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About

Well, Deb just told me I have to write an “About” page for this new website and to be honest I’m not really sure where to start…

She put this photo of me with some of my pals from when I was evacuated to South Wales during World War II, that’s me 2nd from the right, the only one wearing a tie I might point out!

That photo was taken a LONG, LONG, time ago by anyone’s standards, but it makes me realise I might actually be getting to be, what some people think of as old!

The picture on the home page is what I look like these days, that was taken standing on the back deck at our house in Virginia. So now you know what I look like now and what I looked like when I was about 7, where do I go from there?

I was born in Liverpool the sixth child in a family that would eventually have 10 children. People had big families back in those days, I suppose there was no telly and no one had enough money to go out drinking and socialising like they do today, but when they did, that’s probably how they ended up with so many kids.

Anyway, I was evacuated during World War II, as part of Britain’s Operation Pied Piper, a wartime program initiated to get women and children away from the cities which were of course major bombing targets for the Nazi luftwaffe.

I was evacuated to South Wales at the age of six and had a bit of a rough time to start with. Things got a lot easier once I was taken in by the Williams family a couple of years later, but if you’re interested in that you can read a lot more about that part of my life on the website for my book Before The Last All Clear. So I won’t go into it in any more detail here.

When my family finally moved back to Liverpool at the end of the war, the city was devastated with bombed out buildings and whole areas that had just been reduced to rubble during the air raids. Eventually we were able to settle back into a routine and life went on.

I finished school (not a day too soon for me) and went to work at a series of jobs, until I got fed up being what my Dad called a “money-maker (meaning making it for other people) instead of making money for myself” and I decided to start my own business.

It took a number of tries at different things and eventually I sort of fell into the “Marks & Sparks Seconds” business in the mid sixties just as it was all really starting to take off.

I’ve been told by people who should remain nameless (but who’re mentioned at the beginning of this post), that I’m a “clothes horse” and that comes from having spent years feeling like I had to beg for clothes, food and a roof over my head. So I suppose it does make sense that I would be a bit preoccupied with clothes (and pork pies, so she says). Anyway, I apparently put the clothes horse “fault” to work for me, as I ran that business along with my wife Lilian for 34 years until we retired and moved over to America to be closer to Deb.

The majority of our family still live in England, most of them around Liverpool and Manchester (although we don’t allow them to support Man. Utd – that would just be too much to put up with!) and we come back as often as possible to visit.

The first thing I do when we hit the ground at Manchester airport, is usually ask to go somewhere we can get a pork pie and a proper cup of tea with digestive biscuits! Funny the things you miss when you’re an ex-pat.

I do like to stay up to speed on how Liverpool FC are doing and my Twitter pals help me with that. I have a friendly feud going on with my neighbor here because he’s a Man Utd fan, but other than that he’s a nice guy so I don’t hold it against him. I mean, you can’t really, he’s used to watching that other version of “football” where they all wear a ton of padding like a bunch of wusses trying to play rugby without getting hurt. When you look at it that way, how would he know any better? So he’s excused.

I’m just about getting finished with the final draft of “All I Want Is A Peaceful World & A Pork Pie!” It’s a follow up to Before The Last All Clear, it picks up the story of what happened after the war, and how my evacuation experiences “set me up” really, to want to be and eventually I did become my own boss (and I have the wife’s permission to say that :) )

So that pretty much brings you up to date. Now that the second book is almost done and will be published here shortly, I’m looking forward to being able to write shorter projects, Deb tells me they’re called “blog” posts. But the main thing is I’ll get to write about whatever crosses my mind or interests me and stays in there long enough to type it in and publish as a blog post.

I’m looking forward to it. I’ve gathered a few friends on The Twitter and Facebook so I’m looking forward to swapping stories and Manc jokes with Scousers and anyone else with a sense of humor or an interest in following my ramblings.

I’m hoping you’ll stick around so we can enjoy this latest journey together…
All the best,

Ray-w-friends