Ringo - My Next Door Neighbour
by Cathy Myles
(North West, England)
I grew up living next door to Ritchie Starkey (Ringo Starr), I remember my mum banging on the wall with her shoe when he was practising in the back bedroom. I used to get sixpence from his Mum...Aunty Elsie, for scrubbing her front step and polishing the windowsill on Saturday mornings.
Ritchie was mates with my brother Eddy Myles, (it annoys me that his name is often mis spelt as Miles in the biographies) and they played in a skiffle group together. Ringo took my parents and older sister to the airport in his first car when she left for America with her new husband who was in the USAF. This was to be the last time my sister saw our father.
Aunty Elsie and my Mum were good friends and when The Beatles became too famous for them to stay in their tiny house, me and my Mum went on the bus to visit her and 'Uncle Harry in their posh new house in Woolton, I remember my Mum laughing on the way home saying 'Elsie will never change...she still has the sterilised milk bottle on the dining table in her posh new house.
I remember our tiny street being full of fans/journalists/camera crews and being filmed by a German television crew walking down the street with Aunty Elsie just because I was the kid next door.
One night, I crept down the stairs having heard voices and saw Ringo, his face all yellow with Panstick stage make up. The Beatles had played the Liverpool Empire for the first time and he had to escape quickly by taxi because of the fans. When he got home his Mum and Dad were still at the pub and he had no key so my Mum had let him in.
I met the other Beatles too, sat on Paul McCartneys knee and had a chip off his plate. George was friendly but I felt as a 9 year old that John didn't particularly like kids lol....aloof I guess.
Ringo had borrowed eggs off my Mum and cooked them egg and chips. Ringo spoke with my brother a few times after they became huge...my brother played guitar in country bands in Liverpool all of his life and I think he and Ritchie shared similar tastes in music in their youth.
John Lennon is reported to have told George Harrison when my brother was onstage....If you can play like that...you're in. Ritchie was at my brothers wedding. Sadly Eddy died a few years back, his funeral was full of musicians. Looking back, Liverpool was an exciting pretty special time to grow up in in the early 60's.
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