Last week the boy started school. The summer (with all it’s inclement weather) had taken it’s toll and he was moderately looking forward to getting back there.
Seeing the boy in his school uniform did bring memories of the early 1980’s crashing back into my mind though. And me being me, they weren’t the popular sanitised for regurgitation on prime time television memories that most people seem to have.
I remember short trousers and high socks, pudding basin haircuts, a school tie that was a proper tie (even from the age of 5), that people could attempt to throttle you with if they were so inclined. I remember being scared of teachers, to the point where being told off used to make me cry and a school room with a timetable of activities that confused the hell out of me. I remember being unceremoniously dragged from our brief sojourn in Suffolk back to Hertfordshire and a school where the incumbents kindly nicknamed me “Goofy-teeth-posho” and even used to chant it at me as I stood sobbing and sucking my thumb.
I think from that point on I was always the tall awkward different kid. I never had many friends but did used to love being out doors and reading books. Before libraries got all new fangled and computerised, ours used to have a 6 book limit but they could only enforce it to 6 books checked out at one time. One glorious half term I managed to take out every single Tintin and Asterix book without returning a single one of them. In my own way I was happy. I remember the day my mum joined me up to the Famous 5 book club. Once every indeterminate (to me at the age of 6 anyway) period of time they would send a book club hardback edition of two of the Famous 5 stories. I’d stay up late and read at least one of the stories that very day, wishing I was older like Julian so adults would take me seriously.
I remember being obsessed with Transformers (is it genetic?) to the point where I got thrown out of the toy shop in Harlow once for spending too long looking at the boxes. I remember not belonging to any clubs or groups and hardly mixing with kids outside school and I think, well we’re not doing so badly in this parenting lark. The boy might fight about going to school but he enjoys it when he’s there, even if Mrs Sheppard is apparently a bit scary. And he is a socialable lad too, in ways I never was.
But most importantly, we don’t make him listen to or watch stuff like this: