The song by the Yorkshire Pop group ‘Smokie’ ’24 Years Living next door to Alice’ is one of my all-time favourites.
It reminds me of the Alice I knew and married. She was my first love.
This is the story of that romance and how it came to an end, how Alice went from my life forever, never to return. A story of a broken heart. The story of the song.
Alice and I were neighbors. Her house was across the street from mine.
We pretty much grew up together. We went to school together, played together after school,sang songs and watched television together.
I married Alice when we were both only six years old. I know it sounds crazy but it is absolutely true.
We were playing together in the field near our homes one spring morning.
Suddenly, I decided to pick some daisies from the grass and make a daisy chain which I put on the finger on Alice’s hand.
I proposed to Alice and she accepted. The smile on her face that morning, I still remember vividly.
Alice ran back to her house to tell her Mother the good news.
Her Mother was washing the dishes in the kitchen.
‘Mum, Mum’ Alice cried out to her Mother, ‘I’ve just got married to Paul’
‘Is that all?’ was her Mothers somewhat belligerent reply. ‘You had better help me finish washing the dishes and then peel the potatoes for lunch’
When five o’clock came that afternoon, there was a big loud knock on the front door of my house.
I knew who it was and I was scared. I hid in the closet in my bedroom.
My Mother answered the door to Alice’s Father. He had some sharp words to say to my Mother about her son marrying his daughter without his permission.
Things settled down after that and nobody seemed too concerned about our marriage at all.
As we got into our teens, Alice and I began to hang out together less and less but we still expressed love for each other whenever we met up.
Consummation of our marriage was no more than holding hands and a peck on the cheek. We did kiss on the lips once, fleetingly, when she accepted my proposal but it was nothing more than that and it was never again repeated.
Then one day, after twenty four years living next door to Alice,things dramatically changed.
My sister Liz peered through the curtains and saw a big black limousine pull up outside Alice’s house with white ribbons on it.
A man got out of the car. He was big, bald, bearded, old, fat and ugly. He had a stud in his left ear and a gold necklace around his neck. He wore a fancy open-necked shirt and had the look of an American gangster.
This was no ‘Prince Charming’ for ‘my Alice’ and yet somehow he had charmed her.
Alice came out of her house wearing a long white dress and with a veil over her face. I have to say that she looked ‘done up’ yet more beautiful than I had ever seen her before.
Before she got into the limousine, she glanced back over her left shoulder and saw me peering through the curtains with my sister.
The moment was brief. Alice drove away with the man to be married and I never saw Alice again.
My heart was broken. It took me a long time to get over it but get over it I did because life moves on and I also found true love myself a few years later.
The ‘Alice’ song is extremely nostalgic for me because it truly tells the story of ‘my Alice’ whom I can never forget.
Twenty Four Years Living Next Door to Alice.