After another read through type draft of 1962, I just have a few extras to check and few thousand more words to write.
1962 is the story of Ernest, a teenager with ambition during a time of personal and global adversity. Olympic dreams versus threatened nuclear war.
Ernest lives in Bolton with his mother and Uncle Billy. Rose’s boss, Mr Potts employs Ernest as a delivery boy. Nobody else wanted this job because the route is steep, and the bicycle is heavy. Ernest starts to have cycling ambitions. He has a few problems to overcome, however: lack of money, school bullies, no cycling knowledge, even a teenage love triangle. There is a much bigger problem in the news, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Rose is petrified and tries unsuccessfully to hide this. Ernest only knows about the nuclear situation from overhearing the adults talk. This intensifies Ernest’s ambition because he wants to win a local race (at least) before the world ends. Events conspire against him until Uncle Norman imparts hope, he knows local hero and inspiration Harry Hill the Olympic cyclist.
Without giving too much away, I would like to introduce the characters
Ernest Bradshaw: Age 14 from Bolton lives with his mother and Uncle Billy. He wears glasses. His only interest is cycling. Has not yet noticed teenage girls. He is naive and a daydreamer. Thinks the world is going to end because his mother said so. Idolises his mother.
Rose Constance Bradshaw: Age 44, a greengrocer’s assistant. A single parent, not commonplace in 1962. Has a strong work ethic, tries to instil high standards in Ernest. She is a quiet person, but runs a tight ship at home. Petrified about war, does not fully understand the news. Idolises her son.
William Bradshaw (Uncle Billy) Age 65. Born deaf-mute, retired carpentry assistant. Billy is the surprise supply of generosity in the story. Rose is the only person who understands Billy, and offered him lodgings. He is well loved.
Mr Cecil Potts (Old Potts) Is the son and heir of the local greengrocer. Potts is disappointed in life. He fought in World War II and when he returned, his father ‘promoted him to delivery boy’. He is dismissive of the ‘nuclear’ news. Rose rejected his earlier romantic advances, however he continues to idolise her.
Mrs Smith Middle aged glamorous war widow. One of Ernest’s customers. She takes advantage of the delivery service to increases her “under-the-counter” alcohol intake. She teases Ernest.
Uncle Norman Rose’s wealthy brother in law. A know it all. Owns his own company. He bought the house that Ernest lives in when Ernest’s mother was in financial difficulty. The rent is fair but not subsidised. Sees Rose as an ally, because she still has a shelter in her back yard.
Auntie Mary Rose’s older sister. Realised her ambitions when she married a rich man. Pities Rose. Mary has an ‘outside voice’ that she uses for talking to the neighbours. Mary does not have time to worry about nuclear bombs, she is busy in the garden, which she idolises.
Rusty: Auntie Mary and Uncle Norman’s Red Setter dog. In his old age, he is content with the quiet life and is no longer interested in being scolded for getting his muddy paws on furniture.
Mr Cooley School teacher. Strict and unpredictable. Appears middle aged, is 32. Turns up one day at school unshaven. Gives an unsolicited assembly, educating the pupils about the threat of nuclear war. Buys a Vespa against his wife’s wishes. Becomes an insomniac, spends too much time reading newspapers.
Brian Towers One of Ernest’s customers. Founding member of the East Lancashire International Cycling Club. Formed when ambition motivated Brian to break away from his ‘stuck in the mud’ previous club. Feels the need to fix things for the wife he idolises. Fortunately he does not have to fix the Cuban missile crisis.
Brenda Towers Brian’s wife. Loves cycling so much, they had a cycling themed wedding. No children. Sometimes dismisses her husband, whom she adores. Has ambitions to find and train a female cycling protégé. Provides the cycling club with flasks of tea. Thinks the threat of nuclear war is ‘nothing to do with us’.
Christopher Cunliffe Ernest’s teenage friend. Member of the cycling club. Had an accident resulting in brain damage. Wears a rubber helmet. Despite almost full recovery, he has some personality changes and is now home schooled. Wishes that Ernest would shut up about the war. Becomes jealous of Ernest when Janet fancies him.
Janet Dootson Reluctant member of the cycling club. Initially a loner, obsessed with the Cuban missile crisis news. Considers campaigning, but not sure how. Belittles other appearance-obsessed girls. Brenda Towers sees potential in her as a cyclist. One third of the teenage love triangle. Suffers unrequited love for Ernest.
Cynthia Crosby Works at the same place as Rose, is a workplace bully and makes her life a misery. Her husband is a petty criminal. She bullies her son, Mark, who in turn becomes a school bully. Christine steals vegetables from work.
Mark Crosby Schoolboy. A bully who adheres to an unspoken hierarchy. Initially teases Ernest, then views him differently after an incident with Mr Cooley. He steals from Ernest. Wets himself with fear in the ‘nuclear’ assembly. Gets confused between capitalists and communists.
The Benson Twins Mark Crosby’s gang. Identical twin boys who say very little, but are subservient to Mark. They are larger physically than Ernest, but are the same age. Known to the local police.
Two women in the corner cottage Ernest’s customers. Gossiped about in the village. No one knows if they are sisters, mother and daughter, or lovers.
Harry Hill: Real life Local cycling hero, Olympian whom Ernest idolises. Also Christopher thinks he sees him in the crowd when they are competing in the junior Manchester and district road race.
Edith Piaf Real life French singer whom Rose idolises. She cannot sing herself, and imagines that if they had met they would have been friends. Rose imagines herself asking Edith Piaf for advice.
Miss Little: Janet’s games teacher who reports Janet for being ‘insolent’ when she refuses to play hockey. Janet suggests that her class should be worrying about nuclear war, instead of playing hockey.
Rita and Elaine:Two girls at Janet’s school who cannot understand why Janet is refusing to play hockey. They have no idea what the Cuban missile crisis is.
Mr and Mrs Dootson Janet’s parents. Buy lots of newspapers. Janet’s mother is mostly interested in competing with her friends in the women’s circle.
Paranoid Percy: Is worried that he is going to be recalled to the army and sells his racing bike to Ernest.
Copyright Samantha Henthorn 2017
Hoping for a September release. Happy Thursday, Samantha 🙂