April 2020

A Memory from the Past

The front door bell played the first few bars of Mike Oldfield's 1973 Tubular Bells before it was drowned by Booby's barking. It started to play again and was quickly overtaken by the opening of the door and voices speaking.

"Mr Partridge?"

"Yes, who are you?"

"John, from Johnsons Builders, to do your kitchen," the man said, whilst showing his credentials as proof.

"You'd better come in then," replied Mr Partridge.

"Is your dog friendly?"

"You mean Booby, yes, he's no problem but will probably lick you to death." Mr Partridge watched as Booby jumped and slobbered all over the builder.

"Are those all the bits for the kitchen over there? I'd better check that it's all complete.

The phone rang. Mrs Partridge, who had remained silent up until now, sprang into action, getting up and answering the phone in one swift move.

"Oh...my...God! It's Aunt Min, Peter, she's fallen and been rushed to hospital...it's bad...we'd better go quickly!"

Mrs Partridge explained to the builder and told him he would have to leave and come back later. Her husband would phone and let him know when. The three of them, plus Booby, left the house with Mrs Partridge locking the front door on the way out.


Jimmy watched the car disappear around the corner and ran quickly up the road. He visually scanned the front of the house before trying the door. No joy, it was locked, so he tried the back gate...it opened. Racing up the alley and around the corner, he found that the patio doors had not been locked. In he went, and then realisation hit him. Why was he doing this? What was he hoping to find? What if he got caught? He was unsure but knew that he was at last in his real parents' home.

Going from room to room he stood silently in the centre of each, looking, smelling, feeling, and then opening doors and drawers. Every room was different but they all belonged to a real home. The last time he had been in a real home was when he was seven. He had been searching, ever since, to find his identity.

A feeling of utter shock hit him as he saw it on the table in front of him, a picture. It was him!

He picked it up and looked at it very closely, even examining it. Yes, it was him, even the mole was there. He panicked. Grasping the photo tightly he ran from the house, down the alley, through the gate, down the road, around the corner to his push bike...and away.


Mr and Mrs Partridge arrived back, with Booby feeling very content. He enjoyed himself sitting on his master's lap, whilst Mrs Partridge drove. Looking out of the window and licking skin, salt and body creams from his master's exposed flesh was what Booby liked.

"What a disgusting trick to play on anybody, how could someone do this to us," she said angrily to her husband as they entered the door and found displaced objects everywhere.

"What a mess, we've been burgled. What's missing?" Mr Partridge said in an astonished tone.

"Don't move, we must phone the police."

"Where's the photo!" Mrs Partridge screamed.


Several weeks later, after the police had done their initial investigation and explained to Mr and Mrs Partridge that there was little chance that they would find the culprit, the phone rang.


"Hello is that Mrs Partridge?" the voice asked.

"It is. Who are you?"

"I'm Jimmy. I've got a confession to make. I've been very silly and would like to apologise and explain, if you'll give me a chance."

"Sorry, I don't understand. Jimmy, Jimmy who? What have you done?"

"I don't think it's right that we should talk on the phone. It would be better if we meet somewhere, like Morrisons, and talk over a cup of coffee."

The line went quiet as Mrs Partridge took time to consider the conversation.

"Give me time to speak to my husband and ring me tonight. I need time to think and consider what my husband has to say. Can you give me some more information?" She asked.

"Only that it really is nothing for you to worry about."

"I think it is. Someone I don't know phones me up and tells me they've done something silly and won't give me any more information. That's not worrying?"

"I know it probably is but talking on the phone leads to misunderstandings and I don't want that. You'll understand why when I meet you."

"Ring me six o'clock tonight and I'll let you know my answer. Goodbye." She put the phone down.

Mr and Mrs Partridge talked about the telephone call and could think of nothing which would warrant such a call, apart from the burglary. Her husband suggested she go to Morrisons as it would be quite safe. She did not think so but said she'd go if he came too. Begrudgingly he agreed.

The phone rang at five past six. Mrs Partridge answered it.

"Hello, Mrs Partridge."


"Have you made a decision?"

"Yes but it will have to be tonight, at the Morrisons in Tewkesbury. Is that alright?"

"Yes, what time?"

"Seven thirty in the cafe, they close at eight."

"I'll see you there. Don't worry, I'll recognise you." He put the phone down.

More worry she thought, how does he know he'll recognise me.

They arrived at Morrisons for seven, bought two tea's and sat at a table for four. At half past seven a young man of thirtyish came up to the table.

"Hello Mrs Partridge, I need to return this to you."

She stood up and, taking the brown paper parcel, she opened it. The photo was staring her in the face.

"You!" She said in anger as she looked up.

Then she saw it. The mole on his neck.


"Mum...and Dad!"

She burst into tears, threw her arms around him, then Jimmy burst into tears.

Mr Partridge did not understand and stared in disbelief. He only married Sue the year before and did not know the boy who was calling him dad.


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