My childhood

Yesterday I wrote about my mother’s childhood which was certainly not all happy. Today I shall say a few words about my own childhood. And I’ll get a negative out of the way early. I wasn’t always happy at school. But I was always happy at home and by the age of seven my dislike of a school was sorted. I think I had a\ great childhood.

I had two parents who certainly appeared to want the best for me. Finance was much more limited than I ever realised but there was always food on the table and at least one room in the house was kept warm. We always had clothes and shoes were deemed very important. We always had feet measured and new shoes.

I had an older brother and sister and I won’t pretend I had an easy relationship with them – until I reached more or less adulthood. I was nearly five years younger than my sister and it always seemed to me that she regarded me as beneath even her contempt. But this was no problem since I could happily ignore her. And we became the best of friends as adults. My brother, less than two years older was more of a problem as we had to share a bedroom. He was bigger and stronger than me and inclined to use that advantage to get what he wanted. Once again, we became the best of friends as adults.

But I’ll say again – despite that pretty normal sibling rivalry – I had a fantastic childhood. And even the sibling rivalry vanished when we were ‘at camp’. For those magical three weeks each year we were isolated, in our field and largely reliant on each other for company. But I was always lucky in being quite happy with my own company and this photo, one of the earliest colour images of me, shows just me although I think my dad was making us pose in turn. I’d have been 9 at the time.

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Behind me is the bell tent which had to serve as the bedroom for all three of us. You might notice the top of the tent is a different colour. One day we returned from a day out (on our bikes for we had no car) to find that a young bullock in the field had tried to climb up the tent and had ripped it right round the pole. Undaunted dad found his tent repair kit and set to, patching in a new piece of canvas.

A year or so after this dad got a job with enough money for us to become car owners. Camp became different – that bit less isolated although my brother and I insisted we would have our bikes still. So a free and easy and very happy childhood continued.

I certainly feel I have been one of the lucky ones.

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One Response to “My childhood”

  1. Janet Says:

    Have you read any of the Karl Ove Knausgaard books?

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