Came the dawn : memories of a film pioneer (1951)

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that 1 met my one and only real school chum, a wild Irish boy named Jim Flanagan. We were always together and our talks were of all sorts of things; chiefly girls, but that was later on. It was at this school that I first became conscious of my inveterate and incurable shyness which was to be one of the banes of my existence. I was too shy and nervous to go into the playground with the other boys and used to skulk in the empty classroom, preten- ding to study. This was the negative side of my education. It's a pity I wasn't driven out to play; I should have made a better film-producer afterwards. From about this time the family seems to have quieted down to a comparatively settled existence. It made another move, this time to 45, St. Augustine's Road, still a little nearer to the coveted Camden Square, and meanwhile increased its numbers—after a long interval—by another girl and a boy. The boy, being the last of the line, was so terribly spoiled by his doting mother that all the others disliked him intensely and he ultimately went abroad and after a few letters, disappeared and could never be traced. The rest of us, including the youngest girl, Kitty, are all very good friends after our turbulent youth and meet very happily whenever we can. Jim Flanagan's widowed mother had a house a little larger than ours and actually in Camden Square. That may have prompted her to like to be known as Mrs. O'Flanagan, for which there appeared to be no other justification. With this little touch of pardonable pride she was a kind and very pleasant lady, and she had a very nice little girl, named Nita, with whom brother Jim quarrelled and fought most happily. It is possible that they even had a bathroom in their big house, but of that I never heard. Nice people were careful not to mention such things to their less affluent neighbours. The still rather unpleasant youth who is the centre figure of this story was moved to a new school at Hillmartin Crescent, Jim Flanagan remaining behind at the old one. Here again, 'play- ground funk' seems to have been his principal characteristic, coupled with most assiduous inattention to lessons. He had two slight excuses: hopeless at arithmetic, 'figure-blind' as some people are tone-deaf, and with an all-absorbing home interest in 'inven- tions,' photography, electricity and heaven knows what besides. His mother complained that it was almost impossible to get him in to meals or to bed or anything. His homework was the despair 23