a family betrayed

A Family Betrayed

Prologue

My name is Edith Brown and I am going to take you back to the 19th century when I was just a wee girl. I am now 70 years old and it’s about time I told my story on how I remember it. As my parents struggled to keep a roof over our heads and our life got better thorough hard work and grafting. I have never been jealous of what went on and never wondered what would of happened if things had been different. I’m not going to go on droning on about everything. Just read on and make your own mind up about what went on.

Chapter 1

We lived on Chapel Lane in a small town called Higton. Our house was a very small terraced just 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and bathroom but the toilet was outside. It was always cold in winter and because the toilet was outside you would never want to go outside to the toilet.

It is 1945 and my mother Mary Brown is preparing breakfast. I loved breakfast time first it was 2 slices of toast made into soldiers. You know the sort pieces of toast made into strips into little soldiers. These were always with a runny boiled egg which I always had fun dipping the soldiers into the egg and pretending they were alive. My mother would sit there with a cup of tea waiting for my father to come down before she would have anything herself. My mother was a small woman of about 36 years of age with blond short hair she hated it long said it was too much to manage. My father Thomas Arthur Brown was a tall well built man and always wore a suit that made him look very distinguished and a lot younger than 38 years old. He was in partnership with his best friend Albert Thompson who he had been friends with for nearly 30 years they had grown up together in Higton. They owned a motorbike shop in Boulton town (that was the next town up from us). They sold everything to do with bikes if you wanted it they would have it.
My father lived for bikes he used to say “if it’s got 2 wheels its life”. He had a motorbike of his own a triumph which was blue and black he called it Jimmy. Every day he would get on the bike and ride off to work even with a suit on.

He said “There is nothing better than the wind in my face to brighten and help me to face the day”.
He went everywhere on his bike sometimes just to the local shops to buy milk. It was any excuse just to ride like the wind. He would spend ages cleaning and checking the engine to make sure it was in tip top condition.

So here was mother waiting for father to come down stairs so that she could make him his breakfast.

“At this rate he’s not going to have time to do anything let alone have his breakfast. What is he doing?”

“Don’t worry mum he will be down soon”

Then we heard it.

“For gods sake not again.”

My mother and I looked at each other and wondered what was going on. So I followed her upstairs and found father in the bathroom holding his face.

“What ever is the matter dear?”

“I have done it again cut myself shaving!!”

“Oh dear never mind come and have your breakfast.”

I thought it was very funny dad was always doing it. Every time he shaved he would come downstairs with little tissues stuck to his face. He reminded me of a teenager who had spots.
I don’t think his father had ever taught him how to shave properly. So I followed mum back down stairs to finish my breakfast. I bet my egg was cold now. It didn’t bother me I would eat it anyway. It was a school day and I know I would be very hungry come 10am if I didn’t eat it all.

“Mary!!”

“Yes dear?”

“Is my breakfast ready im going to be late again?”

“No dear I was waiting for you to come down stairs”

“Then leave it I will get something on the way”

Dad was always doing this, thinking that he had loads of time and he didn’t. So he came bounding down the stairs panicking because he was going to be late once again. You see the shop always opened at 8am so that anyone wanting anything before they went to work could pick it up on the way.

“I’m going darling bye Edith have a nice day at school!!!”

“Bye daddy be careful”. I always said this he drove like there was no tomorrow on that bike.
As father went out the front door mother set about getting me ready for school. I always had a pack lunch and she always made me cheese slices with ham and brown bread. She always cut them into little squares for me so that it was easier for me to eat the crust. She thought that I ate the crust but I hated it. I also got a biscuit and a carton of blackcurrant.

“Come on dear time to go”

I got up off my chair and put on my coat and hat. Then picked up my satchel and waited for mum to get ready. Has we went through the door mum said that she had to go to the market today for our shopping so if she was late picking me up I had to wait where I was and not to go anywhere.
Has we walked down the street we met up with Mrs Smith and her daughter Josie. Josie was my best friend we did everything together and we had always been friends for as long as I could remember. She had blond her too but was very small and used to get teased because of her size. Her nickname was small fry.
It was not far to my school it was just one building and a big playground with a large oak tree in one corner. I loved that tree me and Josie used to play games under it. And it was great when it started to rain we would all run under the tree to keep dry before the teachers realised that it was raining and would shout us all in.

My teacher was called Miss Strange she was young and looked like a model. I was always thought that she looked to nice to be a teacher and that she should have been a model in some fancy show. I loved going to school I always said that they where the best years of my life.

My first lesson was maths and today we were doing subtracting. I didn’t mind this but I always had difficulty with subtraction.

“Ok class please sit down and open your books to page 64”.

Oh no I would never be able to do this impossible!!!!!

“Mrs strange could you help me please I think this is hard?”

“No Edith just try your best that’s all im asking for ok?”

“Yes miss”

Oh well got to try and do this I guess. Right 84 minus 8. Erm I wonder how dad is getting on at work.

Chapter 2

As I am driving down the road to work I wonder what the world holds in store for me today. I wonder what Albert is going to do today. I hope that order comes today I have hardly any brakes left in and I know people will be coming in asking me for them.

God I love this bike. When im riding it feels like I can keep going like when I was younger and I could go anywhere I wanted. Throw caution to the wind and just keep going.
Oh well here I am.

That’s strange the shop is closed I though Albert was opening up today.

“Excuse me Mr Brown?”

“Err yes oh hello can I help you?”

“Yes you can are you the owner of motorbike autos?”

“Well yes part owner why?”

“My name is earl mackinaw and I think I can help your business grow”

“Well you will have to wait for my business partner Albert. He should be along any minute.”

“Ok”

Sure enough here comes Albert not a care in the world. Just walking down like nobody’s business.

“Sorry Tom decided to walk today such a nice day.”

“That’s ok Albert better late than never”

Has he opened up the shop the stranger watched closely? How was he going to persuade them to go global?

“Albert this is Earl Mackinaw and wants to help us.”

Albert thought maybe this man could do the things that he had wanted to do for all these years. Maybe Tom would listen to him and see that they could grow and just maybe make some money from this business. After all they had both been here for the past ten years. It’s about time that it paid us back for all the hard work we had put in.

“Ok Mr Making how are you going to help us?”

“Please call me Earl. For a start im going to train you both in how to make this business a success”.

“Yes but why you going to help us Earl?” said Albert.

“Because this business is taking off more and more people are buying bikes now and want to see more shops like this opening up around the world.”

The more and more I thought of it I realised that this is too good to be true but he seemed legit. So I thought I would and see what happened.

“Right now if we are going to do this I need to know that you two are serious about doing this?”

“Yes of course we are” we both said.

“Ok then lets begin”

He began with explaining how we could raise our prices a little bit more and advertise in the local and national prices. That we would be surprised by how much custom that it would bring us. Also that we had to give it 100%.
I knew then that this was going to be hard work. So we all sat down and went through the plan on how we were going to make this work.

But then it came to me.

“How is this going to benefit you? How much do want out of this?”

“Well” said earl.

“All I want out of this is 10% and I don’t want my name mentioned in anything that goes on”

“Ah now there we go there’s the catch im sorry but you can leave now I knew there was something going on. You come in here promising this and that and expect us to just lap it up! No chance!”

“Well im sorry you feel that way if you ever want to change your mind then here’s my number”

Well I never heard such cheek!!

It was something to think about and the fact he had now given us the idea that we could do this on our own. But little did I know that Albert had other ideas. That he would betray me and the biggest way possible. Has earl left Albert followed him and said that was just going to make sure that he went and never came back. From then I should have know what he was doing but you don’t think at the time that you can be betrayed by your best friend and business partner.

Has the day went on we never mentioned about what had just went on but we was both thinking about it. As the day was coming to an end Albert was messing about in the back.

“Albert what are you doing in there?”

“Oh nothing just looking at the books again.”

I knew he was up to something.

“Leave the books its time to shut shop”

Just then Mrs Makingson came in asking for a certain type of brakes. Then I remembered about the order it hadn’t come in. I need that order because customers had ordered things that they needed for there bikes.

“Good afternoon Mrs Makingson”

“Hello tom have you got a c type suspension break for my grandson bicycle?”

“I will just have a look”

Has I went to the back of the shop Albert was on the phone. I waited behind the door listening to what was going on.

“Err hello earl about what you was saying I think that’s it’s a very good idea. Maybe we could come to some arrangement but we have to keep it to ourselves tom doesn’t like the idea at all but this business has to start going somewhere. Maybe we could meet up later and have a drink and discuss how we are going to do this?”

I was fuming how he could do this to me all these years that we had been friends I would never have thought that he would go behind my back.

“Ok then I will meet you at the red cow about 6pm is that ok?”

“Ok then bye”

Has I burst through the door he knew I had been listening and stood up and turned to me has if he had done nothing wrong. What was I going to say to him I felt so betrayed? But I wasn’t going to say anything I was going to that pub tonight to see what was going to go down.

“Err hello tom” he was nervous I could tell but I wasn’t going to say a thing yet.

“Mrs Makingson wants a c type brake suspension for her grandson have we got any?”

“Yes we have here. Is it time to shut up now tom?”

“Yes I will just give this to Mrs Makingson and then we can be off home.”

Mrs Makingson was pleased that she wouldn’t have to wait for her brakes to come and left the shop very happy.

I would have to explain to the wife that I had to go on an errand. She couldn’t know what was going on it would really upset her. We shut up the shop and usually we would have a cuppa and talk about things in the shop but Albert was walking to the door.

“Ok tom I will see you tomorrow?”

“Err yes ok Albert bye”

Has he went through the door I quickly but on my coat and hat. He was not getting away from this but I had to ring the suppliers first to see where the order was.

The suppliers said that the order would be with us tomorrow and we shouldn’t worry but the order had been wrong so it had to all be done again. Flaming employers why can’t they get staff that can do the job properly.

I locked up the shop and proceeded to go to the red cow. I don’t how I was going to go in without Albert seeing me but I had to go. Walking down the road to the red cow I wondered how he was going to get away with this. How could he even think of meeting up with that slimy git. The fact that he was evening doing something behind my back was doing my head in more than the fact that he was about make the biggest mistake of his life.

I walked into the red cow and they were sitting at the bar. Good they would not see me so I went round the other side and got myself a pint. Then went to sit near them but not to near that they would see me.

“So Albert you do think it’s a good idea? We can do a lot with this business help it to expand and grow into something much bigger”

“yes but tom cant know just yet I want to prove to him that im not just a waste of time and that I can do something could for the shop”

They went on about how they was going to do this. About how the business could grow and expand into something much bigger. Has I listened to what earl was saying I started to think that it wasn’t such a bad idea and that it could actually work. But I was going to see if Albert actually told me tomorrow at the shop.

Funny enough I never call it work to me it’s my second home it’s where I go to meet new people and talk to people about things that I like doing. Albert knew this so why was he going behind my back? The things we had gone through together. What with the war and trying to keep our heads above water? Has they stood up to leave I turned away so they wouldn’t see me. I would see what Albert had to say for himself in the morning.

When they had left I stood up to set off home but then Albert came back in and saw me standing there.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was coming for a drink after work I just came in why?”
He looked so nervous I thought the ground was going to swallow him up. I just thought that I would bide my time and see what he has to say to me.

“Just wondering. I will get this what do you want to drink tom?”

“Just a pint for me Albert”

As he went to the bar I sat back down. The wife is going to wonder where I am and I know she will start worrying. I will have this quickly and get back but im going to have to be careful that would be two pints I have had and im driving home. I think I will leave jimmy at work and catch the bus home.

“There you go tom”

“Thanks Albert”

We sat there in silence and just drank our pints. We didn’t say anything Albert knew that I knew and nothing he could say would make it better. As time went on we talked about the day at the shop and how we hadn’t had much custom that day. I told him about the order on how the suppliers had got the order wrong and to do it all again. That we should get it tomorrow and that we would have to be extra early to receive the order.

“Well I think I should be setting off now Mary will be wondering where I am”

“Bye then tom sees you tomorrow”

Has I went out the pub Albert was watching me with a puzzled look on his face.

I went to the nearest bus stop and waited for the number 62 bus that would take me home. Its was rather cold and I only had a thin coat on. I hated waiting for buses they never seem to come on time and when they do its rare. Ah here it is finally I wonder how much it is now?
Has I sat on the bus on the way home some teenagers got on being loud as usual. These days teenagers had the run of everything and never had any respect for there elders.

I got home at about 7pm and Mary was in the kitchen talking to Edith. I remember the day we got married it was magical. The sun shone like it was meant to be and the church was gleaming in the sunlight like a magical castle in a fairy tale. Mary looked beautiful in here white wedding dress. We had been saving up for 3 years to pay for the wedding we had decided to go the whole hog if we were going to do this right. The reception was in the local working men’s club and Mary parents had paid for the room and decorated it in balloons and tinsel. I remember thinking that it looked so special and that I was the happiest man alive.

“Tom is that you dear?”

“Yes love its me sorry im late went for drink with Albert after we shut the shop”

“Well your tea is in the oven don’t know if it’s any good now but its there when you want it.”

“Ok dear”

As I walked into the kitchen Edith was sitting at the table colouring in a picture she had just drawn. She’s a good girl never gives cheek always trying to help us in any way that she can.

“Hello Edith how was your day”

“Brilliant dad I got 2 stars today from mrs strange for trying my hardest in maths and English!”

“Very good Edith well done keep it up and maybe you can be dad’s accountant some day”

She was very bright for her age just 8 years old and already nearly the top of her class. I don’t know where she gets it from certainly not be Mary is the brains of the relationship. She deals with everything at home from the bills to the running of the family household. Has I warmed my tea up in the oven I wondered if we would ever have another child or was it to late now. We were both getting on in life and I longed for a son someone who could carry on the business after I was gone.

“Edith time for bed sweetheart. Go and brush your teeth then off to bed with you”

“Ok mummy goodnight goodnight daddy”

“Goodnight Edith sweet dreams angel”

“You too daddy night don’t let the bed bugs bite”

“I won’t sweetie you too”

Has Edith went off up to bed Mary was looking at me with a strange smile on her face.

“Mary what’s wrong?”

“I have something to tell you2

“Yes what is it Mary is there something wrong?”

“No love nothings wrong well I think its good news I don’t know what you will think”

Oh my god what is it what is she going to say have we come into some money or what.

“I’m pregnant”

“What you’re pregnant? Oh my god that’s brilliant news love im so happy but how we haven’t done anything for some moths now?”

“I know but I have been on my periods for some time now and I have been putting on some weight but thought it was just my age. I have been to the doctor’s im 4 months gone.”

“Oh wow I hope it’s a boy”

a family betrayed

carol oakes

Horwich Bolton, United Kingdom

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