EARLY LIFE of William James Hunt #8
After about three months our friend came to ask us to come to see the lady of that house she told us about, she was now ready to sell. We went to see her and she would keep it until we sold the one we lived in and within three month we had sold our home by the Clock tower and our church. We made 10,000 pounds on that home, and bought the "Semi" (Duplex) over by the General Hospital, the place was Skircoat Green. This was a very nice place, away from the built-up area, we had a very big back garden and that is what Edith and I loved, it was the first house on the right so that gave us a very big area. It was a corner lot. We remained there all the years Keith was growing up, and until he decided to immigrate at seventeen and a half years old to Canada. (Actually 18 years as I went to the immigration at 16 to equine and they told me because I had no relations in Canada i would have to wait until I was 18 - Keith Hunt). I loved living there and I had lots of garden area, and big privet hedges which gave me plenty of work which I loved doing and at the same time it was a very good exercise which I used to do in those days.
(I also helped Dad cut those hedges and what a huge job it was being a corner lot. now and again he would hire someone to do it, but 95 percent of the time it was Dad and I. My parents grew wonderful flowers in part of the garden we had, just some of the largest and best flowers I've ever seen. We would give them away to people we knew. those were the years be had a "budgie" bird, and did Dad and I teach it to talk….wow it could say all kinds of things, ever seen anyone with a budgie since that could talk like ours. My parents still had it when I left for Canada. It was a male and would fly around the whole house. It was always out of its cage when we were home at evenings and on week-ends - KEITH HUNT)
I have told you how both Edith and I were fast runners as youngsters. That was passed on to Keith I guess, as he throughout his school life only lost one race; That was a relay race, he was the last one and though the others had a few yards start on Keith he got within a foot of the winner. He never got beaten in the one 100 yard race in heats and finals, in all the inter-school sports competitions. I was watching him win a race one time, It was a 100 yard race, when a school teachers nearby (who did not know I was his Father) exclaimed, "Wow, look at that boy go, his feet hardly touch the ground." He enjoyed all the sport in the school and I watched him playing soccer with the school only just across the moor park, just across the road by our Church and Clock tower.
(KEITH HUNT….concerning my running. I was 6 years old and in the Holy Trinity church of England infant school [ages 5 and 6]. One day the teacher said, "Put on your running shoes, we're going to have a race, both boys and girls." I remember like it was yesterday, I was the last to leave the class room, with one girl, and said to her, "Now you'll see how it should be done." I really have no idea how I knew I could run fast, never raced before this day, but something told me I was fast. We lined up, both boys and girls together. The word "go" was given, and I flew off like a bullet. We were to run to the wall in the play-ground and turn around and run back. I was already on my way back and all the others were still running to the wall. I won by many yards. The teacher was so amazed, before I knew it I was asked to run against the boy in the next school up that I would go to [ages 7 to 11] next year. Not sure exactly if this boy was 2 or 3 years older than me, but he was the fastest runner in that school. He was way way taller than me, looked to me like a giant. The race was on the moor part Dad has told you about. We were off…..I tied with him. So the school knew what to expect when I moved up there the following year at age 7. From 7 to 11 I only ran in the 100 yards dash. As Dad said never lost. When I moved up to the next and last Holy Trinity Church of England school, at age 11, where I would complete my education, the teacher I had did something I thought was crazy at the time. He entered me in a cross country race. I remember saying to myself and to him, "Why on earth have you done this; I am a sprinter not a long distance runner!" I can remember this also like it was yesterday. It was ages 11 to 15. There was about 50 or 60 runners from various schools. I thought as we got ready to start, that this was just crazy for me to be in such a race. When the word "go" was given everyone was off like a shot, I was near the end, still thinking this was crazy for me to be in such a race. It was about a 3 or 4 mile cross country race. I remember about half way along I began to pass kids. Then near the end there was this extremely steep hill [knew about it from playing after school in that area] of about 100 yards. I began to pass many kids as I went up this hill. And I continued to pass more kids as we came on the flat to enter a school I had never been in before, for the finish. As I turned into the entrance of this school, there was this man who was telling the kids what position they were finishing in…..to my shock, he shouted out, "Your number 6." I was amazed….I finished in 6th place out of those 50 or 60 kids, many older than me, as I was only 11 years old. I could not believe it! Within a month or so my teacher entered me in a cross country race for ages 11 and 12. I won that race as easy as pie. Not sure if cross-country racing was that popular because my teacher never entered me in a cross-country race ever again. That was the only two cross-country races I ever did. I did do a few 1/2 mile races in our local school summer competitions, which I won.
Then this same teacher when I was 12 put me in not only the 100 yard dash inter-school competitions but the 220 yard race. Again I was dumfounded and expressed it to him, that I'd only ever done 100 yard races. Nevertheless I was entered. I was amazed…..I broke the record for my age group like smashing it to a 100 pieces. I was from then on out that I was only entered in the 220 yard races, never again in the 100 yard races. The only other races I did was the "relay races." For the rest of my school years I never lost a 220 yard race. Came very close to it in my last year of High School. Just before the race I overheard this lad saying, "I'm after beating Hunt." Maybe he really had done much practice, setting a goal to beat me in the 220 yard inter-school competition. I kinda figured I was in for the race of my life. And it indeed it was to so be. Coming down the straight to the finishing line, we were neck to neck so to speak. I just broke the tape maybe an inch or two before him. I thought, well lad, whoever you are, you indeed just about beat me, you have been the closest to ever come that close to me in my 220 yard racing since I was 12 years old.
Yes during High School I took up Football or Soccer. Practiced and practiced, often just by myself up against a wall, for learning ball control. I did become captain of our school team. I played in "half-back" position seeing as I was a good defender. But in our playful school soccer games I was often also a forward, had a good striking power and scored many a goal. My ball control was extremely good and if I had a shot on goal I never missed being on the net. I often used to wonder about the pro players I saw on TV, who often missed the goal net when they had a good opportunity to shoot.
I also enjoyed playing "Cricket" [look it up on the Internet if you do not know what Cricket is]. I was an "all-rounder" - good batsman and good bowler, as well as doing some pretty acrobatic catching of the Cricket ball at times. During the last year of High School I was captain of our school Cricket team.
I was indeed a fine athlete all of my school years. Took up riding horses at age 16 to prepare myself for my life goal that I had set for myself, out West. Never rode a horse until I was 16, but never thought for a second I would not be good at it. And indeed in the first two years in Western Canada I became a "trick-rider" which was great fun, and something I had dreamed about doing from age 7, watching Roy Rogers movies).
The first musical instrument Keith had was a "Ukulele-Banjo" - like a Banjo but a shorter neck and 4 strings. Keith had been going to the Saturday morning "movies" and had seen George Formby singing and playing his banjo in his movies. Keith was eight in September of 1950 and wanted a Ukulele-banjo for Christmas that year. He received it and it was his delight for about three years. He learned some cords and strumming from the George Formby book that came with it. Keith was about 11 years old when he bought his first guitar out of the pocket money we gave him. He had seen Bert Weedon on TV playing his electric guitar and from that moment he wanted to play like him one day. All through his teens he studied music and learned to play both the regular guitar and the Steel guitar that is used in Hawaii and Western music.
Keith was now in a "mixed" class at School. As a result, he tried very hard to stay ahead of two girls who were top-notch students. These girls became friends with him, as he was "top of the boys" in his class. The girls used to come over and do their homework together with Keith. Then they would go out and play together. Keith seemed kind of "fond" of one of the girls. Her name was Pauline. When we went on Holidays, the two girls seemed to be at the same place we had decided on. So we, of course, went over to their "Trailer Park" to see them. We had lots of time together with them, swimming, playing in the field around us, and just enjoying their company. This happened on a few holidays, during those years. I do believe Keith had a hand in that.
Before Pauline and her girl friend came into Keith's life, we would let him take his friend David with us on Holiday. David lived a little way below where we lived by the Clock tower, they always attended at the Church. Keith and David were having Elocution lessons from Mrs. Story, and also were her best two boys in the concert she produced each year at the Church Hall, their performance on the stage was really very good. Edith and I never missed one all the time he was with us. Mrs. Story was very upset when Keith told her he was leaving to go to Canada. He broke his mother's heart, she was never the same after he eventually left home. We were hoping he would grow out of his wanting to be a cowboy as he had this lovely girl in his class Pauline.
Pauline and Keith seemed to remind Edith and I of us at their age. One time on holiday when we had taken the girls with us for a day out, on our way home, we saw them "kissing" in the back seat of our car, through the rear-view mirror. We truly expected Keith and Pauline to stay together. However, they "lost touch" when Pauline passed to go to the high school but her friend Maggie and Keith went to the technical school. He didn't seem to know how much Pauline liked him, as much as he liked her. He didn't know, that "A man chases a girl, until showing her love for him." Later, after Keith had been in Canada many years we went to the "Marks & Spencer" store in Halifax. While there, a girl approached me and asked me if I was Keith's Dad. "Yes" I said. "Don't you remember me?" she asked. "No" I said. "Well," she replied, "I am Pauline." I called Edith over to where I was, and told her, "This is Pauline!" We all talked for a while, and then Pauline admitted, "I did love your Keith, you know. When I found out that he had left for Canada, it really grieved me, for I loved him so." Then I said to her, "We were hoping that he would have stayed and kept with you just as Edith and I had met up in school and stayed together." "Yes, I know," she said, "Keith told me, and you're still together, aren't you?"
I went on to say, "You know, Pauline, we really liked you." I then asked her if she was married, she told us, she had an 18-month old child, and she was expecting her second child soon. We left after Edith had picked what she had wanted. We never thought to ask her where she lived. We did try to get in touch with her the next time we called in at "Marks and Spencer." We did try to see her before we retired to live in Canada. We would have enjoyed seeing her again. We went into Marks shopping, we always looked to see if she had returned back to work, she never did while we lived there.
A few years later when I retired we decided to go to Canada for twelve months to see if we would like to retire in Canada. We called again to see if Pauline had returned to work there. When we returned after our holiday in Canada we called in "Marks & Spencer" to shop; we hoped to see Pauline back there again. However, the Manageress told us that Pauline had not returned to work after she had her second child. Once again we never thought of asking her where she lived, we would have loved to see her and her family again. We did ask the Manageress if she still had her address but she inform us that she was not allowed to give anyone her address or phone number. So unfortunately we have lost touch with her.
After Keith finished his schooling at nearly 17 years of age, He went up to the Technical College, for a year at night. While there, he learned Carpentry. I still have the little Stool that Keith made, with the wicker braiding on it. I use it all the time when I do my musical tapes. He was looking for work, and then he had a few choices. He could go into the "Weights and Measures" Company because of his higher education, or he could learn the trade of a "Shoemaker." Keith decided to learn the Trade of a "Shoemaker." So he apprenticed at "Braely's." It was very close to where I worked in Halifax, just across the Canal. I was hoping he would have chosen to go to train with the, "Weights and Measures" Company as it would have been a very good job. That would have been a good paid job as well if he had stayed in Halifax. I must say that the shoe training did come into his life in Canada.
Keith was now working and saving to immigrate to Canada. This had been his goal, as he loved the work of Cowboys. We thought he would soon forget it, as he got older. But we found to our dismay, that it was still "his dream." that broke his Mother's heart. Her only son, going so far away! He did have his wish and he went out to Canada. This is how he got to Canada, when I came home from work one night his mother give me the news that without saying a word to either of us he had been to Canadian immigration office in Leeds, and as he was under 21 he had to bring the papers home for us to sign. His mother said to me, "Don't sign Dad then he will not be able to go." I replied, "When I was taking papers on my round at twelve years old in Crynant, I never forgot what happen to three older boys, there was an accident at the top end of our village, they had been drinking at the last pub and when walking home on the road (as there were no side walks and no lights on the road) when a car travelling into Crynant hit the three boys down, one was killed and the other two injured, the parents told this story in our evening paper, their Son wanted to go into the R.A.F. when he was seventeen, but they refused to sign for him to go, now they were so sorry they stopped him until he was old enough and/ were now blaming themselves.
I told his mother that I don't think we should stop him going, if anything happened to him in Canada then we could not blame our-selves he would be doing what he wanted. After we had that talk his mother decided to let me sign the papers. I know she did not want him to leave home. I was so glad that she did decide to let him go after I had that talk with her.
Although Keith was then sixteen years old, when we decided one more time to sell our home, and buy a new bungalow, we ended up staying where we were living until after Keith left for Canada. It was about two years later before we actually found a lovely Bungalow (out in Canada it is called a Rancher) in the suburb of "Elland," it was about three and half miles from the town of Halifax. I was doing well at work, and had been a "charge hand" for nine years. Edith was still working on days, then one Saturday morning when she came home from work she said the manager Mr Bill Eglinton who was my boss, told her to tell me that he wanted me on days the next week. When I went in that morning he called me into his office and said that he wanted me to take over as "Departmental Manger," on days. Our lives now, just got better and better. Before I go any farther I would like to say that I had worked hard to get to that position.
When I started on the wrapping machine on nights, I was only there six weeks when my manger called me into his office. I thought I was in trouble but he wanted to know how I had turned out 550 boxes of gum in one shift! It was an "all-time record." The most that had been done was 360 boxes, from any day or night shift. I told him that I did not go for a smoke break, as the "closet" we had as a "break room" was full of smoke. I not only learned to run the machine, I also learned to pack the packets into the box. Then, while my packer was on a break, I did his job as well. I said, "I hope I haven't done wrong." "No way," he replied, "If that's what you want to do, you carry on doing it."
I always give my best to the job whether it's for my employee or myself. God knew how I give my best, and he guided me for better things throughout my life. I know that it takes a lot of people to believe until they read the whole story then they will see Gods guidance throughout my life, and from that day on my Boss knew he had a good man to put in control, it was not long after that he found a job for the person he had in charge on nights, and made me go up to a "charge hand." I did that job for nine years on nights.
IF IT'S GOING TO BE, THEN IT'S UP TO ME TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT.
That's the strength of me all my life, God will guide you, it's up to you to carry it through, that's God's help to believe in your own life. If it's to be then it's up to me. I give my best always, and received God's guiding hand, all through my life, and giving my best I always ended up as a leader. I still thank the Lord every day for all the help I have received.
TO BE CONTINUED