When I was born in my grandmothers bed, I was welcomed to the world by a member of the family who has stayed in my memory to this day. Under the bed as I came into the world and took my first breath, was an untidy but very faithful soul who gave only love, his name was Spot. We were together from that moment on, a very special relationship and one I still hold dear.
As a baby I was often put on the back of my grandmothers loveable pet dog, Spot, by my aunts, to give me a ride, like a tiny jockey on a horse. This amused my aunts a lot and I can just remember this myself.
I grew up with the dog being an important part of the family, and at about the age of eight I would regularly play with my younger cousins and with Spot at my grandmothers house. We often played in the garden together and I got used to raising the sash of the bay window to climb into the house, rather than disturb granny.
She seemed to be always cooking, or making beds and cleaning. One of my very special memories was the smell of the copper boiler wash tub on Friday’s, full of washing, the hot soapy steam filling the kitchen like perfume as she poked away with the wooden tongs. She often made toffee apples too, the sticky red toffee sweet against the sharp taste of the apple within. Wonderful days, before the world changed to adulthood.
Spot was a great favourite with us kids, all children love a dog as a friend and playmate, and Spot could perform a few neat tricks which we kids had taught him ourselves. The dog was getting old however, by the time I was eight, so we were careful not to get him to do more than he could, and anyway, he now spent a lot of time just curled up in his basket, watching us as we played and rolling on his back for a tummy tickle when we spoke to him. He was a lovely pet.
One afternoon we were in the garden digging out tunnels for our toy soldiers to explore, and to hide our little tin cars in, at the bottom of grandma’s garden. Like all kids, the need to keep playing to the very last moment was much more important than doing the essential things. Suddenly my cousin started jumping up and down and shouting “I need to pee, I need to pee, now, now, now, let me indoors”.
I rushed to the window and raising the sash, I climbed into the house and jumped down onto the sofa below the bay window, patting Spot on the head as I did so, and he jumped up and licked my hand as usual. Running to the front door to let young Michael in, I suddenly felt a deep chill go down my spine as turned the small knob on the lock. I felt the hair slowly rise on the back of my neck as I suddenly remembered that Spot had died the previous Sunday, and was now safely buried in the garden, – but I swear to this day that I patted that dog on the head and he licked my hand in return, as I went to the door.
I still have photos of spot somewhere around, I inherited them when my parents died. There is even one picture of me actually riding on his back supported by my youngest aunt, Maureen.
Spot was a rather scruffy white rough haired mongrol dog, with a black patch on his body, and a lovely pet and a very special friend, who will be forever with me in my memories of childhood.
This story is completely true, from my days growing up near Chislehurst, Kent.
I want to dedicate it to my uncle Ken, a great friend and a lot of fun, and who I was named after.
Copyright retained – Ken DaSilva-Hill 2017
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