’s social life.

The club was very popular around the area and was very busy at the weekends. Bingo being played in the hall on the first floor, downstairs had the main bar area that led to a big hall at the back with another bar and a small stage. I could leave my drum kit there all week and do not have the bother of taking it home after the gigs. A perfect set up. We played for dancers and after the interval, a host of singers came up and did their special songs and claimed a bit of fame for five minutes. Some were good and others were not so good.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Pictures; courtesy of Eddy Newport

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