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  • Writer's picturePaul Coleman

Growing Up In Manchester

Gwen, Mum And Me

My earliest memories are of the boarding house where I lived with my baby sister Gwen and my mum and dad. The four of us lived in a ground floor room of a crumbling Victorian mansion in an increasingly impoverished city of Salford, which was the heart of the Manchester dockland. The owner was incredibly mean. In this day and age he would be called a slum lord, so everything was falling to pieces, but nevertheless the people that lived there, sharing the communal kitchen and bathrooms, were a like family. Late one night there was a knock on the door. My dad opened it. It was the lady who lived in the next room. She was as black as coal. Her ceiling had collapsed and she was covered in soot. It was shocking and hilarious at the same time. My mom and dad helped her fix the ceiling, but she left not long after.

My first real experience of pain happened there too. I reached for a pan on the stove. it was full of boiling of water. I can't remember what they did at the hospital, but I certainly never did that again. My mum wouldn't let me get near the stove for years after that and she reminded me whenever she wanted me to get out from under her feet when she was cooking. I learned at a very young age that mum's can have memories like Elephants.

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