My childhood was relatively average. I had a normal upbringing with loving parents and an older sister, four grandparents, two dogs and a house with a garden in suburban England. I had little concept of the world outside and was lucky enough to grow up in a safe, warm and protected environment. I went to ballet lessons, Brownies then Guides, drama classes and did averagely at school.
My friends from primary school were the same as me – mostly girls, no one’s parents were divorced and we all shared the school run and went to tea at each other’s houses. The Mums shared out the duties. We were all happy. Some parents were a bit stricter than others; some let us have fishfingers and chips; some sat us down to traditional tea with egg & cress sandwiches and glasses of squash or milk. Mum was always there when we got home from school.
My secondary school friends were still similar to me but the odd difference was starting to creep in. The odd divorced parent started to appear on the scene. It was an all girls school and I remember it fondly now, although at the time I’m sure it was torturous, evil and a waste of time. We were lucky enough to be taught all kinds of subjects – a variety of languages, arts & crafts, music, drama. The list goes on…We were privileged and protected until one day or rather one year we all learned to drive! Freedom.
We all grew up in the beautiful British countryside which meant that we all lived miles apart from each other. Rural bus services went once a week if you were lucky! We spent 16 years relying on parents for lifts everywhere. (My older sister suddenly became my friend, because she could drive 3 years before me, although she did have to put up with me tagging along everywhere!) Being able to drive meant we could escape to the pub, into town, each others’ houses. Life was good. We were learing independence.
Feeling confident and sparky we were suddenly plunged into confusion – boys appeared into our lives for the first time. Up until now boys had only been distant older or evil younger brothers of friends. You may think that 16 is quite old to meet boys but remember the protection from the world – all girls school, home in a country town. Boys just simply didn’t exist until the world opened up. [to be continued]