Back when I was four years old I lived in Nayland Road… opposite the off-licence… amongst the bugs. I had a brother and a sister before me… we finished up with eight at intervals… we were the frontrunners. I didn’t get on well with any of my brothers or sisters. I was a loner and I still am a loner. My mates used to call me Snedge and Dad called me Percy… I don’t know why. I have one name and that’s Nelson and I can see myself in that name all the way. Now what was I saying?
Oh yes… first memories… stealing matches from the tobacconist… a wallop for trying to get one over on my dad.
Back then overcrowding was getting very bad. You could sit in the front room and watch rats eating the rubber off your bike tyres. The bugs were bad enough. I used to go to bed at night and wake up because of the smell from the bugs.
I’d play with matches in the street. My friends the bugs were enjoying themselves… I say jokingly about squashing bugs but you could walk in any house and smell the bugs back then… and the only way to get at them was knock holes in the wall… put paraffin in and burn them out… that’s what I was trying to say… and that’s what they did at the bottom part of the road… burned the bloody houses down killing the bugs. Then we got into paradise… a garden… a swing… really great fun.
My father worked as a coalman in the winter and a builder’s labourer, when he could get a job, in the summer and that wasn’t easy for him… he’d been run over by a traction engine on Kilburn High Street when he was a kid and left with half a leg… all the muscles torn away. He gave us a bloody good upbringing as best he could.
He was still very, very strong… he hid his pains from us kids. We didn’t realise what was wrong with him. I remember when it all went wrong… when he went down to Willesden Green. All of a sudden he said, “It’s my back”… he comes out of the doctor’s crying… a big strong man crying… “It’s over,” he said, “I’ve got to give up work.” He wouldn’t do it… he wouldn’t resign. He was in with his governor a hell of a time… he came out and says, “I’m sacked. You’re going to have to look after your mother. I’ll never find another job.” He reaches out for his emergency key to his old Bedford coal lorry… he’d given his other one back to his governor, and he puts it in his pocket… and then he gets in the lorry and tears off, hell for leather at a brick wall. I said, “Dad stop. Let me get out. I don’t want to die even if you do.” He didn’t know what to do… there weren’t even enough jobs for the soldiers coming back after the war.
I was in church, believe it or not, when the siren went for the first time… I was nine years old when the war started… nine years and one day. We all had to run home in our choirboy clothes. I got caught nicking half a crown out of my mother’s purse so my mother made me go to church as punishment. I got to hear through the school grapevine that this priest had run off with somebody’s wife… a couple of days before, he’d made me kneel down and pray for forgiveness for nicking half a crown… all this bloody hallelujah with his hand over my head, telling me that I’m a bad son. I go home and tell my mother that there’s to be no more choir for me. You used to get a halfpenny a time and I’d rather earn it selling knocked-off crisps... I said to my dad, what’s worse, me running off with half a crown or him running off with somebody else’s wife? You’d go in the priory church on a Sunday and you could smell the drink on him from the doorway… enough to get drunk on the fumes… true story.
I was never out of trouble and I’ll admit it… I used to bunk off to Hampstead Heath to scrump apples. I missed two years officially but adding all the days up that I bunked off… maybe another year or more. I’m sorry for that now ’cos my reading and writing is not all that good. God I was stupid, I used to say that I was going to be evaporated… like the milk… evaporated out of the bombing… evacuated milk.
From the day war started my enjoyment was to sit and watch the aeroplanes… the sirens didn’t mean a thing to me… my mother didn’t know where I was half the time. I used to bunk off school and go up to the Ferrari Garage to help the Americans for cigarettes. And there was only one thing the Americans were interested in and that wasn’t such a long word as chocolate… mind you, we were just as bad.
The Americans brought guns and nylons to bribe their way… that was the first present I ever gave my girlfriend… I got a pair of nylon stockings from a Canadian for cleaning his engines. There were places my small fingers could reach and big fingers couldn’t. I was on the protection racket… we made good use of the shelters… my girlfriends said, “Don’t bring me any trouble over here”… in other words don’t make me pregnant or we’ll both be slung out.
We had three or four months of bombing, but when you’re a child you don’t realise time… a long time. And you can’t tell me that they were bombing women and children… no such thing… if you study the map of the area you’ll see that where we lived had a factory and a railway… a bridge across the Lane. If they could have hit that bridge it would have stopped all the traffic going to Birmingham. The nearest they got was the waste ground… there was a bomb there that owes my dad a shilling… because my dad couldn’t stand a lot of damp… but this was before the Anderson Shelters ever come. I could take you and near enough follow the line of bombs… we had the engine sidings for trains to be cleaned… then we had Handley Page’s, Rolls Royce… and one or two other small firms… but that’s the main route… a straight line of bombs. What else do you want to know?
DC. About the bomb that owes your dad a shilling.
Yes. My dad used to sleep in the chair downstairs… not the shelter because of his leg… the shelter was too damp. We had a great big long table and the children used to sleep underneath that. Dad was sitting in an armchair. Somehow he caught the hot light bulb between his legs when the bomb brought the ceiling down… he soon dropped it… he always said that bomb owes him a shilling for the bulb… that was the way you had to be… make a joke of everything.
There was this bloke used to go down to the market on a horse and cart… I used to hear him go to market because he’d had too much to drink. On a Friday night, if he was sober, he used to give me the key to his lock- up. I used to wash his celery ready for the morning. His name was Bill Creek and did he fight with his wife… what! His wife ran the greengrocers… they couldn’t get within ten yards of each other… he stopped going to the market and doing the rounds because a kid crawled under the cart for an apple and the horse bolted. It ran over the kid and killed him. Funnily enough they took Sid to the psychiatric hospital to see if he’d been drinking… or how much he’d been drinking… he was exonerated completely but it did for him.
I couldn’t work for him any more so I started working for Smith’s Crisps doing deliveries. I could open the lid of the tins and put the lid back so you’d never see it… get your fingernail under the edge of the tin lid and you’d split the seal. Have some of the crisps out and seal it back up again.
I can tell you one story… we pulled up at this pub… the White Horse… I don’t know if it was arranged or not but the landlord is as drunk as a skunk… he’s got this big bag with him… God, he was drunk… he gets in the lorry… my mate’s the driver… I’m sitting on the engine cover… he pulls out a whisky bottle… it’s going round and round… and my mate is getting as drunk as him… we pull into Smith’s garage… this chap disappears with his bag… I’m falling about all over the place… next day… I’m feeling a bit rough… I’m on the bus reading a newspaper someone left on the seat… it was in the papers that the landlord up at the White Horse had done a bunk with all the money… the police were after him… they had no idea how he got away. What the hell was I to do? I’d have been right in it ’cos no one liked Nelson.
One day when I turned up at work they all said, “We thought you were dead.” They were practically having a party. “Thanks very much”, I said. Apparently there was this bloke smuggled crisps out of Great Yarmouth… he’d come down to London and a rocket hit his car… it blew the crisps all over the place… all the kids had free crisps. Nothing left of him at all, so they thought it was me, up to no good… I got fed up with it, “We all thought you were dead.” It did my reputation no good so I volunteered for the navy.
I joined at Corsham on the 8th of September… had two weeks basic, then went out to the training ships in Portland Harbour. I was going to replace some of the crew on an old battlewagon in the KG5 class. I went up-river then, all of a sudden, my feet started swelling up… now I don’t know whether I picked up a bug from the so-and-so radio operator but he had the same thing… they sent me back to Gravesend to give me a check… they couldn’t see anything physically to cause it… the swollen feet went away… they sent me back… same thing happened again… the swollen feet came back. I never got over it. They discharged me and I cried like a baby. I would have loved the Navy life, but there you are. I never got my chance to be a navy hero.
I went back and worked with my dad… he was a coal-man so I had to be a coalman… away we were… not the life I’d choose but there were always ways and means of getting by. My old man could bring in a lorry load of coal, take one look at it and have five hundred weight of coal off it for himself without anyone catching on… never leave himself open to prosecution but that’s a different story and I’ll not tell you about that.
When war broke out it all seemed normal for a while then all of a sudden after Dunkirk… that’s when it got rough. I walked past… me and my mate… he’s dead now… unlucky… he got caught when he tipped over a tractor… I’d been to get the stale bread from the shops and I’m coming back… and I thought, funny what’s that train doing there… in the sidings? This would be the first… because they wouldn’t normally stop… but then you saw it… after Dunkirk… the tiredness on the soldiers’ faces on the train. Looking out the windows. I ran home and told my dad… he said that when I see another train, he said, “Cross over the road. Don’t look. Walk away.”
I don’t know why Hitler stopped, he had us beat… don’t ever forget that this country, the people here, we were fighting on our own. “We’ve gone”, my dad said. I remember he kept a small hammer from the coal yard in his lorry. He said it was to break up a bit of coal every now and again… I knew he was lying… he was expecting to fight. People tried to get on with life but you could sense a fearful change… and they took it out on the Italian prisoners of war… they used to put bottles in the crates for the milkmen to deliver. When anyone saw them with an English woman, they’d go mad. I know two Italians were caught on the waste ground… there were two dead found… beaten to death… nothing in the papers… everything denied… we didn’t care about them. Day after day you could see the trains coming in with the blinds closed… coming in on the old LMS line… the North London Line now… injured British soldiers coming back after Dunkirk… who cares about two Italians? It was a shambles. People were still being given a broomstick for rifle drill… I used to go to school with one bloke, Tusky we called him. His father was a right glory boy… a little Hitler the way he treated Jimmy. When it was time to go home Jimmy used to go white… you should have seen his old man striding about… he looked like a clown to anyone else. If Hitler had carried on we’d have been taken to pieces. I tell you what saved this country… a few scatty airmen… sailors with the sea at their hearts… and the public. My brother was in the RAF… a Brylcreem Boy… I wish he were here now… I do, honest. I’d say I was sorry.
People here don’t realise what it was like. I just had to open my eyes and even I could see there were ten thousand missing after Dunkirk. There was Freddie, this dopey bloke next door… a bit older than my brother… he got shot on D-Day. They were all let down… the navy done their whack… they couldn’t get nearer to the beach… that’s why the little boats were drawn in… and then there was that great big fuck-up with two French rescued for every English soldier. It was a miracle so many were saved. I hate the French for it.
You can’t describe the feeling in London or in any big city… we’d not had anything like it. I was scared out of my wits. Sometimes you’d see a bomb land and one wall would quiver and come down and another would quiver and go back… no reason to it… just pure luck who died and who came through. I remember our next- door neighbour, Freddie’s mother, being killed by a lump of water pipe… a piece of pipe spinning up through the ground… wrapped itself round her neck and took her head off.
There are these historians now… I get slagged off in here because all I talk about is the war and the taxis… that’s all I know anything about. The way you’ve got to look at it is everybody forgets and you’re left with so much propaganda. They’ve got their stories all worked out. It’s all a scam. Even at the time I didn’t believe half what was written in the papers.
One place got hit by a V-2… it was like an express train coming out of the sky… everyone was told that an aeroplane crashed with the bombs still on it… but it was one of the first V-2s to come down… there was a complete shutdown on it in the papers… two streets at a crossroads and it completely engulfed the lot of them. My dad was in the hotel as usual… and… as I was saying my dad was in the chapel… the pub… all of a sudden there was this crrrrrrr in the sky… and red it was… and the next thing we knew half of West Hendon was flat. The official line was that it was a aircraft returned from the air raids misjudged his distance and dropped all of his return bombs there… but it was too much damage. They denied it but the kids ran down to see it and that created more gossip. People told each other, “Go down and see it. It’s not right.”
I remember one woman… I used to deliver her papers… there was a hell of a bombing that night… next day there she was sitting outside the bombed shop with a table… a Union Jack stuck in on a pole… a few packets of cigarettes, rations she’s found strewn about. “Down but not out,” that’s what she said. People stuck together in adversity… you had Lords and Ladies… if they lived in a bombed area… well, while the soldiers were clearing the debris, they’d be giving out the tea. Us kids used to love it… we used to go round picking up the shrapnel… and if you got a nose cap of the shell you were a king… I had two. My brother, he found a bit of an oil bomb… ’cos what they used to do was drop the oil bombs in front of the incendiaries… soon as you see that, then all the fire watchers would know what was coming… and I did the fire watching because my dad worked for the coal firm… he had to do it but I wanted to. If they’re still trying to bomb me into submission they’ve done the wrong thing.
DC. Where were you?
In a stable! They had a horse to pull the coal trolley round the streets… he was in the stable so we had to go in the stable to guard the bloody horse… kick, kick on the floor all night… bloody horse. All the employees had to take a fire watching ticket. What was daft was that everyone was given a bed so we’d all be asleep anyway… but honestly an incendiary fire was bad… they say now that you could put it out but you couldn’t… they were rough… we used to ask the firemen how many people got killed and… “You don’t want to know son. You don’t want to know”… I said to one of them fireman… “Those incendiary bombs don’t half smell.” He said, “That ain’t the incendiary bombs, son.” We knew then what it was… burnt flesh and carbide.
DC. It’s hard for me to imagine. I’m sure some of these memories must stay with you all the time.
No they don’t… if they did my wife would be a wreck… for two years, near enough twenty-four hours a day she was hiding in the caves… it’s all stone… instead of going down the blast went outwards… it sort of softened the blow… but she had two and half years of bombing… that’s why they got the George Cross… they were ready to surrender… they couldn’t take it any more… no food… bombing. She lived underground. Even her school was under the rock. One of her school friends won a prize at school and he was so happy he ran out to take it home and got killed instantly by a bomb… she saw it. She talks about Malta all the time now. She keeps on asking me if I sleep well with all the noise… half a dozen times over the same question. What bloody noise?
A lot of what she talks about now is Malta. She’s got dementia now. She started to run away… she always seems to want to get outside. If she’d stayed in we would still have been together but she had to get out of the house. She ran away from the hospital after she had her stroke. When the police picked her up she said that she wanted a lift home in the police car… they said that if she gets out she won’t know where she is and she might have an accident, well there was no way could I see that happening. I never saw it coming. She had a slight stroke… she’d been upstairs and when she came down she said, “Everything went black. Now I can’t see properly.” The doctors did what they could but they just seemed to want to get her off the streets. The family couldn’t help… she drove them all potty when I was in hospital yet she could sit down and talk to you about the things that happened in Malta when she was a child better than I can remember yesterday.
I try to visit her every week. We can sit and talk and she may miss a bit… she’ll say, “Nelson, what was all that about?” But that’s normal… we all forget things… I’m hoping it’ll all come back… that she’ll come out of it and pull herself together. I can’t pin too much hope on it… that she’ll get better now… but she actually remembered something the other day and I was over the moon… I forget now what she remembered… I’m not being funny but I think I’m getting my spells of not being able to remember.
I met Betty on a taxi rank near an all night café called the Little Londoner… where all the layabouts used to go. She used to help collect for the homeless, “Any pennies for the homeless?” she says. I gave her a note. The taxi in front was just moving off and she didn’t have change… I said, “I can’t wait, look, they’re going.” The next day one of the drivers said, “Betty wants to see you tomorrow. It’s important.” Turns out she wanted me to find a silver rosary her cousin left in one of the cabs. I took her home and with that we started going out. She proposed to me on the bridge over Camden Lock. I told her mother that although I was only a taxi driver, while I’ve got two hands she’ll never go hungry and she’ll never want. She has her moods now with the dementia but I still can’t see such a big change in her… Sunday she was in a mood… I’m her grandfather and this, that and the other… it’s not too bad… I love her and that’s all I care about.
Since I’ve come in here I’ve been thinking a lot about the time when I was evacuated… God, I wish I could meet that lorry driver again… I’d like to shake his hand. I know it’s impossible but I do… honest. A lot of people didn’t want to go… it was the luck of the draw and we happened to get this farmer in Huddersfield… not all that far from London… stupid, unless the farmers were short of labour… possible fun and games. His son used to lay in the bed… so there’s me and my mate George just arrived… and the farmer says, “Time you was in bed. Milking in the morning.” He was a right git.
On the first day the farmer got us... me and Georgie Webb was my best mate… he got killed by turning himself over in a tractor… silly sod... the farmer got us up at five in the morning to milk the cows. What the hell did I know about milking a cow? I was off on the back of a lorry the next day. We sneaked out of the farm first thing next morning. There were a load of cafes along the road… we walked in and there happened to be this driver. He bought us a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea and we sneaked in the back of his truck. The police were after us. We slept most of the way… eighteen hours. We sneaked in the back but I think he knew we were there... I have a funny feeling he did. My Dad went mad with the driver but I put him right and he’d have done the same.
Dad was a character… all of us boys used to watch him. During the war when things were tight I tried to help. It starts that we used to go round and help dad… pull back the sacks so he could load the coal. He used to wait outside the factory for me when I was a van boy for Smith’s Crisps… I’d be finished by two o’clock and then I used to go and help him carry the coal. One day he said, “We got a hard one today, son, the iron stairs.” I’d heard my old man talk about this many times… the iron stairs… a legend. It was a tidy climb… a spiral all the way up eight floors with a sack of coal on your back. It nearly killed me and he did it for years with half a leg. They gave his job to a house full of Latvians that fought their way out of Germany.
I’m pleased you’re getting all this… it’s all the truth as I remember it… I want people to know what it was like. Every paper now is talking about the slump… I lived through it… I had to see my father when he took his boots off in the summer… ’cos there was no building work and no more money… the only thing kept him alive was saving in the winter and paying some of his debts off… he was too proud to be on the dole.
I used to be sat in the cab outside the hotel... the pub... for two or three hours… he got done for drink driving… sacked but reinstated ’cos they were short of drivers in the war. He didn’t know if he was working one day to the next… whether they’d sack him or keep him on. Dad was good to me because he knew I was the only way he could earn a living… and… he needed me… I’m not saying he liked me… he needed me. No one liked Nelson.
Dad died when he was 72… they took off one of his legs and they were threatening to take the other one off… he had thrombosis. I didn’t think I’d care when my mother went but I had to go off sick. I was walking over the bridge where Betty proposed when I found out mum died… I didn’t think her death would bother me but it did… all I could think about was my mother holding my hand walking me over that bridge when I was a kid.
I’m going to tell you something and you’re going to think I’m nasty… you’re going to think that I’m not a nice person for saying it but it’s my right to say it… we’ve been talking about the war and how unfair it was and all that and well, I know the Holocaust happened, my uncle told me and he’d seen the camps for himself… he said to my mum and dad that it was worth having a steel plate in his head… the Holocaust happened and it was terrible but the Jews hold some of the blame and you’re not allowed to say that. There should be nothing you can’t say.
Jews were taken away from their houses and put on trains… sent away East… later on it got worse and worse and they were being gassed. Why didn’t they fight back before? My brother had to fight, my Dad was a cripple and he fought for everything he had. I’d fight. So why didn’t the Jews fight back? There were these Russian prisoners fought back… three thousand Russians in the camp and five hundred Germans… so they had a go and killed a load of Germans and a thousand got out… so why didn’t the Jews do it? I’ve worked with people, Jews, from the concentration camps and they’ve told me that the wealthiest Jews tried to save themselves… and save their money with the lives of others. The Nazis were just a gang of thugs at the beginning. Later on it had gone too far and there was nothing they could do but run.
When I had my son I told him to watch out who he got mixed up with… he started working in a bank. Next day this East End Jewboy comes in… I don’t care if you’re Jewish but that’s what we used to call them… he said, “Son, get in behind the mob. Get in with me.” That’s how it was. And the people of London in the East End admired the Krays… they loved the Krays because nobody but nobody would do what people do now… mugging them… what? They’d get a bullet… they kept it all tight.
It was the Krays got a lot of today’s actors started… people here don’t know what went on… it’s too long ago. One of the others was in with the guttersnipe criminals… the low-down ones… she had a big stack of blonde hair and she used to have a bloke… big massive bloke he was… her boyfriend… Thomas something… another friend opened her up a café in Great Titchfield Street… I know that there were two brothers had barrows… barrow boys but well established, you know… they had something to do with the London Polytechnic School… teaching the boxing… so anyway he opened up a café restaurant come art school… and you could go in there at luncheon and… there’s nothing more revolting than going in for a tea and a sandwich and seeing a nude woman… you’re having lunch and they’re painting her… true… on my life… this was what he done… half way down Great Titchfield Street… they had an old Morris Commercial van with the inner tubes hanging out… they had to drive round with flat tyres so it wouldn’t bust… chronic it was… a wreck… I had a white Ford Avenger off of them… it’d been stolen and the bloke didn’t want it any more so they gave it to me.
I paid £279 for it… a long time ago… second-hand … evidently it had been involved in a crash ’cos it had all been newly painted… so… I’ve forgotten what I’m saying. Oh yeah… I got it going and then I sold it because the back end fell off… a little bump from my mate and the back fell off… so I tied the whole back end together with rope and drove it round the garage. I got £45 for it for the new tyres. Away we go… what was the next one… I forget. This is happening more and more… the forgetting what I’m saying.
DC. Tell me about your wedding day.
I had a smashing wedding… we married in secret in St Pancras registry office because Betty’s family didn’t like me. Betty made up the idea that she was going to Birmingham because she once had a boyfriend up there that her family approved of… I go down and pick her up and take her up to my house until it’s time to go to the wedding. When we got to my house there’s my father still washing his feet in the kitchen… he’s complaining about having to take the day off work. I said, “Come on we’re going to be late.” We all get on the 513 trolley bus and get to the hotel… no the registry office… just as they were about to cancel our booking. She’s looking one way and I’m looking the other because if we see each other we’ll burst out laughing. We get it done and get out the hospital… the town hall. No flowers, nothing… and how much money did I have when I came out of the registry office? Ten pence. I borrow a pound off Betty for the taxi and we head off up to Camden Town for a walk about… we went home, had some burnt sausages and the next thing I know Betty’s pregnant.
Nine months later Betty’s sitting in an armchair by the fire… an open fire… she was what you’d call a fighter… I’m worried what she might do to her carers… she once cracked my head open with the heel of her shoe, and my mate, when he saw it, he fainted… anyway, I forget what I’d done… something sinful… and… what was I saying?
We were listening to the radio hearing about the ships that sank the Bismarck and Betty said something like, “God it ain’t half warm in here”… I moved and the sofa was on fire. I poured a bottle of milk over it because that was all we had. I got it out but she’d been sitting on a fire nine months pregnant. I took Betty straight into hospital and they sent me home. I drank about 18, 19 cups of tea… I knew something was wrong… I go back to the hospital and they’d done an emergency caesarean. Betty was sure the baby was dead but they’d saved him. He’d been all twisted and turned upside down with the cord round his neck. The doctor said it was the fire. She couldn’t have any more children… I begged the doctor not to tell her. I told her fifty years later.
I don’t think this dementia Betty’s got is an illness at all… I told her doctor he’s got it wrong… there’s something she wants to forget and those things are me… that’s my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it now. It’s gone and in the past. I’ve forgotten what I’m guilty of. [Nelson looks down at his hands.] I got these tattoos when I left my mum and dad. He wasn’t a hero, he was drunk all the time. I can tell you now that the only reason he took any one of us out when he was a coalman was so we could hold the sacks up in the coal yard... he couldn’t do it... sometimes he couldn’t stand up he was so drunk. My mother got the worst of it... she got it all the time. He got nicked drinking and driving at work and that was the end of him.
He used to come home bad pissed some nights... he had a boring life really... he wasn’t really, how shall I say... he wasn’t a caring father. He was a loner. The kids liked him ’cos he’d come out in the air raids to pick us up from school and where we went swimming in the summer. My dad used to come down with the coal wagon and pick all the kids up on the back… the mothers didn’t care so long as we were safe… we’d come back from the pool dirtier than we went… twenty kids on the back of the old Bedford coal truck.
I’ll never forget the day he came in drunk singing, “Where’s that Tiger? Where’s that tiger?” The next day, you should have seen the state of him, black eyes, broken nose, cuts… he’s a wreck. What happened? It was my mother. She was waiting behind the door… she hit him square on the face with a coal shovel.
What can I say? Everybody was friendly then… more than here… you haven’t got a hammer… I’ll get you my hammer… my dad was coalman… that’s all he could do… he could tie up a scaffold but that was only in the summer time… I was sacrificing myself to look after them… to keep my dad working I did half the job for him.
He was sacked for nicking slates by the manager of the coal company... drunk when the copper caught him... he thought he was part of the furniture and they sacked him... he stole the keys to the lorry… and he’s going down this long mews… I see that wall at the end and I knew then what he was doing… suicide… so, off key… and out. I take him back… I said, “You might want to die but not me.”
I forget this now what I was saying… oh yes… he was going to have his other leg amputated… he’d already had one off… diabetes… thrombosis… he took the pain well… he was up and walking on his wooden stick leg… he tried to get on crutches… and then he gave up… drank even more… me and my father split up… I never had a fight, I just told him that he was wrong and I didn’t like him calling my son a bastard… that’s all I want to say on that. The rest of it can stay.
Edited by David Clegg and Gerald Cinamon