This story was prompted by a comment made in response to my story Cliff House. If you haven't read it don't worry, the bulk of this one stands alone.
So thanks Anonymous for your comment "I liked the story ... just curious ... what was in the boxes under the roof??????? Maybe some treasure", hopefully this story answers the question
Thanks to my editor, MisterE, for the time and effort spent in helping me get this story posted.
In this story there are no consequences from unprotected unsafe sex, no diseases and no unwanted pregnancies, but remember it is a story, not the real world.
Readers from other parts of the world should note that most of this story is set in England, and the language is that which you find in England.
If any of the words are a problem have a look at http://www.english2american.com, and if this doesn't provide the answer e-mail me.
Just to explain the 'Caution' code, there are a couple of VERY brief references to MM acts, including a male rape. It forms a pivotal part of the story, but I have only included enough narrative to make the story work, and certainly haven't described the actual act in any detail. So don't be put off.
Please note that because of the setting of this story all money is pre decimalisation. There were 12 pennies to the shilling, and twenty shillings to the pound. To give you an idea of the value of money, during 1940 an agricultural labourer would earn just over £2 per week.
It was about ten days after we got married in that hurried ceremony in Lewes. As we ate our breakfast looking out over the English Channel Sharon said, "I want us to go up into the loft today and see what's up there. We need space for our spare furniture so it wouldn't hurt to clear out the rubbish."
I had a day off so, after taking the dog for a walk, we got changed into some old clothes. Well, that's not strictly true, we got undressed, got distracted, had sex and then got dressed in old clothes.
The loft was filthy and there was no light, I found an extension lead and a lamp so that we could see what we were doing. I got the ladders in place and we climbed up into the loft. There looked to be around thirty boxes and cases so we started with the nearest one and opened it. It contained china, a rather nice gold rimmed tea set. One at a time, we worked through all the boxes. Most of them contained things which were obviously not wanted but were too good to throw out. We were a bit disappointed that we didn't find anything interesting.
Eventually we opened an old trunk with cane bandings, the old-fashioned sort that people used when they were going on a long journey. It was full of papers and note books. This looked more interesting. I shut the trunk and decided to get it down out of the loft. It was heavy but, with a bit of manoeuvring, I managed to lower it to Sharon who was standing at the foot of the ladder. It was now lying on the floor at the top of the stairs. I came down and shut the loft hatch for the time being.
Sharon spread an old blanket out on the floor of the spare room, I brought the trunk in and we started to investigate the contents. In the main it appeared to be Jeremiah's diaries, dating from 1937 right through to the 1990's, and one from 2006 covering his last few years.
We then found a thinner book, 'The life of Jeremiah Sommers'. We read it together and were captivated immediately. We completely forgot about our task of clearing the loft and spent the next few hours reading about the life of Sharon's great Uncle.
I am Jeremiah Sommers and this is my story. I suspect my niece, Sharon, will be the first to read it. This chronicle is a digest of my diaries and hopefully will allow you to understand me. Once you have read it you can decide what to do with it. I don't mind if you put it back in the attic to gather dust or publish it in some way. I don't know if people would want to read it, that my dear, is your problem.
I was born on 27th February 1926, obviously even though I was there I don't remember it. My parents, Joshua and Beatrice were still living in London at that point. They lived in a large house in Balham, South London, and father ran a number of garages catering for the rapid increase in motor vehicles, he must have been doing well even at this time. My first memories are of the house on Balham Hill, and we had a maid, a cook and two 'dailies'.
We used to visit Brighton most weekends. I can remember the journeys, sometimes by car, sometimes by train, to my grandparents house in Rottingdean, just outside Brighton.
I started school, and still think about my first teacher, Miss Craggs. At the time she was my hero, she ruled her class firmly, but fairly, unlike some of the more unsavoury characters I encountered in my secondary school. I now realise she was just another unmarried woman trying to make her way in a world where women still didn't count.
When I was seven I was considered old enough to sit with father and mother at the table in the big dining room. The maid would serve us and I would be expected to sit there and not speak unless spoken to. I now realise that I was a late surprise to my mother, they had been married for seventeen years when I was born, mother was thirty eight. This meant that they were both Victorian in outlook. They were never unkind at this time, just distant.
One day Father said, "We are moving to the Sussex coast at the end of the summer holidays. Mother and I are having a new house built overlooking the sea. I will travel to London each day on the new electric trains that the Southern Railway are running to Brighton and Eastbourne." I had been on them once and was immediately jealous. To me the Brighton Belle was the height of speed and luxury.
The month up to the move was chaos. Boxes kept appearing in rooms and there were strange men looking around the house. It was the middle of the school holidays and lots of places which were previously part of my games and fantasy world were suddenly 'out of bounds'. As an only child I spent a lot of time on my own.
The day of the move arrived and two bright yellow pantechnicons appeared outside the house. Father put us in the car and we left Balham. I knew the way to Rottingdean but when we got to Purley we turned off and travelled through East Grinstead.
We arrived at our new house and Mother and Father seemed to be as excited as I had ever seen them. I was scared, the house was nothing like our home in London. It was white and square with none of the little nooks and crannies that I was used to. I started to cry.
The maid and the cook moved with us as they lived in. Cook said to me, "Master Jerry, what's the matter?"
"Cookie, it doesn't look like home."
She hugged me and said, "Don't worry, 's new, 's what them posh people call 'art decor', I've read about it in me Woman's Own."
At the time cook seemed to be old but was probably in her early twenties.
I settled into Cliff House and went to the local school. I settled in fairly quickly but I was still an only child and spent a lot of time on my own. Father used to travel to London each day and we used to eat at the big table every night.
My next major milestone was when I turned eleven. That summer I left the single room village school for the last time. I was going to the Grammar school in Eastbourne in September. Waiting for the bus at the end of the lane on a drizzly September morning I was confused. I got on the bus and when we got to the school I followed the other children but had no idea where to go, it was huge with long corridors and rooms off each side.
Eventually a small man in a black gown called me, "You, boy, what are you doing wandering around?"
"I am new here. I do not know where to go."
He showed me to my classroom and a fierce looking man shouted, "Sommers, where have you been? You are late, thirty minutes detention on Friday."
After dinner I told my father about my first day at Grammar school and that I had 'detention' on Friday. He said he would have a word with Mr Thompson. Father was now a rich man and well known, I don't know what passed between him and Mr Thompson, the headmaster, but Friday came and the fierce man, who I now knew was Mr Young, said, "Sommers, I am letting you off this time, but if you are late again you will get the cane."
It was now August 1939 and everyone was talking about war. Hitler was in power in Germany and I overheard mother and father talking about what they would do if there was a war. Father said, "I may have to stay in town during the week if the trains are disrupted."
Mother said, "And no doubt you will not be alone. You will have some little trollop in your bed." I had no idea what a trollop was but something about the way it was said told me it would be best not ask.
"If my wife undertook her marital duties I would not have to seek release elsewhere."
"Joshua, we have been through this time and time again. If I was to be with child again the doctor said it may kill me. Until I have the change I cannot be a proper wife."
I know Mother and Father argued a lot, but this seemed like a whole new thing.
Two weeks later, on a Sunday, we all gathered around the radio receiver in the drawing room. We heard Neville Chamberlain announce that we were at war with Germany.
.... There is more of this story ...