The past couple of days before deciding to write the piece I had to get clarification on a couple of things. It was then I realized that by finally writing my story it was going to open a lot of doors inside me that have been shut for many years.
This may not be a bad thing but then without me realizing this could also be very damaging. The way the mind processes things especially traumatic experiences can show up unexpectedly many years later.
I also figured that I cant tell the whole story without pieces missing no matter how fucked up they may be. My story may not be normal but a lot of the issues I’ve faced are very common.
Granted I faced many difficulties but overall I did ok. So many children just as capable as I were completely failed by the system and ended up fucking there lives up and in many cases continuing the cycle.
If I show the good with the bad then it shows there is a way out no matter your background and how hopeless things can seem.
There have been some groundbreaking discoveries regarding psychology during the past thirty years but I honestly feel that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Another factor which also needs to be strongly considered is many of these discoveries are happening too late due to the government refusing to spend the money where it’s needed most.
A prime example of this is soldiers coming back from war. So many veterans are being failed by the system and have serious mental health issues which are being left untreated.
The American government started to do research on PTSD straight after the Vietnam war. This in itself is a scary thought as that conflict ended in 1975.
There have been numerous wars since then with very little thought regarding the after-effects and mental health.
The same principals can be applied to almost anything with regard to mental health. I’ve spoken in detail in previous posts about the widespread drug issue which exploded onto Liverpool.
Also the extreme poverty and injustice in certain poorer areas of the city. The worst of all would be putting children into prisons. What kind of moron didn’t see that coming back to haunt them?
Its amazing that so many of these widespread issues are still continuing to be ignored even now. It’s no secret that the government really doesn’t care but even from a financial standpoint would you rather pay out ten million or one hundred million.
It really doesn’t make sense especially when the Conservative party has always been all about the money.
I need to make it clear that I’m not against locking children up but it should only be done as a last resort. If a child has committed murder or rape then at the very least they need to spend time in some sort of a secure facility.
Obviously, every case is different and accidents can happen but let’s be honest if your killing or raping as a child then you really need round the clock specialist care and supervision. There has been many examples of this including the Mary Bell case.
Her case was far from normal but after years away from her environment she was released and since then has been a model citizen but under a new identity.
The flip side to that coin really doesn’t bear thinking about. Locking up kids who have had absolutely no guidance who are born into poverty is not rehabilitation. This only keeps them in a constant state of reoffending.
Granted there is more opportunity now to break that cycle but still if all you have known is a life of crime and you have very little education its difficult to actually walk through that door.
The persons environment is also a huge factor in all of this. If you’re surrounded by poverty and very little options for a well-paid job then to avoid disappointment which is already a daily thing you will look elsewhere no matter the cost.
A similar thing happened with the town of Skelmersdale which is just outside Liverpool. Many families were enticed to move there as many government programs were initiated there.
A lot of factories and warehouses were opened there and many Liverpool families left in droves as the opportunities in Liverpool were so few.
The thought of subsidized housing and plenty of well paid stable jobs was exactly the push that many needed to up sticks and go.The inevitable happened after a few years the funding was cut and most of the community was suddenly out of work.
The knock-on effect of this was many businesses would move out of the area as there was no money.In about a year the place had transformed drastically which was a huge contributing factor to the spike in crime.
In true government fashion instead of actually addressing the problems brought on by these cuts decided was just easier to lock people up including children which were the birth of the borstals. This was seen as the cheaper option but the long term effect was far from it.
I often wonder if the same help which is available now was made available to my dad would he have got better. I know deep down the answer is most likely no. He could never take responsibility for anything and it was always somebody else’s fault.
If a person could not be blamed then it would be the place. For many years all he would talk about is Torquay.
It was like the Dick Whittington story as in his mind in Torquay the streets were paved with gold. Every meal was a banquet and every paycheck a fortune.
One thing he did get right was every paycheck was a fortune and it had to be as a newspaper is about thirty quid down there.
Spoiler alert John Bailey ended up getting there years later and none of the issues he had run away from were solved. He ended up coming back to Liverpool back up to his usual tricks.
Things were really deteriorating at home and it wasn’t getting better whatsoever. My mum was in an impossible position and she had absolutely no idea of my father’s addiction when they got together.
For years like many addicts, he managed to hide it well. However, Heroin is just like any other drug and it will just keep taking and taking from you until you have nothing left.
The final straw is when she came home one day and found him fast asleep on the couch with a needle hanging out of his arm and it was time to go.
What amazed me the most is that a lot of this was hidden pretty well from me. I knew things were not right at times. I didn’t understand what was happening as I was a kid but knew things were not normal.
At the same time, there were some really good memories as well. I remember the first Mcdonalds opening in Liverpool City Centre. I was really excited as My mum and dad and I went to meet Ronald Mcdonald who was doing the grand opening.
It sounds weird to me to tell this story now as Mcdonalds is everywhere. In 1984 we would have to drive into the city center and go for burgers.
As this was a new thing it really was a special treat and it was so exciting to go for a burger. Wow, I’m old ha hahaha.
The only burgers you could get before Mcdonalds was Wimpy. The wimpy restaurants are still around but you mainly see them in service stations now.
When there was not so much competition they thrived especially in Liverpool and Manchester.
I remember driving back from London and stopping in the services and to my surprise seeing a Wimpy. I started having some serious nostalgia and went over and ordered my food. I remember being all excited and couldn’t wait for my meal.
Ok, I’m being as nice as possible now when I’m describing the food. It basically tasted like disappointment and failure.
There have been occasions I have seen Wimpy again in other remote locations but the same wave of nostalgia did not return.
I simply opted for the 4-pound cheese sandwich on stale bread deal from WH Smiths.
Also when you go to wimpy you don’t get to have the thrilling argument with the service station staff member who is trying her hardest to sell you a ten-foot Toblerone and an out of date dairy milk the size of my head for half price as it’s just gone out of date.
Anyway, I remember us all going and queuing up outside as most of Liverpool had come while Ronald ran up and down giving us toys. Then Mr Wimpy made an appearance. Both stores were clearly trying to outdo each other but as a little kid, we really saw the benefit of it.
There was also a lot of pictures circulating from this time of us as a family and we look really happy. Things were initially hard for me when we left John Bailey but as the years went on I saw this was the only viable option.
I could not understand for the life of me why my mum Carol would end up with someone like this. It wasn’t just the fact that John was extremely charming and was doing very well.
when they met I honestly think they were both dealing with some serious issues.
Especially my mum she had the worst relationship with my grandmother, Helen.
I will talk extensively about her in later blogs and unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of positive stuff to say about her either.
I don’t have any bad feelings towards her but when she died I really wasn’t bothered as harsh as that sounds.
It probably affected me a lot more than I realized when I was younger but it was simple in my mind. I thought well she really couldn’t care less about me so why should I be upset now shes dead.
I didn’t wish it on her and she lasted until she was 88 so she didn’t do too badly all in. Considering she wished herself dead for about 18 years as well.
She also had a horrendous childhood and was beaten whenever she did something wrong by her mother.
I remember hearing a tale of when she broke her leg and she was beaten for not taking care and then as normal she had to wash all the pots, pans, and dishes with her leg in a cast resting on a stool.
She was also given electric shock treatment by doctors when she was a child when it was not needed but way back when nobody would dare challenge a doctor’s opinion.
We will touch a lot on her later but the point I’m trying to make is that my grandma had a terrible childhood and had no idea how to express or show love. This was very damaging to my mother who in turn gravitated towards my father.
He had been part of a very destructive cycle and did not have the tools to change. The only difference being my father was exposed to serious violence from such a young age so he was constantly in survival mode. The drugs made this go away even if only for a short time.
So then together they had me and like there own parents had the best intentions to do the right thing. There is a saying which rings so true which is the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I’m one of the lucky ones who managed to break this cycle. It didn’t happen overnight and as a result, I’ve made some horrible decisions that have impacted me greatly.
Luckily I learn from my mistakes and I can take ownership of my actions which is unfortunately not very common these days as so-called experts seem to have a name for every condition.
So after Carol found the needle in John Bailey’s arm she started planning how to escape. As you can imagine it would be impossible to talk about this with John so she had to do all of this in secret.
Some people would argue that she was wrong to separate a child from his father. However, is this really an environment that a child needs to think is normal. Having a role model like John Bailey would not have helped me whatsoever.
I don’t think I would have gone down the Heroin route but I certainly went down the horrible path of addiction with cocaine.
I’ve come close to jail before but I know its not a normal part of life. It really burns my head out when people wear jail like a badge of honor but then I think its a serious sign of the times.
So Carol was seriously biding her time and at the same time trying her utmost to make everything all seem so normal.
This was for two reasons firstly for my sake and secondly, so John Bailey would not suspect anything. If he had smelt a rat there was no way he would let her leave.
As well as doing absolutely everything from taking care of me, cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills at the end then he could not function without her.
Not only that he could cause arguments and give himself a reason to use drugs again and again. So all in it was a win-win situation for John.
Like I mentioned earlier on as well having someone else there would mean he would never have to look at himself in the mirror as everything could be her fault. It must have been a living hell and so pulled it off well managing to leave when she did.
Then a gift from the gods came to her my dad was in trouble again and it was looking certain that he was going back to prison. He was caught with a van full of stolen televisions and once again he had got himself into trouble with his mate Mo.
As well as drugs ruining him his so-called friend Mo fucked him big time. My dad had gone from robbing jewelry stores to stealing TVs from schools and old people’s homes.
The scam was simple as people were a lot more trusting back then. He and Mo would pull up in a van and go into a pace such as a school or a private old people’s home wearing coveralls.
They would say they were here to fix the broken TV and 99 percent of the time were not challenged. They would walk in unplug the TV walkout normally and drive off.
He was doing this for months and suddenly he was caught with an anonymous tip which dropped him right in the shit.
John Bailey was famous for his misguided loyalty and he was told by numerous people that Mo was a police informer. My dad and him went way back and he was having none of it.
He fell out with a lot of people and even ended up in some vicious fistfights over his so-called friend.
Mo was never a fighter and let John do all the fighting and assured him it was all lies. As a result of this so many people would not work with John Bailey anymore because he was associated with Mo.
You add that to his scrambled brains from constant drug-taking that’s why he ended up doing such low-level crime.
There was always a big job around the corner and things would always be better like with the Torquay paradox he had created in his own mind.
If I remember rightly John found out the truth about Mo just before he was due to go to court as he managed to get a look at some classified documents.
As you can imagine his world fell apart from being betrayed by his close mate like that.
I’m pretty sure Mo was just interested in covering his own back and he had a lot of fingers in a lot of pies so in his mind he could keep earning with impunity as long as he kept supplying the intelligence to the police.
The last time I saw Mo was at my Dad’s funeral which was roughly ten years ago and he looked really well.
He must have been about 70 but he was impeccably dressed and you can tell he had money. I haven’t heard or seen anything from him since that day. I will be very surprised if he’s still around now as he must be 80.
So John Bailey got six months and the day he left we started to pack up what we needed so we could leave.Carol made it into a game and I honestly didn’t suspect a thing as I was used to John being away all the time.
The house and shop which was now empty were owned by John Bailey from when he was making nice money so it was a case of just leaving.
John Coombes a friend of my mums came with a van and we left in the middle of the night so none of the neighbors would see and let John know in a letter.
I remember the last day in school before I left it was Carl Johnson’s birthday who was my best friend. I had no idea I would never see him again.
This was before the days of the internet so tracing him would be nearly impossible.
It would have been a lot easier if his name was not so common. I often wonder what happened to him as we were the best of friends.
Its probably for the best that I didn’t suspect anything and if I thought things were just temporary then it would be easier to process.
I also have to think of my mum she really didn’t have a lot of options and I can’t think of a way she could have done it any differently.
So in the middle of the night, we went and stayed in John Coomes House and made a fort out of cushions in his living room and slept on the couch.
The next day we pulled up to our new flat Number 2 Parkfield Road in Aigburth. This was going to be a fresh start or so we thought.