My father enjoyed relating any number of little anecdotes about his early life and these are a few that I recall:
One of his first jobs as a boy of about twelve was in a bicycle shop, where he worked every Saturday. One week, on arrival, he was interested to find the shop festooned with notices proclaiming 'S A L E', but on inspecting the price tags on various goods he noticed that these had all been increased since the previous week. When he queried this with the Jewish proprietor, the latter said, "Well, of course. Who do think is going to pay for all these notices?".
Another job was at a garden nursery where he talked the owner into allowing him to take home each Saturday some composted soil to his mother, who was a keen gardener and was trying to make something of a rather hard, bare and unproductive area around their home. The owner, knowingly, had agreed to his taking only as much as he could carry by hand. It was quite a long walk home. "You know," my father would add, "nothing increases in weight like a load of soil! With every step the bag would feel heavier and, week by week, I would want to take as much as I could, then regret my overestimation all the way home".
His mother played an extremely important part in his early life and formative years and, in consequence, he always tended to place all women he met on a pedestal. However, I only recall two anecdotes he used to tell about his mother. Like many of her generation she was inclined, quite often, to quote from the Bible and when he was a boy she would say to him, "Cast your bread upon the waters ..." , then wait for him to complete the quote to the effect that it would be returned tenfold. However, mischievously, he would always add "And it will return unto you ... sodden!". For such a generous man, it always amused me that he took such delight in recounting this.
Interestingly enough, the other incident also referred to his mother's religious approach to life. During his childhood the family was extremely poor to the extent that one day there was not even enough to buy the bread they needed, but his mother comforted them all, saying "The Lord will provide." He was pretty angry at this impractical attitude of hers and rushed out the front door, banging it behind him. At that time, as I understand it, the family were living on a small corner property and as he got outside he saw the baker's van coming down the road quite fast. Then, as it swept round the corner, the back doors of the van swung open and two loaves of bread were flung out, landing at his feet. His feelings at that moment were, understandably, a mixture of pleasure and chagrin. But he had to acknowledge that she had been right.