Retro: ‘I will never forget my pal Joe’

Joe Grayson at Blackpool in the summer of 1965

Submitted by Joe Grayson
Joe Grayson at Blackpool in the summer of 1965 Submitted by Joe Grayson
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Regular contributor Vin Malone here shares more of his memories of his upbringing on the Manor after his childhood next-door neighbour Joe Grayson shared his in Retro on Christmas Eve.

I’ve often wondered what became of Joe Grayson.

The last I knew he was living on Stonecliffe Road before the heart was ripped out of the Manor Estate by planners and all the old houses were demolished.

I’m afraid Joe may have been slightly wrong about the first to have a TV on Harborough Avenue as my mother hired ours out on June 1, 1953 for the Coronation and he came in with his mum to look at it.

I got up on Coronation day, June 2, 1953, to find a few neighbours sitting watching the unfolding spectacle, including Mrs Eileen Furness and Mrs Phoenix.

I’m afraid I had no time for the royals and that still holds true today.

I cannot remember ever going to to Paluzzi’s on Manor Lane for fireworks as they only sold the same bangers as Shelton’s just opposite the Steel Inn.

It was there I joined their firework club, a penny here, a penny there.

I also joined a firework club at the old Post Office that is now called the lower Manor.

Fireworks were governed by strict rules, thus making no banger louder or more dangerous than another unless you paid a shilling for one that was maybe slightly louder.

I remember Joe’s dad one Bonfire Night buying him a massive rocket for around £1 or so.

It was the kind us poorer kids dreamed about.

His dad waited until all the other kids had gone in, then he nailed two steel staples to his mum’s wooden clothes pole.

He carefully placed the rockets stick through the staples, ensuring it moved freely, lit the blue touch paper and retired to their porch.

Whoooosh it was off, it went about eight foot in the air turned left and flew down the side of the Phoenix house three doors away and exploding without anybody seeing it.

All that money and nobody saw it,priceless!

I do remember going to Bradwell with Joe one weekend, glorious weather and we stayed in his grandmother’s converted bus – it was fantastic.

It was that weekend I found an American silver dollar at the back of the bus.

I treasured that for around a month when my brother stole it and denied that he had.

He also nicked my air pistol, which he also denied. I never forgave him.

Making dens on our back garden was a big part of the growing-up process.

We played on the field just across the avenue where an open water tank left over from the war still remained, empty of water and full of rubbish. It was eventually filled in sometime the very early Fifties.

When the Manor Park got its first bus, the 92, it terminated at Manor Park centre and Joe and I would ride it to town and back at least three or four times on the trot at a cost of one penny per trip.

When I started work our childhood friendship waned and as the years passed it was just a case of “ Eyup Joe” and his reply to me when meeting each other.

Invariably, he was either going or returning from the betting shop.

I did know that it was his Auntie that he classed as his mum and I think he came from Worksop, but can’t be sure on that.

The Graysons were well off to the rest of us and it did show, especially when his dad bought a brand new Ford Popular but I was happy with my lot, what you don’t have you don’t miss.

I wouldn’t have changed my childhood at all, it was great and I will never forget it, as I will never forget Joe.