EARLY LIFE of William James Hunt #9
When I got to work on days we had moved into our New Bungalow. We had a lot of work to do in our new home, this was the time I could have done with Keith helping me, instead his Mother had to do it. Still we now had to manage on our own. It took us eight years again, to get it into a very nice place like the place we were living in before, it was very hard for both of us, we had to mix our own cement by hand and could not hire machines to do the rock in those early days, but we enjoyed doing the work when the weather allowed us to work outside. We could have done with "our Keith's" help. We sure missed him around our home. We had to spend the first week, of our two weeks holiday in the summer, to catch up with our garden. We always went down to Wales the second week to visit our families. In those days we never went abroad for holidays.
(KEITH comment: DAD and Mom did a great deal to make this house very attractive. Dad build a cement fish pond that looked like a swimming pool it was so large, and about four feet deep - Keith)
One of the things I do regret through the war years was that I missed out on a lot of "our Keith's" growing up years. I guess that was the unfortunate part of being in the War and away from home. It was very disappointing to miss a baby's life, especially the firstborn one, I must be thankful I came out of the war years in very good health and able to enjoy having him around me through all his life from his young days to the time he left for Canada.
(KEITH comment: BUT with my Dad working on a night shift from 6 p.m to 6 a.m. and often 7 days a week for 9 or 10 months straight, I did not really know my Father very well up to my age of 11. Then he went on days, and I got to know him better until I left for Canada - Keith)
Going back in time: We had been living in Halifax for almost eight years, we went down to Wales every holiday. We couldn't really afford to go anywhere else at that time, as the money was a bit scarce. I sent a letter to my Mam every two weeks. My Mam wrote us and told us that my Dad had Cancer of the Stomach. He was at home but he had to go into the hospital for an operation. Edith and I were able to have time off when my Dad was very ill, I went to visit my Dad in hospital a few times. I had to get in touch with my boss in Halifax to see if I could stay another week, as usual it was no problem.
Before my Dad was released from hospital, our doctor came to see my Mam. He told her that the operation was successful. However, he made out he wanted to see my car, which was parked outside. So my younger brother, Arthur, and I followed him outside. The doctor then told us the truth about the operation. They cut away half his stomach, and hadn't managed to cut away all the cancer. They only gave him five to seven years to live. "It would be best not to tell your Mother," he said. So we kept it to ourselves, my Dad was at home before we left to go back to Halifax.
We returned back to continue working, and my Dad lived for five years after that, before passing away. In those years, my Dad returned back to work, until his retirement at 70 years of age. He was retired for about 18 months before his death in 1955. In the meantime my younger brother, Arthur, was still at home. When my Dad was taken to hospital the Doctor told Mam to send for us. As there was no phone for her to ring us. My Mam got in touch with us straight away by mail, as soon as we received the letter we sent a wire back to let her know we were coming straight down and would arrive there the next day. I got in touch with my boss and as usual he told me to go and take as long as necessary.
We set off the next morning and arrived home that afternoon. My Dad passed away the next day. I was going down to the hospital when the Doctor came to tell us our Dad had passed away. We were there to help my Mam with the arrangements for his burial. We stayed till after his funeral. He was born on May 12, 1883 and he died on August 10, 1955. He was 72 years of age; he died of Cancer of the stomach. My brothers, George, he was the oldest, and four years older than me, and Arthur, was 5 years younger than I, my younger brother was there, as well as my sisters, Maud, and Win (Winifred). My oldest sister, Lilian could not come. My two brothers lived in Wales, and my three sisters all lived in London. So it was good to see all of them. My Mam was especially happy to see us. My Father originally came from London, he and my Mam were Cockneys (a cockney is someone born within the sound of "bow-bells" - a famous church).
The Funeral was held at St. Margaret's Church of England, in Crynant, Wales. This was my father's church and his village where he eventually came to make his home, and the one that he loved. As the cemetery in this church was full, Dad was buried at the new cemetery called "Maes yr Hendre." I have photo's of my Dad and my Mam new Tombstone. I am standing beside the new Tombstone that I purchased for them in 1997. Keith was with me when I went over in that year and he helped me to decide with the stonemason what I wanted for them.
This Cemetery was just below where Edith used to live. This is where Edith and I will have our "remains" laid to "rest." I have already made arrangements for our burial there, as we love the "little county" where we grew up and met in school. This is where we chose to "start" and "end" our lives together. We both loved the time we grew up there, and loved the country life. Later in life I realized a lot how I loved that little county, my Dad and Mam resettled to live their lives there, and were very happy there. (KEITH comment: Yes Dad and I got it all arranged as to their head-stone, words on it etc. in 1997. All I was to do was take their ashes back when Dad died. This I did in 2015, a year after my Dad passed away in 2014. I was so pleased to do it all as they wished. I remember saying to myself at the grave site, "Well you are both back together again in your lovely little village where it all began. Thanks indeed for all you did for me in my lifetime. See you again one day in God's time plan." Keith)
I was really surprised to find what my brother, Arthur, had done in those five years. Knowing our Dad hadn't long to live, he worked on our Dad to sign over the Stone Mason business to him, with a promise that he would give him a big pension when he 'retired' at the age of 70. Arthur also promised to look after our Mam after Dad had "passed on." Dad was 67 years old when he had the operation so he lived to just 72 years old. Arthur set about getting everything in his name, knowing what the doctor had told him and I. None of this ever materialized. Arthur bought a bungalow after selling Mam's home out from under her! She was not very pleased when she had to go to live with him and his new young bride. He got married just after our father died. I told Mam if she was not happy there to let me know. And eventually she did and I took care of all her troubles until the day she went to heaven. My Dad had promised that I would inherit the Stone Mason business. I was the only one to work with him through the twelve years that my brother Arthur, was in the Service, and away from home. These were my teen years, just before I was "called up" to the Service for the War. I was really annoyed at how my brother had secretly done me out of my inheritance. However, God knew what he had done, and He supplied me with a good job, so that I did not now need my Dad's business.
When my Mam wrote and told me that Arthur wanted her to let him have the house I warned her against it. However, she did finally 'give in' to Arthur's wishes and ended up without a home of her own. Arthur bought Mother's home from her and then sold it to buy a bungalow for himself and his new bride. Mam then became "extra baggage." Finally, Mam wrote me of her unhappy life with Arthur and his wife, and I set about to remedy the situation. In the end, I got in touch with the rest of the family, to see if they would agree to have our mother stay in turn with each of us, for six month at a time, and that is what we did for her.
I made arrangements with them all. My three sisters were in London, so they would take her first. Then I would pick her up, and take her with me back to Yorkshire. After that, I would take her down to the village (Crynant) to stay with my brother, George. Then, once she had made the rounds, we would start all over again. Things were going great until she went to stay with my youngest sister, Win, for the third of the six months, in London.
Now let me tell you about my sister Win; after three months, she rings me up and told me that I would have to come and get "your dirty old mother, I have had enough of her messing all over the place." I just said that we would pick her up the next weekend. Edith and I went up to London at the weekend to pick my mother up, at that time, I asked Win, "What's this is all about?" She said, "Mam was not unwell," I asked her, "Have you had her to see the doctor?" Win said, "No need, as it was just her fault." Now you will realize how bad Win was, just like my younger brother Arthur, she wanted everything for herself, you will read about her later. I had to take Mother with us back to Halifax. I loved my Mother, that's what God did for my Mother. He gave her to me to take care of her.
TO BE CONTINUED