We were living in this council house and there was a bathroom that actually
had a bath in it, but we didn't have hot water like, so there was the copper
in the corner. You put the water in this copper and lit a fire under it,
coal fire, and you boiled it up and dipped in your bucket or whatever and
poured it into the bath. But that was expensive so we didn't do that often.
At that time there would be my father, my elder brother and myself.
I think I've got to tell you this. My mother, in those days she, what you would call - run away, because you didn't split up or have divorces. If you wanted to get out you got out. You waited until the dead of night or the middle of the day when everyone was at work and you ran off. My mother ran away to London from Lincolnshire. Why did I tell you that? Dunno - oh it was 'cos of Phil. So my father, my brother and me moved out from where we were living in this hell-hole which was next door to the steel works.
We moved into this luxurious council house with a bath and a lavatory, you know you pulled a chain and water came down, down a pipe? It was still outside in the yard you know but it flushed and we had running water in the house, taps you just turned on and water came out whenever you wanted. My brother and I, the first time we saw this house, it had doors that shut and proper windows that opened, and it had stairs; blimey, we'd never seen stairs before. I can remember us running up and down these stairs and running into the bathroom and getting tiny drinks of water in the bath-plug. Well, it was another world to us, all these luxuries.
When my Mam ran away my Dad used to have housekeepers to come and look after us children, well at that stage, when we first moved into that council house, there was only my brother and myself, my two elder sisters had left home, my elder brother, the other elder brother, much older, seemed like old people then, they had gone, but my brother and myself were there,.. and there was just Dad, me and Phil that I just mentioned.
It came to the stage where Dad needed someone to help look after us because he was working on the steel works. So he was going out at half past seven in the morning and not coming back until half past five at night. We had to go to school. We had to be ready to go to school, we had to be fed. So I don't know how Dad did it, but he used to advertise for a housekeeper and we had a little string of housekeepers. Some of them funny, some of them pathetic and until we struck upon this one Phil, who was deaf.
Dot has written other stories about her childhood :