27th. August 2012 

The Light Bulb


"Copyright Owen Jones 2012 (c)"

By: Owen Jones 

The Light Bulb

My father's mother, all his nine brothers and sisters and he himself were spiritualists, which has always seemed to me like a western form of Buddhism, although I am sure that Buddha did not mean his teachings to be for Asians alone anyway.

Spiritualists can be of many creeds and religions, but basically they all believe in life after death, reincarnation and karma. My paternal grandmother set up a spiritualist church in Barry on Butrills Road before I was born and it is still going strong to this day.

My paternal grandfather had been a ship's carpenter, who circumnavigated the globe several times before he retired to finally settle down with his family and establish a family business as a carpenter. My father, as the youngest boy, became his apprentice.

I never met my grandfather because he died the year that I was born, but not before he knew that my mother was pregnant. He gave my parents 5/-, which was $1 in 1954, to buy a teething ring for me and for 'the next one' when he was born. He must have know that he did not have long to live.

I have been told that he was a heavy drinker, which does not surprise me about a sailor, and that he preferred pig fat to lean pork. We can all guess what he died of although I never asked and was never told.

My mother promised to name me after him, which she did. My grandfather left my Dad a 'lucky' 6d dated 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain, which was a nationwide celebration to uplift the British people after the devastation of the Second World War. It was in his wallet, which Mum kept in her sewing basket, so I saw it several times a week.

I often asked about my grandfather and what he was like. One fact that came out later, when I was much older, was that spiritualism scared him, but then that is not surprising either as sailors are traditionally a very superstitious lot, or they used to be in the old wooden sailing ships. They said that sometimes, especially after a few drinks, he would be too frightened to go home, because his wife was holding a seance.

Anyway, 15-20 years later, when I was 15-20, my Dad started to open up to me about his father.

My father lived and worked with his father every day, so he knew him as well as anyone did. He said that his father was indeed frightened by the ideas of spiritualism, because it followed that if good souls lived on as ghosts, then so did bad ones. It turned out that he did believe in life after death and reincarnation, but then coming from Anglesey, the home of Welsh Druidism, that was not surprising either.

He said that he didn't trust himself to be able to judge the good ones from the bad ones.

Years later again, Dad told me that his father had always taken a keen interest in me, but that, because he had not yet learned the 'technicalities' of communicating on the lower Earthly plain in speech, he could only make noises. However, apparently he was keen to let me know when he was near.

He told my father to tell me that if ever I heard a light bulb clicking as it does when it cools, but when it has not been in use or long after it is cool and should have stopped clicking, then it was him saying hello.

I have heard the light bulb clicking many times over the last 30 years and often wonder how long it will take him to learn to speak to me. Or maybe it is just that I cannot hear.

by Owen Jones

(c) Owen Jones 27th August, 2012.

This story may not be copied in any way without the written permission of it's author, Owen Jones, but you may link to it, if you so desire.