A Letter to Sheffield – Land of my Birth

So, I came home from school one day and I said ‘hello peeps’ to my mom and sister and they took it. All credit to them, they didn’t bat nothing that needed batting. It was only later that the kickback started. And boy was it fierce!

It started with my mom sitting on the sofa. I remember that clearly. Kinda. My memories are like sepia-coloured washed-out things so that when I look back at the scene everything is brown and my mom’s clothes blended into the sofa cover and the cushions and the carpet and the curtains. I guess you get the idea. Anyway, when I greeted her with my now established (yeah, two days was the basis of establishment back then) greeting she said ‘don’t call us peeps’.

I told her it was just a thing that everyone (a couple of kids (probably budding socialists when I think about it now) I hung around with) at school were saying and that it didn’t mean anything and in my mind I said ‘it’ll pass in a couple of days’ but before I had chance to say that she just said ‘doesn’t matter; we’re not peeps.’

See. I told you it was fierce.

And so I brooded. And then I left home (four years later). And then I left Sheffield (fourteen years after that). You might say that these things aren’t related at all, but isn’t everything joined together in one way or another? Isn’t this a connected world? Or is that a new thing. Yeah, that’s a rhetorical question; don’t even think about answering it.

So, zoom to the future that’s now.

I’m at the dining room table. Sure we have a study here in this house on a peaceful cul-de-sac (that’s French for closed bag don’chya’know) in a quiet suburban district here in York, but my beautiful wife has claimed that and so it’s in the dining room that I ply my trade. And, guess what. I’m missing Sheffield. Just a little, but enough. Someone’s always saying something that reminds me of summat or other and so stuff pops into my head. Like now.

I have a billion and six connections with you, fair Sheffield. I haven’t counted them but here are more neurons within my brain than there are atoms in the known universe and so there’s bound to be bits and bobs in here that are worth sharing with you. Because actually – you are my true peeps. You are lying, kneeling, sitting, standing and generally milling-around-looking-at-your-phones in the place where I came from and where I hope to return to at some point, even if it’s only for a flying visit. But for now, the things I’ll scribble down here will be my connections to y’all. Happy reading. Unless you’re crying, in which case: buck up, my friend – it’ll pass.

Okay, I don’t think that was very good so let’s erase and rewind. Go again, Robert:

I came home from school one day and called my parents Peeps. Just like that I said ‘Hello Peeps.’ No expression on their faces. They just took it. I was past them and halfway up the stairs before they had chance to say anything back to me. They probably didn’t bother saying anything. No point. I wouldn’t have heard anyway.

Days later came the fightback. I remember that my mum was sat on the sofa that’s the colour of old photographs in my memory. I said the usual and she said ‘don’t call us peeps’. I blinked. Twice. Then I tried to explain about how everyone called everyone peeps these days. She said it didn’t matter because she just didn’t like it. So I stopped.

Four years later I left home and fourteen years after that I left Sheffield.

You’ll probably be thinking to yourself that these things just aren’t related, but everything is joined to everything, right. It’s a wired-up, connected, always on world so far as I can figure out. Me being here in York and thinking about you there in Sheffield makes that true, right?

Apparently (and don’t question me on this because I haven’t counted) there are more connections in my brain than there are atoms in the known universe (and I haven’t counted those either before you ask). That says to me that there are stories to tell and tales to be sold. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell you stories about the connections between here and there; between the cities of York and Sheffield.

It’s my fault that I’m living here, seperated from my hometown. It’s totally up to me to mend the fences that stop me from coming back for more than a quick visit. If you’ll bear with me I’ll tell you some of them. And I promise that they’ll mean something to you. Because, when dusk darkens to night and we sit back to enjoy the stars: you’re a part of me. You’re the ones who raised me and sent me out into the world. And you are the reason I’m here, now, connecting back.

Anyway, enough of this maudlin stuff. For now I’ll leave you with this: be safe and continue to be kind. You’re my peeps.

Better, Robert. Much better.

4 thoughts on “A Letter to Sheffield – Land of my Birth

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