This is a bit of my present project. Organizing Hayes family pictures along with history and stories. Bob Hayes is Sammy’s – my husband’s – little brother. He was here last week so I got some information and memories from him.
ROBERT (BOB) HAYES, son of Thomas and Flo Hayes, born August 1, 1940, Liverpool, England. He was born at home with a midwife’s help. He was one month old when the Blitz began, so his first ten months were in the heat of war – London and Liverpool bombings by the Germans.
BOB’S STORY: I remember my first day of school vividly. In my mind I see big sister, May, taking me to Anfield Road school and leaving me. I was about six. I loved school. They were strict. There was no talking. The headmaster would stand at the top of the stairs (second floor) and watch for the ones who came in late. He would take them straight to the office for whacks on the hand with a cane about five feet long! Two strikes on each hand. We had to adhere to the tough rules. But I loved it. – Sammy said he and his friend would pull out a hair to lay across their hands so “it didn’t hurt” so bad. A common myth.
Sammy told about an incident when he and a friend were taken for whacks. Sammy said he was glad he went first, because when Mr. Eaves hit his buddy’s hand the buddy jerked his hand back and Mr. Eaves hit his own leg with the second whack. It made him mad and he really gave extra hard whacks to the boy’s legs as he was hurrying to get out of there. (Sammy and Bob had the same headmaster at Anfield Road School.)
At about eight, my sister, Esther, would have been ten, we would take the bus, double decker, train, ferry and go everywhere. We ferried across the Mersey River to pick up bags of cockles to take them home. There were lots of them when the tide went out. Mom would boil them in milk. The milk was kept cool in the coal cellar.
We would just take off and go. To this day I don’t remember how we got the money for the fare. Mom was always busy. She had a kind of clothes washer pot in the house where she sometimes did laundry. Other times she walked down the street to the wash-house. Esther and I would sit in the window and listen for her footsteps on the cobbles. We always knew her steps so we were ready when she got home. Home was 79 Coniston Street, in Liverpool.
I was always interested in joining the Merchant Marines. I would go to the Sea Scouts. (A preparatory club for boys.) That was one of the things I did on my own; my folks probably didn’t know.
Bob Hayes, U S Marine, 1959-1965