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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Local Author Matt Jacobson reflects on a recent trip back to his family home

“In One, Two, Six, I danced my legs down to the knees.”

30 mph, 20 mph, 10 mph and stop, 30 mph, 20 mph, 10 mph and stop. The evening drive with a close friend of mine was full of the ritual of the roads with the car carefully clinging to the tarmac whilst maneuvering around the cars of the city. The journey was planned as “something to do”.  It was Tuesday late afternoon leading to evening and it was cold and raining. But the offer to drive around the city was appealing as I had sat in my flat all day, regularly staring out of the window at the world below. I knew the air outside was there waiting to refresh my skin and bones and I just had to get out of my home. 

Mid journey, my friend informed me she had to drop some birthday cards off at her cousin’s home and asked if it was ok to stop at the house? Of course, I replied. I knew her cousin and a chat would be nice. With time on our side, we made our way around the city and weaved in and out of roads, through traffic lights, past shops, museums, churches, schools, fields, canals, graveyards, garages, retail parks, pubs, clubs and community hubs. 

It was a dark and heavy reflective time for me, but the roads were well lit and traffic was light. ‘Do you remember when?’ was a conversation starter and led to tales and names of the past, then tales and names of the current and possibilities of the future. We chose to listen to the music that had over time gifted us, lifted us and helped us escape from the raw realms of reality. At times, the cars in front seemed to be dancing in unison with the music – they weaved and schemed with lights and indicators translating intentions to each other with a flashing nod and a wink. This was a petroleum party full of enigmatic engines and brave bumpers whizzing by as we pondered life with questions of what if’s and why? 

Local Author Matt Jacobson reflects on a recent trip back to his family home
Matthew Jacobson – Photography by Michelle Marshall

The car made its way to the other side of the city, and I was now in the area I grew up in – with its teasing terraces and working-class voices buoyant and proud, defiant and loud. My friend’s cousin’s house approached, and I noticed an old neighbour walking through the street armed with shopping bags and a whistle that I forever heard and listened to – it glistened the pathways and walkways and the streets were forever grateful. We pulled up and knocked on the door – no answer. We tried again and a phone call was made. “Matt and I are outside the door…. Oh ok, no worries. I’ll post them through the letterbox and see you soon.” I didn’t ask what had happened, but we were back in the car within seconds and off we went. No reason provided other than “She’s in a bloody zoom meeting.” 

The journey continued and we made our way around the streets that entwined with the world around and through it. Each turn gave us food for thought and each thought provided a story and a scene of the past. There’s a magic with memories but I always feel sadness lurking in the dark to nudge you to remember the times you sometimes wish you had forgotten for good; or shelved in the memory cabinet because they hurt too much.  

But on this day, I was glad to be back and point out the mishaps and mayhem of a boy, teenager and adult. For 30 years I lived here, it was all I knew and it knew me well. The car quickly turned left, right and then right and left and in seconds we were at the top of my old road – I sat up straight as I saw the elongated road stretched out in front of me. The long road saw houses on the left and right all lit by lamp posts standing tall with military poise all the way down. The car went slowly along the road and my friend said: “This is your story and your flicker book of the past.” I agreed with an assured nod but with a tear celebrating on the winner’s podium in my eyes.

Matthew Jacobson – Photograph by Michelle Marshall

I can’t explain many things I do in life and on this occasion, it was no different. As the car moved forward, I looked across the street – not looking for people of the past but to focus on individual homes with their gracious gates, fierce fences, raw roofs and cars carefully parked in drives or under brick and makeshift garages. Each house displayed its own story with its owner’s theatre sitting under the sky with its stage set under the stars. A place where a story and lifetime unfolding slowly, or quickly, over a period of time. I watched the house numbers go up from 6 to 30 pretty quickly. From 40 to 80 was slick and then we reached my old house and with arms out wide, I wanted to hug it brick by brick. 

We stopped outside, I felt I could see and hear my old life inside. I felt our world was still continuing even though I had moved on 20 years ago. The past mixed with the current, it swiped right and provided a sucker and sugar punch to the left. There was my life in a concrete box, where the box bedroom rebel invited the world in and then berated its meaning. There was the room where I danced my legs down to the knees with Morrissey, Fury, Presley and the Everly Brothers; where I mapped out a life plan that lasted 27 minutes. Where I observed technology and it laughed in my face; where my useless heart gave a jump start to my life and where the window showed me the world outside and its potential.  But now, it is someone else’s world – please take care of it, love it like I did. It’s just a house I know, but it holds dreams, passions, love and soft serenades that safely secured hearts together. It is a brick box built on dreams, loyalty and voices. As we drove away, I breathed out a hearty sigh. We left house number 126 and sadness hit the senses and a timeline of travailing thoughts triggered my mind and I drowned with images and flashbacks of the past. I can still remember the address, phone number, postcode, steep stairs and the location within the back garden gate with my initials hidden in it. These details are the lyrics of the land, and this home was wrapped up well and it loved me – oh trust me I could tell. House number one, two, six I have something to say, I have something to yell…

One, Two Six

One Two Six  

all of those days  

led to this 

One Two Six 

A door and a gate    

that was never fixed 

One Two Six 

hid nothing  

except stolen  

pick and mix 

One Two Six  

housed my mother’s love  

and I lapped it up  

like only I could 

One Two Six 

my Mum smiled 

 her children played 

the phone rang  

Dad called 

I scratched my arm  

on solid Artex walls 

One Two Six 

bath time, bedtime,  

nursery rhyme  

as my sisters’ permed hair

covered the colourful armchair  

One Two Six 

shouting loud towards busy brothers  

playing Subbuteo alone  

memories of me  

and certainly not others  

One Two Six 

first love and 

candy kisses 

painted goalposts  

penalty misses 

apple tree, apple crumble 

football kits in a bundle 

One Two Six 

housed me, infant to adult   

30 years in one place 

a changing world  

my changing face 

One Two Six 

wasn’t one, two, seven 

or one, two, eight 

or one, two, nine, 

one Two Six 

was just ours – all ours  

and especially mine  

With Love and Peace 

Matt

Matt Jacobson 

Explore Liverpool 

Messages from Matt:

With Love and Peace to all at Christmas.  

Have a lovely time with loved ones

Stay safe, warm and healthy  

and very best wishes for 2022

With a lifetime of thanks and love to

Mr S P Morrissey  

With gold plated thanks to,

The team at Explore Liverpool

Michelle Marshall & Ruby Roo.

Former Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Hazel Williams

Sabine  

“And thank you from the hearts heart for  

all the wonderful feedback over the year,

forever grateful”

Matt  xx

READ MORE: Interview with singer and songwriter Midge Ure

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