My Big Bruvver

Fellow blogger Derrick J. Knight’s recent post on his 1950s childhood memories of “The Heyday of the Local Cinema” has once again inspired me to write a blog post. This one on a much simpler theme than the Baltic State Evacuees 🙂

Growing up, there was just my brother and me (and Mum). My brother was nine years older. There was a time in his teens when he looked out for me, and sometimes took me places. Even at those tender ages, our personalities were quite different, and I imagine you can guess who was the more boisterous. Or, as he complained when I hit my teens – why do you always have to be so dramatic?

But this story belongs much earlier, when I was about eight, and he seventeen, just about to finish High School. He had taken me to the movies to see Kirk Douglas in Spartacus. Our Uncle Jack was a dead ringer for Kirk Douglas, right down to the dimple in the chin – but that is another story.

On this occasion, my brother was being cautious before we started the half hour walk home. In the cinema foyer he asked me if I wanted to “go somewhere”.

‘Yes!’ I said breathlessly, looking around the foyer for what exciting event was to be had next. ‘Where shall we go?’

‘Not us.’ He hissed in a low voice. ‘You.’

‘Where?’  I whispered back.

‘Over there.’ The hissing was furious now.

I followed the path of his finger. My brother was discomforted. I could tell he was fuming inside. In front of all the strangers milling in the foyer I was making him point out the toilet. I knew he wished a hole would open up and swallow him. My brother did not like to draw attention to himself.

We were half-way home before he spoke to me again.

I was feeling a little aggrieved by the time we reached home – after all – it was an innocent mistake on my part, I felt, and I’d been treated rather harshly in my mind. I hurried to tattle-tale on my brother.

‘Mum! Mum! He was picking his nose in the cinema!’ I said, pointing at my brother.

‘Was he?’ – Mum was slightly astounded.

‘Yes.’ I rushed on, anxious to make his punishment all the worse. ‘And – he was using his handkerchief!’

I was sure that this would upset Mum. What? More washing?

On the contrary, she seemed quite satisfied with this method. My plans to shelf my brother completely deflated, I slunk off to bed, to dream of Spartacus.

My brother bravely took me with him to the cinema on several other occasions, and sometimes to the circus when it was in town, but never again there after I screamed and screamed when the trainer put his head in the lion’s mouth.

Once my brother left high school, started work, and joined the Citizen Military Forces (CMF) – what is now the Army Reserve – he sloughed off some of that shyness. There’s a few stories there, that’s for sure.

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27 thoughts on “My Big Bruvver

  1. I remember watching Spartacus many years ago on tv. I didn’t have a big brother, although there were times I thought it would be good. I was the eldest and there was about five years between my brother and I, but as far as I can remember we got along pretty well. My sister was a different story – very fiery and rebellious.

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  2. I always wanted a big bruvver! In my imagination I’m sure he would have taken my younger sister and I to the movies – me being his favourite of course!?
    So glad I did get to meet your big bruvver.

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    • Thanks Christine for the lovely comment, and also for the follow up clarifying who anonymous was! I have some wonderful remarks from people recently with no way of letting them know my appreciation (if they have not included their email).

      I am sure you would have loved having mine as a big bruvver, and of course, you would have been the favourite. Goes without saying, really J haha. xGwen

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    • I’m sure you were a great big brother and did whatever was in your realm of possibility. Thinking back, the films my brother took me to were not what today would be called age-appropriate. But no one talked such language back then. A good film was a good film, and while there may have been suggestive parts, none were as explicit as today’s.

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    • It would have been nice to have a sister growing up. I have two from my father, but didn’t meet them until I was 25. But my brother was not a meanie, at least, not until I blossomed into a teenager and he hit the panic button – thinking his role was to be the authoritarian father of the old-school variety. Pity his method had the opposite effect of what he intended. Such is life …

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        • Oh!
          I don’t remember who was the female lead in Spartacus. Perhaps there was not one. There was significant under-representation of feisty females in that period. So, unlike you and your Spartacus brother 🙂 , I can’t identify in a similar fashion.
          But you’ve reminded me that a few years later – I was eleven, I distinctly remember – my brother took me along to the drive-in to see Dr Zhivago and was mortified when Lara was called a ‘you know what’. I can still remember him glancing at me in the back seat to see if I understood the word.
          That was around the same era, that if I was riding in the back seat, and some pretty girls were on the footpath, my role was to crouch down into the footwell so I didn’t cramp he and his mate’s style. Oh – the good old days.

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          • Oh dear. I was a SLOW study on that one. Yes! I see it now! I came home railing against the oppression forced on innocent little me. haha.
            I’ve just looked up Jean Simmonds’ role. Gosh. That was all a bit risque – and then my brother was embarrassed about directing me to the ladies’ convenience? Makes you laugh doesn’t it?
            No gender axe. Just the way it was then. It’s good we’ve moved on, but it’s also good to remember how it was. Hard to know how far one has travelled if you don’t know the starting point.

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      • I remember the Christmas when I still believed in Santa Claus, and they put a lump of coal in my stocking, indicating Santa thought I had been a bad girl. I now know I am still trying to make up for whatever naughty things I might have done!

        They have a lot to answer for, but they died many years ago, so I can’t tell them what an impact that little action had on me. In their defence, they did lots of nice things for me as we grew older.

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