Heads or Tails? Fred Paxford, Gunner aged 82.
Hello again! Im not up at the shed today but back at home, Ive just been cleaning out the old pantry. I’m just having a cuppa and a cheese sandwich here at the kitchen table. I was having a moment then started thinking about going in the garden and planning what I will grow this year,a few runners and maybe the old Dorothy Perkins perhaps. I came second in a competition a few years ago for my marrows so I might do a few of them. There’s a nice young family at number 45, and I tend to give them a few veggies as its too much, what with being on me own and all.
My nephew came around yesterday and read me your comments.How nice they were! I did have a rattle as little lad,we all did that went to Highbury in them post war years.Many times I would hear a voice shout out to my Dad “here mate send your son down here” and I would get lifted up and passed overhead from the back where we were standing and pushed to the front so I could see the game clearly. There wasn’t anything suspicious about them blokes, just kind gentlemanly fellows who allowed me to see all the game. I can see them all now, standing there before me, you think its going to stay like that forever, but times soon change.Shocking really.
I went with my old Dad as much as I could.You would have liked him.He fought in the Spanish Civil war but soon transferred as an ambulance driver once he was over there.I dont think he was much a of a fighting man.Went over on next to nothing and came back a different man. Mum went potty, her Dad, my Grandfather had a penny or two, so while Dad was away we were okay.But I dont think my Grandfather approved or ever forgave him. Cut the old man out of his will!
Talking of which, my Dad never did trust that Stalin again,he felt he let the POUMS down and later thought he was nothing but a big blood-thirsty bully.But he stayed a Socialist despite all.Then came the war. He loved Arsenal and followed them until 1971 when he died.He didn’t see the double year though as he passed away in the January.Somewhere we still have a Cup Final ticket from 1927.Dad was pretty upset about that game.He always said” that’ll teach em to wash the bloody shirts before a match!”. Then Dad would smile kindly with a twinkle in his eye and say, “funny that old Dan Lewis being a Welshman and all”. He didn’t mean anything nasty about it though and said he felt sorry for Dan to have to carry all that about for the rest of his life.I think Dad would have had a stern word to say about them AAA types though! They have no dignity in losing. Its like moaning about the rain.Where would we be without the rain?No food that’s for sure! But people seem to demand things these days,and get upset if they dont get what they want.
So my nephew was telling me about this here banner! My word, poor lads really, lucky them who can spend money on that daft thing.But its all perspective really,as my wife Joan would say. Im sure the poor youngsters want to win all the time.Bit potty really as footballs not really like that is it? During my time Ive seen years of barren runs.But we still cheered the Gunners on.I remember us playing Real Madrid,cor we was excited to see them players like Puskas and. Di Stefano.Must have been back in 62 I think. We did pretty well, and at HT everyone was saying “We’ll show them”.Gave us a 4-0 beating!But it was still something special.Not much to get all upset about. You’ve got to savor these moments as they wont come back.
Joan was an marvellous person.She ran the local library, and always had her nose in books.I can still see her sitting in the chair over there, in my mind. Im more a gardener really.Tried me hand at a few watercolours,but only a few landscapes.Not much cop really.But she always encouraged me. Joan and I would sit of an evening looking out over the garden and she having read all them newfangled books on psychology and would be telling me all these new ideas,and I would be telling her about the life cycle of the Barnacle Goose! What a pair we were.You would have liked Joan.
One thing she always said was “use your loaf Fred!”.And would then tell me how to think straight and positive,or to be like a willow tree,you know bend and flex with the winds of change.What can you achieve by getting all upset? “Whats good can often later be bad and vice versa,its always hard to tell” she would say.Quite wise really.I suppose thats what wisdom is.Being smart without all the emotion. I think we need a bit more o that at our club,what do you think? And a bit more of that in our time.
Sometimes I think back to all those players from the past that wont get statues or even acknowledgement,yet they are as much as part as AFC as Henry or Bergkamp. But to the young supporters, they didnt exist.
When I used to get upset about anything in life I always thought of Mr.Rose. Mr.Rose was our neighbour, he and his wife came over from Germany in about ’38 I think.He was a lovely fellow,gentle and kind. Mrs.Rose was a bit hard and quiet,and standoffish I asked Mum and she told me to hush, and that Mrs.Rose was a shy lady that’s all. Well in the Autumn after the war a man came to their house, Dad spoke with him too and said he was a Rabbi who had come with some news.We could hear Mrs.Rose crying day after day.I asked Mum and she told me to hush, but when Dad and I were up on the allotment, he told me. All of Mr and Mrs Roses’ family had been killed in the war in those bloody horrible camps.The kids too. I was sort of stunned and shocked.Dad said “no matter how hard we think our lives are,there’s always somebody worse off”.So thats what I try to think of,you know, have a bit o perspective.Arsenal losing is pretty horrible, or so it seems, but only because we make it so and nothing compared to what the Roses family experienced.So that why I think these AAA types bloody mad as March hares!
Mrs.Rose died of what they called grief in 1949. But Mr.Rose lived on.He wasn’t the same though,he always seemed far away. He died in 1959. My Mum and Dad looked out for him as much as possible.He even came with me and Dad a few times to the Arsenal.And he liked it too.
Well, better get on,its been nice to have a chat again. Let me know if you fancy a natter again sometime.Take care o yourselves! And keep your