Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Musical McCartneys

The McCartney family occupied a place in Liverpool society a rung or two lower than George and Mimi Smith.  Jim McCartney was a cotton salesman, a reasonably secure job when Liverpool was a thriving port.  Mary McCartney brought in  some extra money as a nurse/midwife.  Unlike the Smiths who owned their own half of a semi-detached home, they had to rely on government supported council housing, but there was no shame in that.  (Photo of 20 Forthlin Road.)  They had "a couple of kids running in the yard" called Paul and Michael.

In his younger days, Jim was a good amateur musician, a valued friend in that time and place.  He told the kids that they should learn to play an instrument, "because that way they'd always be invited to parties".  A piano was part of the McCartney home furniture (obtained from the Epstein family's furniture store).  Paul grew up in a much more stable, though less affluent, home environment and was a more friendly, less rebellious type than JL.

A dark cloud obscured the sunshine of this home when Mary fell victim to breast cancer, a disease against which there was little that could be done by the medicine of that time.  Paul was 14 and a promising student at the prestigious Liverpool Institute.

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