The residents of Penwinnard Boys’ Home are boys from eleven to eighteen who do not have a home, some because they have lost their parents, others because their parents are unsuitable, violent or criminal or maybe drug addicts.
Christmas tends to be a mixture of joy and wistfulness. Boys go missing at Christmas more often than at other times of the year. In ‘You Gotta Have Manners,’ Barry goes looking for his father but can’t find him.
Sid hurried after Bob, sometimes trotting to keep up. Bob tolerated him, but wouldn’t go slow just because his legs were shorter. He said he needed the exercise, and being inside was driving him berserk. They both wore heavy parkas and both wore the hoods up, though the rain was currently not much more than a dampness in the air. They were on the cliff-top path, and beneath them, the sea churned, angry and a bleak grey. It seemed months since they’d seen it blue. The wind was bitter.
In the Penwinnard dining room, Helen MacKender arranged the score of gifts under the Christmas tree. She’d chosen each one as best she could. The boys may have been dirty and rough and noisy, but she did care about them – just that she preferred them not too close. She’d be having dinner there with her husband, though she seldom did normally. It was she who’d decreed that they were never to help in food preparation. She didn’t trust their hygiene.
These excerpts are from the book 'You Gotta Have Manners.' Christmas was eventful, as it
often is. A new boy who had just lost his family in a car accident, two teenagers whose whole family had been brawling, their father imprisoned and their mother in hospital, and Sean and Zeke, who took off for the place they wanted to live, to the ones they wanted to be Mum and Dad.
|This is Rob, skateboard king.|
So for all of you who have a family and for all of you who don't, make the best of it. It only comes once a year.
Christmas and a Happy New Year.