I know that this is supposed to be my history, not Redcar's , but there is something else which is worth remembering. The sea around Britain is always moving both in and out with the tides but also sidewards all due to the pull of the sun and the moon and winds, and that has the result of carrying things several miles away from their starting places. For example when someone drowns in the sea whilst carelessly swimming too far out to sea, the body is ultimately washed up miles away. Now in County Durham to the North there were coalfields and coal mining right under the sea not far north of Hartlepool, at Seaham and Blackhall. From these underground, undersea mining operations coal dust used to be washed up on to the beaches of Redcar in sizeable quantities and left in roughly a straight line all along high water mark, along with sea weed and all the other bits and pieces that the sea yields. In the hard times of the twenties and thirties, especially around the time of the great General Strike of 1926 and the 'means Test' when unemployment benefit was reduced by a stupid government, men used to gather up the coal dust, take it home in sacks balanced on their old bicycles, dry it out and make it into little bricketts to burn in the fireplace, to get a little bit of warmth in winter. The gathering was done with simple wooden home made rakes and a shovel or cupped hands. Fifty years later the National Coal Board and Professor Bronowski announced with a great fanfare and huge publicity their newly invented coal-bricks. Such is life. The real inventors are rarely honoured in this country. I often watched these industrious men on the beach gleaning their meager harvest of coal.
So that there is no misunderstanding I must acknowledge that Redcar does not now use the 'oldest' lifeboat in the world. It has always had an up to date beautiful lifeboat and voluntary crew who not only respond regularly to s.o.s. signals by radio and visible distress flares,but also demonstrates the launching, mock rescues and return to the lifeboat house to appreciative audiences, especially on the special R.N.L.I. lifeboat flag days.
I mentioned earlier that we usually went by train to Redcar in the early days when there was no alternative public transport. Somewhere around the late twenties a Middlesbrough man called Lewis Brechner had the bright idea of hiring a bus on a Sunday to take bus loads of people to the coast and back. Later if I remember correctly he started a 'Redwing' bus service.
By the time I was old enough to graduate from the cubs into the Scout troop Mr. Nat. Bharier started to get together a 'Jewish' Scout troop and I joined. This lasted for several years and we went camping and did all the usual things. Oddly enough I cannot remember so much about it as the cub pack and only one name comes to mind - David Brechner, who later became a scientist and emigrated to Canada.
Wherever we lived in Middlesbrough, from the earliest years we had some good neighbours. When we lived in Cavendish Terrace just accross the railway level crossing from North Ormesby there was a very prominent local town Councillor called Tommy Meehan. I do not know whether or not he was actually a neighbour, probably not, because he was comparatively 'well to do', was a very strong union man and was a good friend to my parents. Being a politician he would be friendly with all his supporters, but it was a comfort to my parents, newcomers to the town, to be on speaking terms with such an important local Councillor. Then there was the local coal merchant who delivered bags of coal to from a horse and cart,- Walter Rawlinson. They were real close friends their daughter Peggy was Blanche's friend.
Next door to us in Linthorpe Road at number 278 lived Will and Mary Mullin. He was the Head Master of St. Hilda's School situated in the road leading up to the old market Place, in the oldest part (and possibly the poorest) part of the town. Both he and his wife were good singers and prominent active members of the Middlesbrough Amateur Operatic Society. My parents went to all their productions which were put on at the opera House at the corrner of Southfield Road and Linthorpe Road, not far from our house. My parents used to come home singing the songs. My father had two or three favourite songs often repeated. One was "Take a pair of sparkling eyes, take a pair of rosy cheeks take a pair of ..... ‘from Gilbert and Sullivan of course. Another was "Roses are blooming in Picardy .... ‘ popular from the first world war years and “Irish eyes are smiling”
In the corner house Number 280 Linthorpe Road lived Mr.Albert Tyreman. I remember him well because I used to go into his house from time to time and he tried very hard to stimulate my brain and teach me to think by writing down simple arithmetic puzzles and conundrums, but so far as I remember I could not grasp the explanations and just sat mouth open and gazed at him. Perhaps I learned something, perhaps not, but it reminds me that I was a very slow starter and could not think for myself. This reminds me that in class in the infants and possibly also in the junior school we regularly had to write something in an exercise book, say a story or a composition on a given subject, or something about ourselves. I disliked this activity because I could not think of anything to write, so whatever words I could think of I spread out as much as possible to fill a line with just one or two words.
In the house on the other side of ours in Linthorpe Road, it would be Number 274 lived various people from time to time whom we never knew, but one family acquired a gramophone (an early style record player activated by a handle winding up a spring like a clock) and if the handle was not constantly turned the record would get slower, which caused the pitch of sound to drop lower. Well, these people apparently had one record only of " the laughing policeman" and it was played incessantly from early morning till late at night. Maybe it was their answer to father's sewing machine, and the best solution of the problem would have been to buy and give them a few other records. Around the corner in Granville Road lived the Macdonald family and Blanche made friends with their daughter Girlie who later married Ossie Millar and years later the Millars were my friendly neighbours in Mayberry Grove, Linthorpe.
Another childhood memory is of my love of cake and sweet things. I used to get up early in the morning, bring in the milk off the doorstep left by the milkman, skim off the cream from the top of the bottle and mix in cocoa and sugar and take this delicacy under the table where I sat and ate/ drank it with a teaspoon.
After working all day for six days in house work, cooking, washing, cleaning, feeding us, doing dressmaking or tailoring or mending clothes, Mother baked on Sunday. She baked bread and cakes and also made pasta in various shapes and sizes – lokshen (spagetti) in small half inch squares and when cut into larger triangularpackets with minced up meat inside it was called kreplach.Pastas went into chicken soup dishes and enough was made on Sunday to last as long as possible through the week ahead. Chicken soup is a standing joke amongst Jewish people as being the cure for all ailments, especially with one form or another of pasta. Modern housewives buy ready-made pasta but in those days the manufacture was in each and every private house; make the dough, roll it and knead it and roll it and knead it, then hang it out on the washing line to dry, and then lay it out on the table, fold it and cut it according to the shape required; then start cooking it. Well, while mother was doing all that my sister Blanche used to read the Sunday newspaper aloud so that mother could know all the politics of the day.
I think the, paper we took was The News of the World. In addition to the political news there was invariably a good short story, probably about cowboys and Indians in the wild West of the United States and my father loved to read those stories. That newspaper also published a full copy of a popular song every Sunday on one of the pages and from an early age I tried to pick them out on the piano, that is when I could get near the piano, when Blanche was not playing. Now my mother's cakes were wonderful and she wanted to have enough not only for us children but also for visitors. In.those days people did far more visiting in each others houses than is done today. There were just as many public houses then as there are today but many people especially women wives and mothers preferred to to receive friends in their own homes and put out a good spread. Well my mother had a big problem to find a hiding place for the best cakes out of my reach. To my shame I devoured everything in sight and out of sight, and I was never chastised for it. I reckon I was spoilt rotten by my mother.