HER picture as a little girl may be on the cover of a book reminiscing about Sheffield in the Fifties, but Patricia Eales feels in no way nostalgic about those days.
Headlong Into Pennilessness is Michael Glover’s account of growing up without a father in a poor two-bedroomed terraced house lacking a bathroom or an indoor lavatory.
He shared the tiny house in Fir Vale with five other relatives, one of those being his older sister, Patricia Eales,
The home always held a strange fascination for Michael, who defied the odds to win a scholarship to Cambridge University and went to become editor of Mirror Books, an award-winning poet and art critic for The Independent.
It’s a view not shared by Patricia who has lived in the Holymoorside area of Chesterfield since the early 1970s. “I couldn’t wait to leave that house. It was tiny, damp and horrible.”
The front cover of the book is a photo at Michael Glover’s christening. Patricia, who was just seven years old at the time, is the only smiling face on the picture which clearly displays the strain caused by their absent father.
She said: “Michael grew up never knowing his father. I didn’t meet him until I was four years old when war was over. He appeared in all his khaki army gear with a huge handlebar moustache; he was nearly black from years under the hot sun in Burma. My mother fainted.
“The man that came home in 1945 was very different from the one that left in 1939, according to my mother. Their marriage was one of the many casualties of the war.”
Patricia Eales, now 70, much prefers her semi in Derbyshire. “Wild horses wouldn’t drag me back to an existence that was ruled by the make-do-and-mend attitude of the time; nightly arguments about money and the freezing cold outside toilet!”
Headlong Into Pennilessness is published by www.acmretro.com and is available in bookshops at £9.95.