This was not the greatest year of my life.
There were several crappy events that meant that 1985 was never going to be a stand out year.
In early April my little Cousin died suddenly at the age of 11. This had a major impact on the whole family and I still remember it vividly and not in a good way.
It happened on a weekend when I had been away on camp with the scouts and we had spent the whole night lying awake in our tent smoking,talking and listening to a pirate radio station playing clouds across the moon by the Rah Band.
I also lost my father in October. Not lost as in a pair of gloves but lost as in died suddenly at the age of 51 of a heart attack.
I can’t say much about it but if you were one of 6 kids and had to shoulder your father’s coffin at the age of 14 it sticks with you. You learn to cope but it’s not a life experience I’d recommend to most people.
That said, the family 2 doors up lost their mother in March and they had 11 children ranging from less than 1 year old to 14.
Makes Angela’s Ashes look like a stroll in the park.
The only high point of 1985 took place 2 weeks before my father died.
The Golden Pencil had picked a fight with the class bully in his year. The fight was scheduled for a Friday afternoon in the school handball alley.
After about 5 seconds of this Tyson versus McGuigan bout my brother had managed to get himself into a headlock and was having the shit beaten out of himself.
Now the etiquette of these sorts of fights was that you didn’t intervene as it was a matter of honour between the two in the fight. That said, my brother was not a great judge of his own strength (or lack thereof) and had been fished out of more than one hole by me in the past. (Not that I was any great shakes myself)
Anyway, we’re 5 seconds into the prize fight and thinks are looking bad in the Cronin corner. I decided that the simplest solution was to take matters into my own hands – or onto my own foot. The official store was that I went to knee the other fella in the ribs but he moved and my foot caught him in the face. Full on in the face. 6 stitches to his mouth in the face.
A long weekend of ‘saying nothing’ ensued. this was only brought to a head on Monday morning by the hearty back slapping of the other students telling me I was spot on as he’d had it coming to him for a long time (to be fair he was a bit of a cunt before this and did quieten down for the last 3 years of his time in the school) and the summonsing to the ‘Dean Of Discipline’s’ Office.
My parents were then summonsed to the school and, after a big summit with the headmaster, I escaped a suspension with a ‘full written apology’ to the boy with the sore face.
I remember sitting in the back of the car about a week before my father died. The summer of 1985 had been particularly shit and there had been a great indian summer that year. It was a warm sunny evening and my parents were having an argument about whether what I had done was right or wrong. My mother was basically saying that violence never solved anything and what I had done was wrong. My father said (and I think the Capuchin’s agreed with him) that if you didn’t stand up for your brother you weren’t much good as a person and so what I had done was right.
He told me later that he’d have done the same thing and that I’d done the right thing.
That was 1985.
My last as a child.