With tales of dysfunctional upbringings from the likes of Frank McCourt and Cathy Glass always being a good draw, Folylake writer Paul Mungaul has entered the fray with his childhood autobiography, ‘Daddy Only Came to Two Sports Days.’
‘It was difficult putting it down on paper at first,’ explained Mungaul, recalling the writing process. ‘The memories would just come flooding back and I would have to stop. After a while, though, it became a cathartic process. I think it has done me a lot of good to get it out there.’
Christmases were always a traumatic time in the Mungaul household: ‘I remember one particular Christmas; Transformers was all the rage and I had been asking for”Optimus Prime” as my main present for months. Come Christmas morning, I tore off the wrapping from the biggest box, and what did I find? “Starscream.” I mean, he wasn’t even an “Autobot.” Of course, I threw the thing across the room and cried for the rest of the morning. I couldn’t even eat my lunch I was so upset. Mum kept it warm in the oven, but by the time I was calm enough to eat it, the stuffing was all dry. There were just so many incidents like that.’
After taking a short break to regain his composure, the part time badminton instructor described the origin of the book’s title: ‘Well… er, it sort of speaks for itself I suppose. Dad only came to two, maybe three… a handful at most, of my school sports days. That’s infants, juniors and secondary. The other dads were always there, shouting from the side-lines, having rows with other parents. With my dad it was always some excuse or another; I can’t get the time off work, the car’s got to go in for its MOT, your grandmother’s had a stroke. There are only so many times you can take the disappointment.’
The parental abuse did not just stop at emotional trauma. It was also physical at times (readers of a sensitive disposition might want to use their discretion about reading the following few lines). ‘Sunday night was always bath time. We didn’t have a shower, so dad used to wash my hair in the bath with a plastic measuring jug. He used to take so long doing it that the shampoo’s lather would run right into my eyes. I would scream and shout “Daddy no! Get off me!” but he wouldn’t stop. He’d just say I was “being silly” and carry on. The neighbours called the police one time I screamed so loud. But they didn’t do anything. It was just another domestic incident to them. I still have to wear goggles in the shower to this day.
‘If, through reading about my experiences, just one person is brave enough to speak out for a child, then it all would have been worth it. I have heard, personally, about kids who only have four or five games for their “Xbox.” Some don’t even have a “Sky” connection for the TV’s in their rooms. This just can’t carry on in Britain in the 21st Century.’
‘Daddy Only Came to Two Sports Days’ by Paul Mungaul debuted at number 376,978 in the Amazon Kindle chart last week.