Luke 2 v 41– 52
In writing these Pauses for Thought I have realised that I drift off into nostalgic journeys, and I know from messages that I have received that some readers have been doing the same. Being confined to home sorting out photographs and the like, generates many, ‘do you remember when?’ scenarios and conversations, so I thought I would share with you some of my childhood memory’s
Many of you will be aware that I was born and brought up in Bradford in West Yorkshire, in a suburb called Lidget Green, which, as with many such suburbs was once a village in its own right before being absorbed into a larger conurbation.
The centre of Lidget Green was actually the junction of four roads; Legram’s Lane, Cemetery Road, Clayton Road and Beckside Road, and the village had grown around this point. A cluster of small shops stone built with stone slabs for roofs, the Methodist Church, and the Oddfellows Pub were all grouped around the cross roads.
We lived down Cemetery Road, the’ we’ being Mum, Dad, my two sisters and me. At the top of the road there was a narrow access road called, Necropolis Road and as a young lad I always thought how nice it would be to live on a road with a ‘posh’ name like Necropolis, until I discovered that it means ‘place of the dead’ and it lost it’s attraction. It did lead to the cemetery when all said and done.
Typical of Bradford’s topography Cemetery Road was a steep hill and as we descended it opened out into allotments and open fields, (locally called the Filla’s), on the left hand side, and Lidget Green Primary School on the right, a single storey stone built rather uninviting group of buildings that I attended from the age of 5 till 11 years old when I moved to Priestman Senior School a bus ride away.
I can’t say that I was happy at Lidget Green Primary School, I can’t put my finger on why but I can recall going home half way through the morning and mum dragging me back on several occasions. I did have a speech impediment, a stammer that badly affected my ability to speak particularly when I was excited or nervous. Reading out loud in class, which is what we had to do, was a nightmare and took me twice as long to complete as the rest of the class.
Our house was half way down the street among several rows of terrace houses all with a ‘Glendare’ prefix, Terrace, Avenue, Street etc. We lived on Glendare Terrace number 17, a stone fronted mid terrace house.
It was quite a comfortable house with two rooms on the ground floor level, two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, and a large attic at second floor. I stress an attic not a roof space, because this was my sister’s bedroom. It was a proper room with its own staircase leading off the landing, and a small roof light on the pitch of the roof.
I always thought it looked spooky up there, and anyway, it was out of bounds for little boys, it was girls only.
I had the small ‘L’ shaped bedroom at the rear on the first floor, it used to be a bigger room but it had been divided off to form a bathroom and a bedroom so it was quite small, but I thought it was great, and with a couple of dad’s overcoats on top of the bed in the winter it was reasonably warm.
We had coal fires and I always enjoyed watching the coal man delivering the coal. He reversed his lorry up the back alley, carried the bags of coal across our yard on his back and then expertly tipped them into the chute into our cellar. My mum made me sit at the window and count how many bags he delivered so that he didn’t overcharge us.
The cellar was accessed down a stone stair from the back room and half way down, high up on the wall, was the gas and electric meters. They were slot meters and dad would push in half crowns, (2/6d), and if he forgot to put them in, the gas or the lights would go out. Periodically the gas or electric man would come and empty the money out of the meter and calculate if we had overpaid, if so mum got some money back.
At the end of our terrace we had a Fish and Chip shop and if you took an armful of newspapers to the shop they would give you a bag of chips (worth 3d), needless to say that was my job.
At the end of the other Terrace there was a small shop owned by Mr. and Mrs. West, and when mum ran out of Woodbines (cigarettes) after closing time, I had to go and knock on the West’s back door and ask for mum’s cigarettes. They always grumbled but then they always served me.
We know very little of Jesus’s childhood in fact the only reference is (Luke 2 v 41) when during a visit to the Passover celebration the child Jesus went missing only to be found in the Temple. I would like to think that Jesus played games just the same as all the other children. I like to think that he ran races with his friends and played what- ever the Hebrew version of football, cricket or rugby was with his cousin John.
I’m sure that during his childhood he went out for walks with his parents and had days out having a Jewish picnic.
But it was in his Father’s house, the Temple where he felt most at home, it was there where he heard the word of God from the scriptures and learned the prophecies that would mould his destiny.