Both Roads Lead to Home
By David Conlin  

Kingsize TaylorBill Harry asked me to give a sort of potted history or diary of a 60s road manager in about 2,500 words. I’ve given it a lot of thought – and a lot of maths, and have decided there is no way I could put six or so years into a story that short. I’ll do what I can, and if this is well received, I’ll go for broke – in stages. If it isn’t – well, that’s show biz. 

Lots of years ago, a couple of American lads called Simon and Garfunkel wrote a very short, very simple, very beautiful, telling song, the words of which I will never, ever forget, and which rather eloquently describes the way we were – and saw – the Sixties. If memory serves, it went like this:

‘Time it was and what a time it was, it was, a time of innocence, a time of confidences,

Long ago it must be, I have a photograph, preserved your memory, that’s all that’s left me.’

It was a couple of months before my seventeenth birthday. Born in Ormskirk just before the war ended and brought up in Bootle, I’d worked from when I was eleven years old, helping my father in his painting and decorating business, pushing his hand-cart to and from wherever he was working. Always fully loaded, I pushed that cart from Clifford Street, off Marsh Lane in Bootle, a street that doesn’t even exist anymore, to Crosby, Blundellsands, and other places too far for an eleven year old to walk, let alone push a hand-cart loaded with paint, ladders, planks, buckets and the myriad accoutrements of the busy painter and decorator. When the jobs were finished and I was pushing the cart home again, sometimes late in the evening after school, sometimes at weekends, the load was lighter, but only by the weight of the paint and wallpaper that had been used. I was permanently tired, and hated my life. Father had talked of buying a van for a long time, but up until then, for me, it was a pie in the sky dream.

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