The Man That Lived With Grandma

I got one of those spam type things pop up on my Facebook feed egging me on to start tracing my family tree.

My family is a strange one, it has its share of dark corners, well hidden secrets and surprises as well as an expanse of pure love and support. Despite this I know quite a lot about my family and its roots the history and stories of my mums side is fascinating to me, to know we had someone fighting in wars and battles all the way back to the clans of the highlands to today.

I got out pen and paper and decided to see how far back I could do this on my own… I did well with mums side and not too well on dads side. My dads mum, my Grandma, doesn’t have the same surname as me and not once have I questioned this until trying to write her roots on paper, her fathers surname is not the same as hers.

Grandma used to live with a man called Cliff for as long as I can remember. This man was not my Granddad… they were divorced before my brother or me were born and that was OK. As an innocent child I assumed that she had chosen to go back to her maiden name and that was why she didn’t have our surname any more. I haven’t really thought about it until today, I know her Maiden name is Land and not Goodwin and yet I kept telling myself she didn’t want to keep Granddads surname and that’s why she is a Goodwin. Is this making sense?! My brain confuses me too folks!

Grandma must have married Cliff… not once have I been told the stories of that big day, I haven’t seen pictures. But yet I’ve heard all about Grandma and Granddads wedding and seen many photos and remember being shocked at the sheer beauty of my grandma in her youth, she could have been a model.

I don’t even remember being told who this man that Grandma lived with was or why he was there, we just called him Cliff and accepted him. He was a nice man, he built things from scratch like a dolls house and furniture he surprised a tiny me with for Christmas one year. I don’t ever feel like I’d grown close with him despite his niceness and his constancy in my life he was just … there. Grandma and Cliff had a fall out a while ago and Grandma moved out to live on her own. I haven’t seen Cliff for many years and I don’t think I’ve ever missed him, did I not get given the chance to bond with him as a child or did I just not let myself? Why is this man who was in my life for so long such a mystery, such a stranger!?

 

A War In Time

The electricity was off due to previous attacks by the Germans. It was mid 1940’s and world war two was nearing its end. The lack of electricity made things a lot easier for the black outs to be carried out. The only advantage to darkness, invisibility.

Within the town of Shackleton it was dark and silent. No birds sang in the trees, no children played on the streets, no cars passed by with people chatting inside. The towns people were in their warm cosy homes giving all their attention to the radio by the warming light of the gas lamps listening to the talkative radios. 

The radio talked with an unhappy tone to Mr and Mrs Goggins. The panicking couple listened closely and carefully.

“News flash. The Germans have produced a bomb capable of freezing time of the area it hits and a 3 mile radius from the blast. This weapon will most likely be targeted at places of education, army camps and bases and hospitals. We are telling you all not to panic as Adolf Hitler has told his soldiers that the bomb will not be used unless in dire emergency. So we are safe, for now, but…”

“Click”

Mr Goggins could listen no more to what the radio had to say. He could clearly see his seven month pregnant wife panicking. He sat by her and held her soft, warm hands in his and comforted her best he could. Working late the next night his wife would be on her own for most of the day, but he promised he would try and get home as soon as he could. He would have to do some marking at home. Mr Groggins was a history teacher in the neighbouring town.

Dreams that night took Mr and Mrs Goggins to a place where everything was happy and back to normal. No wars, no vandalism, no arguments, just world piece, a world where everyone got along. Waking the next day the memories came flooding back, and dreams soon dissipated. 

****

Bored and lonely, marking books by the dim gas lights on a solid oak desk that had had many misbehaving children lent over to endure the harsh crack of the dreaded cane on their bare behinds, sits Mr Goggins, red pen in hand ticking and crossing the hard work of his pupils.

Mr Goggins hated being alone, he was an adolescent teacher at the tender age of nineteen and still had a lot of his life left to live. He’d escaped fighting the war and he’d had a lovely, caring wife by his side with a youngster on the way. He wasn’t prepared to take any chances with the possible bombings. It was late at night but still, the school could have been a perfect target for the Germans, after all if people aren’t taught soldiers aren’t made.

Just thinking this made Mr Goggins get agitated, so he quickly packed the remainder of the unmarked books in his bag ready to go home to his loving wife.

There was a slight rumbling felt through the floor, Mr Goggins panicked and dropped his bag, splaying books across the cold stone floor. The sound of planes filled the air, followed by the cry of the air raid sirens calling people to get to the safety of the shelters.
The gas lamp burnt out, leaving Mr Goggins stood alone in the darkness, too scared to move. A sudden loud explosion shook Mr Goggins to life and he swiftly dived under the solid oak desk. As the walls collapsed around him Mr Goggins was helplessly trapped. A white flash and Mr Goggins’s freezing of fear became freezing of time.

 (I found this in a pile of papers tucked away in a dusty box. I wrote it when young. What do you all think? Should I progress this, make a story out of it? Mr Goggins could come back to our time!)