Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Francis Kennedy were assassinated.
During the early hours, two thirds through November, I entered the world. That day would have been the Senator’s 43rd Birthday. Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip awoke celebrating twenty one years of marriage. ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles was number one in the US singles chart. Seventy eight men lost their lives in West Virginia, USA, in what became known as the Farmington Mine Disaster, an unexplained explosion that could be felt from twelve miles away. The unconnected event was to set off a pattern of disasters throughout my life. And one day I would find myself during a moment of peace a short distance away from where the explosion took place
My parents had married a couple of years earlier. Mum was just twenty, and dad was a year older. They had been courting since she was twelve, and he a teenager. What should have been a perfect little family unit was marred by the fact that my mum had just found out that dad was having an affair with a prostitute. And my grandmother had given the lady a hideaway at her flat! Needless to say Mum was distraught.
My mother had given up her career as a window dresser to have me. My dad had passed ‘The Knowledge’ a year or so beforehand, and was going out to work each night from our little flat in London N16, heading for the West End, in his Hackney Carriage, otherwise known as a Black Cab. My father didn’t work much. Instead, he’d be gambling what he did earn, playing Kalooki (also known as Jamaican Rummy) in smoke holes across London and frequenting the Gaiety Club, a regular haunt for taxi drivers who liked to gamble and the working girl.
When he did work, he made a lot of money by carting punters to Soho hot spots and to the ‘Ladies of the night’ – He’d earn a bonus from the clubs and Working Girls, at £5 a time – nowadays a value of around £75. My folks were a good looking couple; dad was not only handsome, but quick witted He would not only collect his money from these ladies. Sometimes he would give them a lift home and instead of payment, he would have sex with many of them.
I have no idea how they worked through their marriage problem, but they did… hat’s off to my mother, as it baffles me how you would recover from a situation like that. Then again, as life continued, some would question the standard of morals that I set for myself.