Thursday, August 6, 2009

Can I ask you a really personal question.....?


Debbies old steed

It was the third Christmas do since I started at Winterhill that I first really spoke to Debbie. I was wandering around being a nosey git and talking to people that you don't usually get time to talk to at work. It's interesting talking to different people, finding out their interests and hobbies and about their families and just getting to know a bit more about someone who you pass in the corridor most days. Sometimes it leads to a similar interest (motorbikes in this case) or sometimes it allows a link between departments that you hadn't seen or been able to use before.

Anyhow I'd plonked myself down at Debbies table and was chatting and watching the world go by. We'd talked before but not at length, Debbie is a teaching assistant who accompanies some of the more difficult students, an incredible assett to my lessons. She's one of those very patient people but unlike some she won't be messed about and you'll know very clearly when she's not happy! Debbie also works closely with the students in the centre, who are on modified timetables or go out to do more practical learning, so you often see her out in rigger boots and a Hi Viz jacket taking a group of lads out to build a wall or a path or something.

All I knew was that her son and daughter were at the school and she had a flair for art and design, I'd seen her sketching in some of my lessons. Anyway late in the evening I find she has a passion for motorbikes and travel and for workign hard as the teaching assistant job wasn't her only one.

We had a great chat and laughed at people embarrasing themselves and getting drunk and that was that. We finished for Christmas and she went and did family things in Rotherham and I did family things in Sheffield and Wales.

So the first Monday back, hmm don't like mondays but they happen every week and this year I had a couple of free periods first thing so it softened the blow considerably. Sat there working on my computer and the door opens, "Oh hello, have a nice christmas?" without looking up it was going to be the right question whoever was there......

Debbie seemed distracted but said she'd had a good one but "Can I ask you a really personal question?"...... Now it's not the usual monday morning greeting and if I wasn't happily married and had been drunk at the Christmas do then I'd be worried!

How personal could it be? It can't be that bad can it? "Yes if you want to, I may not answer it though!"

"Are you Derek Hart's son?" Now unfortunately I heard Eric Hart, so after a little clarification we came to Derek. "No, not me, why?"

"Oh I just wondered, having talked to you at Christmas I was just wondering." Debbie looked disappointed at this but not worried.
"Was his brother Roger and did he live on ******* Lane in Sheffield?"
"How did you know that?"
"He was my uncle."
"What do you mean he WAS your uncle." Debbie hadn't said why the question but now picked up and the terminology I used.
"Oh he died a couple of years ago. Why do you ask about Derek?"

"He was me dad!" Came the showbiz bombshell! Not what I was expecting in any shape or form.

It turns out uncle Derek had been a little, busy, in his past and had been sharing the love with Debbies mum. Once Debbie was more than a twinkle in an eye Derek upped and offed and went back to being less generous with his love, as far as we know!

So I started the day having three cousins on my dad's side and was to end it with four. On the phone to mum at break time, "just been talking to a cousin of ours" "Which one, Alison?" "Nope" "Paul" "Nope" "Joanne" "Nope" "Well we haven't got any more cousins." "Well we have now!"

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