This is the final week of the 4 week Art and Writing course. For writing homework this week I chose Brighton Pierrots by Richard Sickert.
I did not feel inspired, but I did want to have something to read out, so finally sat down and wrote this morning after an idea finally drifted to the surface.
When I was a young girl we had holidays in Brighton, and that is where I began.
When I was a girl in the 50's my dad would pack the car up to the roof and drive us down to Brighton's Sheepcote Valley campsite . Auntie Jean would meet us there with my cousins, Sally, 2 years younger, and Paul, 2 years older. I suppose Helen was there too, but I do not remember her.
One of the things I liked best was when we went to the seafront and there was entertainment for the children on a wooden stage overlooking the grey ocean with Uncle Max sitting on his chair, holding an accordion. We all rushed to the front, frantic hands in the air. Pick me, pick me. And pick me he did.
Once up there on stage , he asked me what I would like to sing. I had no idea but had to choose something on the spot, so I said ''Who's Sorry Now?' (Connie Francis} as it was a song I had heard on my dad's Bush radio and luckily I remembered the words.
When the song was finished I was not ready to give up the limelight, so grabbed the hem of my white cotton shorts as if it was a frilly skirt and danced round the stage. It was so much fun and so liberating I wonder why I did not choose it as a career...although at that age I did not even know that was an option.
What happened next was very strange. Instead of Uncle Max's accordion I could hear the sound of a piano and instead of Uncle Max I could see a young woman in a pink dress seated at a piano. As I looked out at the audience the sea of excited young faces had gone, replaced by rows of striped deckchairs, with a few sombre faced women in well worn old fashioned hats and world weary soldiers with bandaged heads.
The air still felt cold on my goose pimpled arms, there was still the tang of salt on my tongue and the wooden boards were still gritty under my bare feet.
The sad looking young woman invited me to sit w at the piano and play it with her.
I had never had a piano lesson in my life. We were not that kind of family.
Macmillan's 'You've never had it so good' meant for my family a new car, a radiogram and seaside holidays always the last 2 weeks in August.
She began to sing 'Take me back to dear old Blighty' and I joined in. As her beautiful voice floated gently across the stage and into the hearts of the audience safely seated in the blue and white striped canvas seats I could feel the deep sorrow of the pink Pierrot whose fiance would never return.
At the end of the song I heard the accordion once again, bringing me back to my performance in August 1958.
I looked out at the sea of milling children's faces, heard their clapping, and as I reluctantly left the stage, out of the corner of my eye I saw the pink Pierrot lady waving goodbye.