See that big group of kids ?
Thats outside The Rendevous Club that is, Cayton Bay nr Scarborough on Yorkshires bracing coast, our holiday choice for the first ten years of my life, the place where we kids first realised that you couldn’t plug a microphone into an amplifier without our dad insisting on getting up and singing his choice of Sinatra songs whether you wanted to hear them or not (and believe me, we didn’t, me and Ned, it was totally embarrassing for us kids).
The days when “you made your own entertainment” the days when your dad would sing at the drop of a hat and everyone’s parents would dance to big band music while kids watched and thought “I hope thats still not trendy when I grow up” (it wasn’t, fortunately), the days when it was still OK to make a brown bear dance in a tutu simply for entertainment purposes, and the days when it was still possible to have your photograph taken on the front at Scarborough by a man with a camera and a monkey which he would hand to you as a feature for your holiday snap, so that you could go back to work the next week and say “Hey look at me with a monkey in Scarborough” and people would think it so exotic in Scarborough.
So what are that group of kids doing stood outside The Rendevous Club at Cayton Bay nr Scarborough ?
Well lets have a close look at them first, its fair to say that some of them at the back are in their teenage years whereas the ones at the front have only just stood on their hind legs without falling over, it looks just like all the parents at Cayton Bay Holiday Camp have dumped all of their kids at The Rendevous Club for the morning while they go and play bingo and/or drink beer, or similar – and that is precisely what has happened.
How do I know this ?
Look at the front row, left hand side, there’s two blond haired kids, one holding the others hand, I don’t know who these kids are, hey look, I didn’t ask ok, I don’t know who they are and its not important anyway so lets just leave it at that – but next to them is a kid in dungarees sucking his thumb…
See him ?
Thats me that is.
How old would I be there, three ?
Something like that.
So its 1959 then.
And I don’t know anyone else on that photograph, my brother isn’t there, my cousins aren’t there, I’m on my own, sucking my thumb, in dungarees, with sandals on and as far as I can see theres only one kid in that photo who looks younger than me and he’s still in nappies but at least he seems to be with his sister, I’m on me tod.
The occasion is the Grand Cayton Bay Kiddies Treasure Hunt, can you see any organisers or helpers, maybe two or three on the right hand side at the back, and that was it, sum total of the Health and Safety Risk Assessment Statement and with that the photo was taken and this whole bunch of kids were taken across one of the busiest main roads you’ve ever seen (no traffic lights, no pedestrian crossing) and walked down the cliffs onto the beach to be let loose for an hour or so searching for some unrecalled thing, the Grand Cayton Bay Kiddies Treasure Hunt, my parents abandoned me there for the morning and I hated them for it, its still one of my earliest recollections.
The thing is, where are my cousins and my brother and why was it always me who ended up being left on his own while they did all the good things – remember this photo – same era, me missing again, I was probably being left on the beach again, it must have been so disappointing to my parents when I returned to the caravan every night, “Bloody hell Joyce he’s like a bloody homing pigeon, we’ll never lose the bugger at this rate”