TOMMY’S WORLD by Billy Hoskins. 🙂 🙂 🙂
“Tommy Hopkins’ early years weren’t very promising. Born at the end of the nineteenth century in a slum district of – Manchester, he’s blessed with a loving, hard-working mam and dad, but they don’t have two ha’pennies to rub together”.
By the age of four, young Tommy has already known tragedy with the deaths of two young friends in horrific accidents; little Herbert who accidently drank acid and, small Josie burnt to death when her nightie caught fire.
When Tommy was five, his father came home from work one evening complaining of a headache. Within a matter of days, Tommy’s father was dead, at the age of twenty-eight, from cerebral spinal meningitis. And so began a downwards spiral for Tommy and his mam.
Tommy begins school, his mothers goes out to work long hours. It is only a matter of time before she succumbs the tiredness, overwork and poverty. She dies at the age of thirty leaving Tommy, now seven, an orphan. What follows is years of brutality from “Gran’pa Zeb”, a vicious, drunken, laudanum addicted old man with in intense dislike of Tommy.
At school, Tommy receives a strict Catholic education which consistes of rote learning and punishment for wrong answers.
“Then there was King Solomon with all those wives and said to be the wisest man who ever lived in history.
‘How did Solomon becomes the wisest man of all times?’ Sister asked after telling us how God had granted his wish.
‘Because he had so many women to advise him,’ said Angela Rocco.” (page 92)
Even back in 1891, some small girls knew what was what!
“For answering back and challenging divine authority, I spent the rest of that lesson kneeling at the front. It was to become my established position in religious lessons”. (P.92.)
Life was tough for the kids of the Eighteenth Century. The official school leaving age was raised from the age to ten to the age of twelve. Even so, some children did not receive much of an education as they were needed at home to help look after siblings and work.
Both inside and outside of school gangs formed and fought for supremacy. Tommy’s daily life consisted of bullying in school and bullying after school at the hands of Zeb. The rivalries begun in the first year of school continued into adulthood and Tommy was forced to outsmart the same two bullies time and time again.
Tommy graduated from school, aged twelve, and joined the workforce at Manchester Markets. He worked his way up the ranks, by sheer hard work and intelligence, to become a porter with his own small business.
Tommy’s World is based on the true story of the author’s father – with a few added embellishments and conversations.
Anyone who thinks today’s world is tough and life is difficult should take a look at that our predecessors faced and survived with a good hearted and at times humorous nature.
Tommy’s World is told by his son Billy Hopkins. Hopkin’s has also writen the sotry of his mother Kate in Kate’s Story.
Title: Tommy’s World
Author: Billy Hopkins
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group, 2009