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Richard Starkey, Ringo, is the oldest of the Beatles. Ringo's mother, Elsie Gleave, married his father Richard Starkey, in 1936. The met because they worked at the same Liverpool bakery. Elsie and Richard got their own house before Ringo was born. They were an ordinary, poor working class.

Ringo was born just after midnight on July 7, 1940. He was a week late, and weighed 10 pounds. At the time his mother was twenty-six years old, and his father was twenty-eight. Ringo was called Ritchie growing up. When he was three years old, his parents separated. Since then, he never saw father. His mother took care of him, and her and Richard eventually divorced.

Ringo and his mother lived alone, but moved to another place. He would spend a lot of time at his grandmother's from his father's side of the family. He wasn't really upset about the separation from what his mother remembers.

Ringo's Education

Ritchie went to Sunday school at four and started primary at five, at the St. Silas's Junior School. Ringo's mother struggled to take care of him, and went back to work right after he had started school, leaving him with his grandmother. At six years of age, Ritchie developed appendicitis, the appendix burst, and peritonitis set in. He had two operations at the Myrtle Street Children's Hospital.

He was in the hospital for a little over a year. Parents weren't allowed to visit their children, the thought being it would disturb them from recovering. When he came out of the hospital at the age of seven, he went back to St. Silas's. He was so behind, he couldn't even read or write. Marie Maguire, who was four years older than Ritchie, became his friend. She started to teach him to read and write when he came out of the hospital. She would babysit him on Saturday nights.

Ritchie was always a happy and easy going child. Ringo has no memories of St. Silas's. At eleven years old, Ringo went to the Dingle Vale Secondary Modern School. Around this time his mother, started dating a Liverpool painter and decorator named Harry Graves. They met through friends, the Maguires. Him and Ritchie got along well. His mother wanted to marry Harry, but she asked Ritchie if it was okay with him. Ritchie said to go ahead and get married, so Elsie and Harry married on April 17, 1953, when Ritchie was almost thirteen years old.

Life with his Mother and Stepfather

Harry and Ritchie got along really well, he was very lenient with Ringo. At thirteen, Ritchie had a second illness. He got a cold, which turned to pleurisy, which then turned to effusion on the lung. He went back to the hospital.

While Ritchie was in the hospital, Tom Whittaker, the manager of the Arsenal, was in Liverpool. Harry had written him explaining Ringo's situation, saying how nice it would be for him to go visit him. Ringo had good memories of Harry, he thought he was great. This time, Ringo was in the hospital for almost two years, from the age of thirteen to the age of fifteen. When he left, he went back to the Dingle Vale Secondary Modern School, to get a reference for a job. His mother was afraid at the job he could get, since he wasn't too strong.

Ringo Working

Through the Youth Employment Officer he got a job as a messenger for the British Railways. He didn't like the job so he left after six weeks, because he failed the medical exam. He then got a job on a boat as a barman.

After that job, he got a job at H. Hunt and Son through friends of his stepfather's. At this time he was seventeen and fed up with not starting an apprenticeship. He was small, weak, undernourished, and with very little schooling.

Ringo had a tough childhood, with a broken home, and two long illnesses. It was hard on him, adjusting to school and to work. Ringo doesn't remember ever being unhappy.