Time of our Life
The Time Of Our Life
(Love and Marriage)
A little man with a big hammer was beating feverishly on the inside of my skull.
I groaned, opened one eye and promptly closed it again as daylight stabbed me
viciously in the face. I turned my head away from my tormentor and tried opening
one eye again. I was marginally more successful; at least I managed to keep it half
open. My mouth tasted as though I’d swallowed the contents of an ashtray and I
urgently needed to go to the toilet. Closing my eye again I tried to ignore the
insistent demands of my bladder. My hand moved down to my groin, I was stiff, but
only because I needed a pee. I dreamily tried to take my mind off it b y imagining
that Marie was with me and that it was her hand.
A thought seeped sluggishly into my brain trying to avoid the little man and his
hammer. “Married……. I’m getting married today.” My thought processes
accelerated “Married!” I snatched the clock from the bedside table, focused on it
with difficulty and breathed a sigh of relief. It informed me it was 8.15am on the 2nd
May 1959. I sat up and wished I hadn’t. The little man was still trying to batter his
way out from behind my eyeballs. Groaning I managed to find the floor with my feet,
stood up and immediately sat down again.
“Jeezus I must have had a good stag do, I can’t remember any of it.” I lurched to
the bathroom, relieved myself then washed my hands whilst peering into the mirror.
A tramp, red and bleary-eyed stared back at me. I put my head under the cold
running water. At least it appeared to have drowned the little bugger in my head. I
took a long slurp from the tap and felt almost human again.
I could hear sounds coming from the kitchen. That would be my mate and old
shipmate Billy Ashton or his missus. I was staying at their house overnight so that I
wouldn’t see Marie in her wedding dress (or anything else for that matter)
I thought to myself, “She could have had the pick of any man but chose a
no ndescript ex sailor with little income, no savings and a boring job on a production
line. I owned a 12year-old rust covered car, smoked like a chimney and liked a
drink or two. How many times had I staggered home from the pub after lunch, gone
to sleep on the front room settee of her parents house where I lodged and woken
later to see her doing the ironing humming to herself. Noticing I was awake she
would give the radiant smile that could turn me to jelly. I would reach for her but she
would wag her finger and say “No you don’t mister or I’ll never get this lot finished”.
So I would lie there drinking in the beauty of this flower that was now too become
My mind drifted back to that fateful day not long after the end of WWII that we first
met. I’d just joined the Navy and became mates with Jimmy Dinsdale who’d joined
up the same day. The first time we got leave he invited me to stay with him at his
parent’s house. He knew I had no proper home as my parents had died in the war
and I’d lived in an orphanage. Little did I know how his act of kindness was going to
change my life.