My Aunts lived in a very posh area of St. Annes On the Sea which is just outside of the famous sea-side resort Blackpool. The house was a big 3 story detached home on Orchard Road and was impressive when you walked in to the entrance and saw the winding iron staircase. The house was cold I mean freezing cold and though filled with beautiful antiques and had a baby grand piano in the front room, it was anything but home. No central heat, no fire, no comfortable couch, no music, no life.
They were demanding and strict old-fashioned spinsters with no understanding of young people or their needs. I was devoted to looking after them, especially my Auntie Margaret, who had horrible ulcerated legs and was unable to do for herself. I liked her though and she made me laugh sometimes. My aunt Minnie was a cold hard woman, who showed no emotion for life or other people. She was a real eccentric lady, who lived surrounded by luxury but had no comforts.
There was never any food and what there was many cans of salmon and fruit. She kept these locked up in a cabinet and she kept the key in her pocket. You had to beg her for the key to get anything. She would drink a cup of tea with whiskey in it every morning at 6.30 am and would send me miles in the cold and rain to the store for her teacher’s whiskey because it was a few pennies cheaper.
Of course they never had a car they walked or took a taxi not that they ever really went anywhere much, Just once a week they would go to the cafe for high tea or afternoon tea. They had plenty of money but would not spend it for the normal living expenses.
I worked in a pharmacy in the town center, walking distance from the house. My life was lonely; I missed my brothers and sisters. I had nothing but my music. There was the Blackpool Tower and The Mecca Ballroom; I was there every chance I got. I would take two buses and was still sneaking in sometimes without paying, but oh the dancing, wow. They had disco nights that were heaven on earth for me. The Tower Ballroom once you had a ticket to enter the Tower you could go in the ballroom all day for free.
This was the home of the original Wurlitzer organ, it would rise up from beneath the stage as the organist played, and it was magnificent. The ballroom was beautifully carved and decorated with a ceiling like the Sistine Chapel and still to this day that ballroom hosts dancers from all over the world, especially now international line dancers, teachers, choreographers and some of the biggest and best known line dance events in the world.
I left my aunties house and went to live and work at the Imperial Hotel in downtown Blackpool. This was the started to another chapter of my life, which is not one I am proud of, but one that would lead me one more step forward.