In the last blog, I spoke of the children of Winwood and my relationships with them.
Out of them all, I was closest to a pair of brothers called Ezra and Teddy.
Their mum and dad were called Trish and Clem.
I don’t know exactly the history here but if I remember rightly mum knew Tricia from years ago.
She didn’t know Tricia was living in Winwood so it was a nice surprise reunion.
It also made mums life a lot easier as moving to a new area with a child is challenging at the best of times especially when doing it by yourself.
The more places there were for us to go and the more people to see meant more stability and also meant other kids for me to play with.
So many nights after school I would be in Ezra and Teddy’s flat or they would be at my house.
We always had a great laugh and we had different toys so when going to their house it was a completely different experience.
On the surface, especially to me, everything looks normal but then as a kid, you believe everything is good until you see first hand that many people wear a mask.
The Japanese have a brilliant saying that everybody has three faces.
The first face you show to the world, the second face you show to your close friends and family and the third you never show anyone.
It’s the truest reflection of who you are.
This could not have been more true with Clem as to me and Carol he was always really nice and to be fair so was Tricia.
It would become apparent that Clem was a heavy drinker and when he drank he at times got twisted and angry.
He could sometimes lose control and Tricia would end up getting a slap or a punch or something equally lovely such as being dragged around by her hair.
Like typical bullies the next day he was always really sorry and he would make a big effort for a while until it was forgotten about again.
He was always really nice to the boys which made it a lot harder for Tricia to leave him.
So life went on and to us kids, everything seemed normal enough but then parents are good at hiding that kind of stuff to an extent.
Unfortunately, when kids get older they see everything and realise it’s not normal but due to not knowing any difference many go on to repeat the same patterns as they do not know any different.
Below is the link is an interesting site made by the Royal College of Psychiatrists about the effects this can have on children as they grow up.
Then one evening the game completely changed and the stakes were raised considerably.
I was in bed fast asleep as it was around 1 am and Carol heard knocking on the front door.
In the modern-day, this would create a little panic but you have to remember this was before the days of mobile phones.
So even though it wasn’t normal to have a visitor at this time it happened more frequently than it does today.
Carol goes to the door nervously and opens it with the chain on very wary because of the late hour.
She sees that it’s Tricia and initially thinks she’s drunk as she’s swaying. When she opened the door she could see it was much worse.
It was clear that she had had the beating of her life. Her face was all swollen and her nose was bleeding and the swaying with likely the cause of a concussion.
Trisha had waited for Clem to go asleep and on autopilot put some clothes in a bag.
She did the same for the kids woke them up, and made her way round to our house under the cover of darkness.
Carol was in an impossible position so she let her in. Even if they were not friends of such long-standing I don’t know how she could live with herself if she had turned her back on her friend in this hour of need.
I woke up in the morning oblivious to all this but was happy as Ezra and Teddy were in the house.
I asked mum why she hadn’t woke me up when they came round last night and she lied and said I tried to but you were dead to the world.
Then the next couple of days was a big game of let’s pretend everything’s ok and Trish is just staying here for a couple of days.
Clem knew he had fucked up big time and knew if this was reported he could be looking at some heavy jail.
So he had to fix this and quickly.
It took him a day of ringing around to figure out that Trish was in ours and he tried everything to make her go back.
He turned on the tears the lot but unfortunately, nothing was working. He had crossed the line this time and he knew it.
When you cross that line, for the most part, there is no going back and as a result of his drinking, he was about to lose everything including his family.
Like most alcoholics and addicts nothing was ever his fault so instead of getting the help he needed became more and more twisted as time went on.
He started ringing and being nasty and downplaying it all and trying to get into her mind which he had done many times before.
She wasn’t budging and one night things got very bad very quickly and it’s a night I will never forget.
There is a joke which I will put below which is very appropriate to what was about to happen.
How come when the Hulk gets angry and smashes everything up in a vicious rage he’s incredible?
When I do this I’m an alcoholic.
I don’t know for sure if Clem was drinking this night but with the rage, he was in I would be more surprised if he wasn’t drinking.
Me, mum, Trish, Ezra, and Teddy were all sat watching TV in the living room, and someone was banging really hard on the window.
Mum looked outside to see Clem out there screaming and shouting in the middle of the street.
Clem Calm down the kids are here
Get Tricia out here now
Clem, you’re scaring the kids please she will come to see you tomorrow
Get her out here now fucking now
Clem didn’t wait for an answer he goes towards the front door and starts booting it.
Now the door was shut but the bottom lock was on so with a couple of heavy kicks Clem burst through the door and then everything went into slow motion.
He starts running towards the living room armed with a hammer screaming for blood.
Carol jumps back into the Living room instinctively pulling the door shut from inside the living room.
Open the fucking door open the fucking door.
All of the women were screaming as were the kids I can’t explain what was going on with me it was like I was frozen in time.
I knew it was nothing good and I knew I needed to be away from the door but I was fully focused on it as well.
The best way to describe it would be like in the movie It when the kids look into his deadlights and they can’t turn away even though they know it’s really bad.
Clem was ragging the door with all his strength for less than a minute all while screaming for blood.
For all of us in that living room, it felt like a lot longer and it was pure survival and we knew it.
Then Clem picked up the hammer as if he couldn’t open the door he was going through it. The whole time his rage just intensified and soon there was a big hole in the top of the door.
Carol stepped back the hammer narrowly missing her and Clem still screaming like a banshee entered the room like Jack Nicholson in the shining.
Here are some stills from the movie and I’ve enclosed a YouTube clip of the scene if anyone wants to watch it below.
If you swap the axe with a hammer and a studio with my living room you have an idea of how fucked up this night had become.
Clem was losing all control and Trish naturally went to her children to protect them. He threw her across the room like a rag doll and picked Ezra up and ran for the door.
Trisha was screaming and crying and I could her saying give me him back. He was screaming at her and telling Teddy to come with him and as you can imagine Teddy wanted no part in this.
The angrier he got the more scared Ezra was getting and suddenly he came to his senses.
He put Ezra down and scanned the room like a wolf assessing the damage that he had done.
He was looking for any more potential threats and in his mind, as the adrenaline left his body it’s like he had had a moment of clarity.
For a split second, there was regret in his eyes followed quickly by fear he bolted for the door and ran up the road like the T1000 from Terminator.
Carol somehow got all of the kids to calm down very quickly and assess the damage and to see if anyone was hurt.
She told Tricia she had to go home and she would call the police so they would be there when she got back.
It wasn’t that she didn’t want to help her friend but it was the danger that had come to her door.
She helped to pack Tricias things in silence and in all honesty nobody had a lot to say that night.
There isn’t much that can top that especially when you’re a kid.
Now I don’t know the exact details of what happened next but unfortunately, Trisha went back to Clem.
I’m not sure if she went to a refuge or what the deal was but I know the law was different back then in regards to domestic violence.
Back in the 80s, all that had to happen was the woman would drop the charges and the police were powerless to do anything.
I’m friends with several long-standing police and they told me they had seen cases like this and it was heartbreaking to see as the police were powerless to stop it.
Now the law has changed and the police themselves can press charges if they feel it appropriate. This has helped many women but it’s not a perfect fix.
In 2020 the law was changed which I’ve enclosed in a link below and as shocking as it is that it’s taken this long to implement I’m a firm believer in better late than never.
Another good implementation of the law concerning domestic violence is Claire’s law which was brought into action in 2014.
Claire Wood was murdered by a partner who was known to be dangerous.
Clare’s Law has two main elements: a ‘right to ask’, which allows members of the public, including a domestic partner, to request information from the police about a potential abuser; and a ‘right to know’, which, in certain circumstances, permits police to disclose such information to the public on their own initiative.
Claire’s law has been very successful since its launch in 2014 with more information listed in the link below about when it has potentially saved lives
Now if only time travel had been invented then it would have been a lot easier to make Clem face what he had done but fate had other ideas.
He never saw any charges for what he had done and within a couple of weeks, he was back in the big bed with his feet under the table like nothing had happened.
Now what was the most tragic from all of this is Carol had tried to help her friend in her darkest hour and now she had become the villain.
She didn’t shout it from the rooftops but when people come to the house and see a huge hole in the door at the head height it proves to be a talking point.
Tricia would claim it didn’t happen and Carol just denied all knowledge even at one point saying she wasn’t even there.
She was being coached by Clem as well as trying to make her marriage work for the sake of her kids.
As shitty as she was to mum she was in a horrible position and I would not wish that on my worst enemy.
Trisha finally left Clem a few years later but it was too late between her and Carol. Trish had committed so much with the lies in a bid to discredit Carol for many years.
Not only that she had become very nasty as well telling anyone who would listen how much of a liar and a cunt Carol was.
There is no going back from something like that and Tricia knew it.
Carol said to me a few times that it would never be the same between them but she never once apologised for all the shit she said about me which wasn’t true so how can I build anything with her.
Trisha for years worked in Asda close to our home and I used to see her from time to time she always said hello and spoke to me.
I was as polite as I could be but after that night there wasn’t a lot to talk about.
She took Ezra and Teddy and they moved to Warrington and like many people before the age of mobile phones fell off the radar completely.
Carol ran into the three of them at a funeral a few years ago. Trisha recognised her and tried to smile at Carol.
Carol nodded and smiled back and they didn’t speak a word to each other.
I know Teddy was in university in Warrington and he dropped out in his third year due to his drinking and partying and now works as a decorator.
Ezra, I can’t remember what he does and I believe Trisha is now retired but I haven’t seen or spoken to them in years. I wish them well whatever they are up to and there is no bad blood from me.
Now what happened to Clem is a fine example of you reap what you sow and alcoholic or not that man had a lot of bad karma. I would never wish him harm but he hurt a lot of people over the years and it came back to haunt him.
He came back to our house a week later at midnight when I was in bed and banged on the window. As you can imagine Carol was terrified.
Fuck off Clem I’ve phoned the police
No Carol I’m not here for that
I’m not interested to go away
I thought you would have a house full of people that’s why I came
What do you want?
I just want to tell you no more mind games
Then he disappeared into the night. He never knocked again but I would see him regularly in the village pissed as fuck.
Each time he looked a little worse for wear.
Nobody was looking after him or cooking him good meals and not seeing his kids was taking its toll.
He tried to be pals with me a few times in the village when I bumped into him and I was polite as I knew he could change but like with Trish I didn’t have a lot to talk about.
He followed me into the off-license one day
He picks up a can of larger
Do you want a drink
It’s ok I’ve got one I say holding up a bottle of coke
I meant a proper drink
Because I’m ten mate
it’s ok I won’t tell
no thanks mate
With that, I left the shop and went home quickly. The stuff he was drinking was only drank by teenagers in the park or homeless people.
Not long after he ended up in an argument with a friend of my mums called Martin.
Now Martin isn’t a hard guy but he knows a lot of bad people and to top that he’s no idiot.
Martin ended up beating the fuck out of Clem in the middle of Lark lane and nobody broke it up.
Clem got booted up and down the road as he kept spoiling for a fight with Martin.
Now Martin was trying to avoid this and knew what had happened and just unloaded on him.
It should be noted that Martin tried to walk away at first but Clem saw this as a weakness which was a huge mistake on his part.
Martin jumped in a taxi and left Clem in a pool of his blood missing a few teeth.
There was a couple of threatening phone calls and talk of repercussion but Martin wasn’t worried and said if you want to do it again just tell me when and where and ill give you a shot at the title.
Unsurprisingly Clem didn’t want to know he was only tough when he was bullying people.
He didn’t exclusively hit women but with men, he picked his mark and had been locked up a couple of times over the years.
A couple of years later Clem drank himself to death I’m not sure the cause of death but it was to do with his liver.
I’m sorry he never sorted himself out and he died in such a bad place but he wasn’t willing to take the first step.
It should also be noted nobody gets like that overnight there is a series of wrong turns and trauma that get someone to that state of mind.
I know nothing about his background but ill bet my last pound there alcohol and violence played a huge part in his upbringing.
The dusk had finally started to settle and the door in the living room had been replaced.
Next thing a postcard came through the door. My mum collected the postcard handed it to me as said Arlo this is for you.