I was sitting, sleepy-eyed, halfway down the stairs, looking at the cuckoo clock and listening to the tiny bleat on the air. All the lights were on and hushed voices murmured – not wanting to wake us children up. Dad came into the hall, caught sight of me and beckoned me. I moved down the stairs, looked at him and asked, “Have we got a goat?” He smiled and shook his head as I followed him into the living-room.
Sitting by the fire, with a bundle on her knee, was Dr Fitzmaurice. “Look at him” she said, “your little brother.” I sat down cross-legged in front of her on the rag rug and she placed the tiny bundle on my knee.
It was love at first sight – not because he meant I could sit and wonder at him into the early hours, but because he was so tiny, so neat, so peaceful and because he held my finger as he slept. That’s how Les and I met in May 1954. I was eleven years and eleven days old.
I can remember how happy my parents were at that time – my Dad leaning over the bump in my Mum’s brown woollen skirt to kiss her and their arms holding each other and their babe. This joy grew when Les came and added to it. The house became a busy place, full of love – a place to grow. No one was more happy than my Dad and the bairn was the apple of his eye.
The next day, at dinner-time, I ran all the way home from school to make sure he was still there. He was, to my relief. I have so much to thank him for and my love for him has grown to this day.