His mother called him Bobbin. At first he’d thought it was Dobbin like the horse in one of his picture books. Then he’d learned the alphabet and D had changed to B in his mind. He was not a horse after all, just a boring bobbin of cotton.
As the weeks went by after the D had become B he became more and more angry. Eventually he refused to talk to his mother on their regular Sunday visits. His father was worried but Bobbin could not speak of his anger.
One day his grandmother came to stay. She was tall and bossy. She made Bobbin close his mouth when he ate, not butt in when adults were talking and clean up his mess. She came with them to visit his mother on the very next Sunday.
Bobbin refused to go in, so his grandmother took him by the hand and lead him to a bench to sit on. Here they quietly sat in the afternoon sun. Bobbin was too angry to say a word. Eventually his grandmother began to talk. She told him tales of his grandfather whom he’d never met. How he had liked to play football and had a big booming laugh. She told him how his mother had loved her father so much she’d always planned to name her child after him. That’s why your name is Robert too. Bobbin sat up in a hurry.
“Robert!! My name isn’t Robert, it’s Bobbin!”
His grandmother laughed.
“Bobbin’s your nickname. Robert is your real name. When you were born your mum thought you were as round and cute as a little bobbin.”
Robert!! Suddenly he felt proud. Robert was a good name. A Robert wrote Treasure Island. He was named after his grandfather. He’d hated his mother for no reason! He felt ashamed. Grabbing his grandmother’s hand he dragged her back to the grave where his father still stood. He had a lot to tell his mother after all.
Copyright April 2013