Girl in me…

However old we get, our inner child is always within us. If we look closely in the mirror we will see her…

There once was a girl,  a long time ago,

Where she is now, I do not know.

I wish I could find her, ask her to stay,

Where she is now, I cannot say.

I call her name, there’s no reply,

Where is she now? I wonder why?

I look in the mirror, what do I see?

Someone familiar, looking at me.

I look again, I stare, then see,

Looking back, is the girl in me.

I look again, I stare, I see,

The girl in the mirror,

Inside of me.

Advertisements

Memoirs ~ Class 9, 2 Davids, Isle of Wight & a smack

Class nine, two Davids, Isle of Wight and a smack

In numerology nine is the number of completion and so it was I completed my primary school years in class nine. There were three classes at the top end of the school; classes nine, ten and eleven. I was in class nine taught by Mrs Shelbrook formerly Miss Marcham, my favourite teacher. Class ten was taught by Mr Orford who I think was a hippy or new ageist in the making or something that came close to either. He used to play guitar and sing, had longer hair than the other male teachers and a long shaggy beard, both brown. In my book that made him a hippy or at least it did in my eleven year old eyes. In reality he was probably just a man who enjoyed sporting a beard. As a child, I was always thinking about the whys and wherefores of things, and coming to my own conclusions as do we all but children see things in a different light to adults. The funny thing about Mr Orford was that his own children attended the free school further down the road in Kirkdale, towards Cobbs Corner. The free school looked like it might have been fun, at least that is how I perceived it. Every time you went past, there were children looking scruffy, carefree and happy, I mean really happy! You always heard laughter coming from the free school. Perhaps Mr Orford taught at Kelvin Grove to pay the bills. Finally, there was class eleven which was Mr Phenong’s class. Mr Phenong was scary, I mean really scary!. He was Chinese or appeared to be from that part of the world. He was tall and he took no nonsense. His was the quietest class in the school. You never heard any commotion from his class. I was glad I was not in his class. His class was at the top of the cast iron steps in the old Victorian building. I was always so happy that I never had to ascend those steps  into Mr Phenongs domain. Class nine and class ten were based in the new pre-fabricated huts that were built a little distance away from the main school building. When I think of the huts in my minds eye, I see the colour yellow. They were light and airy, a far cry from the old Victorian classes that I had been accustomed to. When I see those classrooms I see the colours red and brown, lots of glass, really high ceilings and dark corridors. 

Class nine probably made more of an impression on me than any other class at Kelvin Grove. I was growing up and everything was preparing us for secondary school. I had pretty much stuck with the same group through school. The group consisted of Ruth, Angela, Debbie, Ken who joined the school later than the rest of us but fitted in with us all, as if he had always been one of us, and then of course there was David. We all sat on one desk. The others in the group were Perry, Tina, Dawn, and Lillian who sat on other desks but were equally part of the group. 

At playtime the boys would chase the girls, the girls would squeal as young girls have a tendency to do if they were caught, and then they would run away again only to be chased and caught again. That’s just how the game went. It seemed the girls had the most fun, or maybe we were typically stereotypical for  that period of time with the boys being the hunters and the girls being chased. We were all in the first flush of youth approaching puberty but not quite there yet, and so were still enjoying the freedom associated with childhood. A couple of the girls had paired off with a couple of the boys, Ruth and David and Tina and Perry. The funny thing is that all the girls in the class had a crush on David . Whether he knew it or not is a mystery. I kept my feelings on that score to myself. It was a secret crush that had he have known I would have died of embarrassment. I remember wearing a David Cassidy t-shirt one day for PE and David  telling me that it really suited me. I am sure I blushed brilliantly but was thrilled, as him commenting meant that he had noticed me. I wasn’t invisible after all. That was as far as my relationship with David went. It was innocently sweet. 

These children were such an integral part of my junior school years,  and yet secondary school saw us all separated and going off in different directions on our next phase of life. All us girls went on to Sydenham County School for girls, and the boys went to Dacres Road, which was actually Forest Hill Boys School. Even though us girls were in the same school we were split into other groups, our new groups. That’s how life often goes with us going from one group to another as we travel through life on our journey with destination unknown. I only ever saw David (not Cassidy) once more in my life, and that was years later when I was working in the local record shop Treble Clef. Working at Treble Clef was my Saturday and holiday job. It was poorly paid at just £5 for the entire day but I loved it. I got to listen to music all day, and for the most part I got to choose the music. It did not seem like work at all. I never went home with any money as I spent it all on records. Anyway, it was here I last saw David. He was with who I presume was his girlfriend. Strangely she reminded me of me with her dark curly hair and bright eyes. David had not really changed much but I no longer had butterflies in my tummy when I saw him.  I never knew what became of him after that.

Class nine was a good class to be in apart from when we had Mr Hog (what a name! Is n’t hog another name for pig?). Mr Hog was a supply teacher who covered for Mrs Shelbrook when she was away. He had a red face and had straight oiled hair with a side parting that was slicked back and stuck flat to his head. I have a feeling he was Welsh but could be mistaken. His mouth was crooked as were his teeth that were stained dark yellow bordering on green.  It’s strange how we can see people so clearly, and in so much detail even though it was such a long time ago. If I were to annotate any colours to him it would be red because of his ruddiness, and green because of the various greens of his clothes which seemed to be muted together in a mass of coarse fabrics that sat awkwardly on his sturdy frame..  He wore thick glasses and had spiteful eyes. He was quite stocky, not fat but solid. He took a dislike to our class who were by this time quite well behaved as we had the greatest amount of respect for Mrs Shelbrook. One afternoon he was teaching, and said something that the class found funny. There were sniggers all around but the person who was more obvious, and louder than the others was David. He was just ten or eleven and had n’t done anything terrible but the teacher had other ideas, clearly felt belittled and wanted someone to pay. Mr Hog went up behind David and I am sure  if my memory serves me right, thumped him hard in his back. It must have hurt terribly, as well as feeling humiliated. David’s face reddened to a deep crimson. I am sure he reacted by running from the classroom as a way of escaping such a traumatic situation, although I am not altogether certain. We remember things to suit our own perception of events and situations. 

David  was n’t the only David in my life and he was n’t to be my last.  I secretly admired David, he was decent boy with a head of fabulous brown curls. I was also a fan of David Cassidy who had a string of chart hits in the 1970s including Could it be forever; How can I be sure and Breaking up is hard to do. Maureen, my older sister knew that I liked David Cassidy and that he was my favourite pop star but that did n’t stop her from going to his concert. Maureen was four years older than me and was allowed to go to concerts with her friends. While she was at the concert she even bought a David Cassidy pillow case and pendant. I ended up with a t-shirt, although I am sure she wore it a few times before letting me have it. Maureen was so lucky to be allowed to go to concerts. I was just too young at the time. 

Now that we were in our final year at Primary School it meant that we could go on the annual school journey to the Isle of Wight. The school journey was to be both educational and fun, and like the other children I couldn’t wait to go. We were only to be away from home and school for a week, which before we went did n’t seem that long a time but when we were actually there it seemed an eternity and I was horribly home sick.. The teachers that were to accompany us on school journey were Mrs Tuppenden and Mrs Shelbrook who were both teachers, and Mrs Atkins who was actually a lunchtime supervisor who kept an eye on us at dinnertime, and made sure that we ate our school dinner. If there were any other teachers on the trip I don’t recall. I remember much of that journey, not the actual travelling which was by coach and ferry but the actual trip itself. We stayed in chalets in San-down, four to a chalet on bunk beds I think, although I don’t remember if I took the top bunk or the bottom bunk. At night time on that first day we were to bathe and clean ourselves. I soon realised that mummy and daddy had forgotten to pack a flannel. I told the teacher and was given a J-cloth as a substitute. An adult would simply see that as improvisation. That would have been fine but a couple of girls in class eleven had overheard my dilemma, and for the rest of the holiday repeatedly sang the song from the J-cloth advert. I tried to laugh it off but it seriously got on my nerves in the end. They just didn’t know when enough was enough. So that was the first thing on the trip that got me down. 

Being homesick I wished that I was back at home but there was nothing I could do. I would just have to hope that the days went by quickly. Being on the Isle of Wight we made various trips to the beach. Allum Bay was one place where we went because of the variety of coloured sand. As children we were encouraged to play and run around to work off our excess energy. I remember Mrs Tuppenden and Mrs Atkins lifting me by my hands and feet and mockingly acting as though they would hurl me into the sea. I struggled, screamed and cried, and got quite aggressive, threatening that I would tell my dad and that they’d be sorry. They were just playing but I didn’t like that game, and felt scared. I did tell my dad when I got home but he could see that no harm was intended, and said that I was far too sensitive and should n’t take everything to heart. 

On the trip we would all eat our breakfast together. My favourite breakfast was Kellogg’s cornflakes with a rather large sprinkling of sugar. After breakfast we were told what we would be doing and where we would be visiting that day. One particular excursion that I remember only too well was a daytrip to Carisbrook Castle. Now, either on the estate or maybe on route to the estate we went to visit a windmill. Before entering we were told not to touch anything as it was very old. I obviously either did n’t hear that point or maybe switched off and chose to ignore it. It does n’t matter as the result would have been the same. I touched when I should n’t have touched. What it was I touched I could n’t even now say, some sort of cog I think. What I remember is how much my leg stung as Mrs Shelbrook’s hand came hard across the back of my leg. There was no warning, it just happened spontaneously. Suddenly, my favourite teacher was no longer my favourite teacher, and I was no longer the good girl I had always strived to be. Not only did the smack sting but my pride was in pieces. I never saw Mrs Shelbrook in the same light after that, and I never touched anything that said don’t touch again. With that in mind, it’s true how they say history repeats itself, and that each person can only learn from their own mistakes. Two years later on the same school trip, while on the same excursion my younger sister got smacked by the same teacher for doing the same thing, in exactly the same spot. 

One of my friends on the trip was Linda. Linda was only in my life briefly, and for a short time we were good friends. Linda was an only child, and lived on the Hillcrest Estate, known to us also as the flats at the back because they were situated down beyond the Orange Moon at the rear of our houses in Hillcrest Road. Linda had dark brown hair and sky blue eyes, and was confident and self-assured. I wanted to be like Linda. Linda lived with her mum and her dad when he came home on leave. Linda’s dad was a soldier. Linda’s   mum drove a bight red convertible MG Spitfire. Linda’s mum wore her shoulder length blond hair in a flick. Linda’s mum was young and fashionable and did n’t look like a mum at all at least not in my eyes. 

Once during that brief time that Linda was a part of my life, I was invited to stay over at Linda’s for the night. I had never slept away from home before, and I am sure my parents had reservations as sleepovers were not the done thing back then but I managed to persuade them that I would be fine, reminding them that I really was n’t going very far. I had to sleep with Linda in her bed. The only recollection I have of that sleepover was her mum asking what drink we’d like to have on the bedside in case we should become thirsty in the night. Linda chose orange juice and I chose milk; milk was a bad choice as it curdled over night. To this day I have never left milk out overnight. You learn all sorts of things from the people you meet in life; sometimes we learn simple things and at other times not so simple things. 

Linda went out of my life as quickly as she had come into it. Where she went I don’t know. I never saw her or heard from her again. Linda was just one of many people I befriended or who befriended me during my life, and who made a lasting impression on me. They say that people come into your life for all manner of reasons so that we can learn something from them or vice versa. Sometimes we see the lesson immediately, and sometimes we don’t see it at all. Perhaps it was Linda’s parents who were learning something from me being with Linda. Perhaps they went on to have another child so that Linda would have a playmate and companion. Of course this is just conjecture but it is a possibility.

Searching…

Much of my poetry is Philosophical. I am quite a deep thinker. This is a poem about finding one’s way out of the darkness. Much of my poetry has been written when I have been feeling lost… 

Ill-chosen lyrics, a well-loved tune?

Child of the Sun, child of the Moon?

Where once reigned daylight

Now shadow led night.

Where once there was vision

Eyes blind without sight.

Where now is felt weakness

Not characterised might;

Once stood strength,

Ready to fight.

The fight is now gone:

A forgotten song:

Words without voices,

Decisions less choices.

This way or that way?

I know not which;

The path rightly chosen

Is wealth beyond rich.

To those who seek,

To them shall find;

The way is forward

Not that behind.

© Liola Lee 2007

Today is the day ~ Let the day begin

Today is the day’ …was a collection of musings I wrote during the Peri menopause years. It’s spoken in the first person, and was based largely on my journal entries written around that time. Journalling is a wonderful way to express this, that and whatever else needs to be said whether aloud or silently…

Let the day begin

15th July 2010 (am)

I am sitting here in the dining room contemplating what I shall write about today. So often I just write whatever comes into my head, and wonder if what I am writing is worth writing or whether it is just meaningless nonsensical crap that no one will ever read. I determine I shall aim to write at least 500 words, after all if I am to be a writer I must in fact write. 

It is very windy outside this morning, so much so that the willow tree is swaying heavily from one side to another; a dancing yeti embracing the universe, reminding me that once again another year has passed and we have still to cut it back; something we have been promising the neighbours for the last few years. I was all set to have the tree brought under control by tree surgeons but they turned out to be rogue traders. I was not fooled for long though, and once the price started to increase I knew that they were trying to rip me off and told them so. Once they knew I was on to them, they made a hasty exit but not before they had partially butchered my beloved willow, and left an almighty mess in the back garden. 

I have decided today to try really hard to do things differently, because if I keep doing things as I have been doing them, then nothing will change, and I so desperately want things to change. I am not unhappy but I lack direction just now, and want to find a pathway to follow. I spend too much time sighing and procrastinating over things which is without doubt holding me back. Sitting here with my head held in my hands, and tapping my fingers incessantly on the table whilst looking at the screen, and willing words of wisdom to come forth does not seem to be working. I have already had three cups of coffee which is the same as always. Why oh why did I not begin the day with a lovely cup of tea? 

Anyway, today is the day for change. I have not done my Angel cards for a while so think I may seek guidance from my Angels as to what I should be focusing on today. I also need to change my hair as it is getting on my nerves. This has nothing to do with my hormones. It is simply that I have looked in the mirror and can see a follicle disaster in full swing. 

The willow tree is still waving. I do hope it does not blow down. That would be a nuisance, now to think what to do today. I must go out, as over the last few days I have been somewhat reclusive and not really ventured out unless you include the daily trips down to Sainsbury’s with Steve. We go there everyday and seem to suffer withdrawal symptoms if we miss a day. Sometimes we go down more than once a day, which some may say is a little sad. It is certainly expensive! When we buy our next house we must ensure that we are far away from the local supermarket. We go in for a couple of items and always come out with a trolley full of food that we do not need nor want really. I am not really sure when we became addicted to food shopping but never a day goes by without us making Mr Sainsbury just that little bit richer. I am sure we are their best customers.

Sammy has just been down and offered me a slice of birthday cake. I questioned why she had bought a birthday cake, “Because I like it” was the answer which I guess is a fair response. I declined on this occasion, though to be honest I was a little tempted. However, a slice of birthday cake will do nothing for my waistline or rather, nothing for that place where my waist used to be. I should go out for a really long walk with Syd, that may clear a few cobwebs. I could walk Syd and drop some papers off to the Accountants therefore achieving the completion of two tasks in one go. It might rain but if it does I shall get a bit wet, so what, a bit of rain never hurt anybody, well not unless you think about those people who get hurt in floods and things, then I guess you could get hurt but just now it is a little cloudy and a little windy, and does not look as though it will flood in the near vicinity. 

I wonder if all women nearing the menopause ponder on such trivia as I do on a daily basis. I wonder if all women sigh as much as I do, and wonder what to do with themselves when they are not cooking, cleaning, ironing, dog walking, washing up and looking after the children. Although the children in my house are all pretty much grown up or at least they are when it suits them, and they never do that much for me. It seems to be understood that it is my role or duty to do everything around the house to make everyone else comfortable and content but what about me, who will do that for me? I guess I shall have to do it for myself but it is hard to do things for myself. I have spent so many years looking after everyone else’s needs that I have forgotten how to look after my own. Today though, I shall endeavour to address this balance and put myself first. I shall aim to please myself, not for selfish reasons you understand but for my self preservation. The time has come for ME… ME… ME…

Let the day begin. 

© Liola Lee 2010

Memoirs ~ The Orange Moon, Wolf Man and Flight of Fancy

The Orange Moon, Wolf Man and Flight of Fancy

The Orange Moon sounds like the stuff of fairy tales and magic. The Orange Moon was in fact an orange sandy slope that had its beginnings beyond the bottom edge of our garden at number 5 Hillcrest Road, and that stretched way down towards the newly built Hillcrest Estate, where the new tower blocks had been erected; towering brick built boxes.  The Orange Moon linked the past of a bygone Victorian era with modern 1960s architecture.  I wonder how many children sat on the Orange Moon dreaming of bright futures both before and after me. I am not sure who thought up the name but it was what it became known as and provided a wonderful platform for play, and make-believe. We would meet some of the kids who lived on the estate there, and play and mess about. It was a wonderful slippery slide, and quite steep and was the stage for many stories. The Orange Moon didn’t belong to anyone; it was just there and bought kids together who might not otherwise have played together. It was a childhood haven where there were no visible divisions at least not in my eyes. Issues like class, religion and colour had no place in our childhood; childhood was a time for play and a time for being children; a time for fairy tales and fantasy with the odd argument thrown in for good measure. The Orange Moon was a meeting place and playground all in one. Back then all those issues that now provide meat for myth to ambitious Politicians did not exist or if they did, we as children did not tend to think about such things. 

Hillcrest Road only had a few houses still standing. Those still there and occupied were numbers one through to nine. If there was any house beyond number nine I am none too sure. One through to nine, are the ones I remember. Next to number nine was the wood and in the woods lived the Wolf Man, so –called because of his pet wolf. He was a big man with a dark countenance. He had thick black eyebrows and dark menacing eyes and long messy wiry hair, the original Gruffalo. He had giant shovel like hands that looked as though they could have easily strangled someone to death, in the instance of a breath if he so chose. He looked dirty like he had been crawling through the dirt or had somehow got covered in soot. He must have been dirty as he lived in the woods and probably had nowhere to wash. He looked almost not human like a wild man who was part animal. He never spoke but roared if he caught us near. He didn’t like children and use to chase us away. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had a pet wolf or wolf companion. Either way it was a ferocious beast with large yellow glinting eyes, and sharp teeth that wouldn’t think twice about ripping you apart limb from limb. It was wise to take heed and not venture too far into the woods. It was common knowledge what had happened to Little Red Riding Hood. It was also known that curiosity killed the cat but as I was neither Little Red Riding Hood nor a cat I felt that gave me some sort of advantage over the situation and decided to investigate. I was always a curious child and liked to find things out for myself. 

One day I was playing outside with Tina who lived with her family in number nine. Tina was a playmate before she too had to go to school. Tina was a pretty girl but had scarring on her stomach where a boiling hot cup of tea had fallen on her and scalded her. I had never seen the scarring but had heard what had happened to her as a lesson never to reach for boiling hot drinks on the side where I could n’t  reach. Now Tina was also quite a curious child and together hand in hand we ventured towards the wood to see what we could see, although what we thought we’d see and how we thought we’d act we hadn’t as yet given any thought to. As we got closer we could smell a fire burning. The fence was a mixture of grey corrugated iron and wooden post railings that had seen better days and beyond that lay the woods. You hear tell that you can’t always see the wood for the trees, but for a wood there really didn’t seem to be that many trees. It was more waste land than woods. So this was where we were supposed not to go. What was all the fuss about? Then, “ROARRRR” it was the Wolf Man and his wolf coming after us chasing us. We turned on our heels and ran as fast as we could screaming all the way back to Tina’s house where we bolted through the door, quickly slamming it shut behind us. We hadn’t looked to see if the wolf man was coming, we didn’t dare in case he caught us up. How long we lay against the door I don’t know but it seemed like ages. I can still recall vividly how breathless we were, how afraid and excited by the fact that we had escaped. We did n’t go looking for the Wolf Man again. 

Following the excitement with the Wolf Man of the wood was another wonderful experience. There was a dog kennel at the side of the house, although Prince, our dog who I was scared of was now living with a nice old lady down the road, although my mum and dad said she had lured the dog away by giving him treats. I distinctly remember flying, that’s right flying from the roof of the kennel to the back door in broad daylight. I can remember the sensation of flight. Although I had only flown a few feet in the air, it gave me quite a thrill and sense of awe and wonder.  Unfortunately, I had no witnesses so couldn’t prove it. You’d have thought they’d have believed me after all, I’m a girl and if I said it, it must be true, mustn’t it? Girls don’t tell lies do they? At least that’s what I’ve heard said in recent years by those that claim to be in the know.

Time turns things upside down and inside out, and addles our brains like nothing else can. The wolf man turned out to not to be a wolf man at all. He was the Watchman whose job it was to keep trespassers and unwanted children away from a waste site, where there was much debris and potential danger to unsuspecting individuals, especially children. The wolf too was a figment of my imagination and was actually the watchman’s guard dog, a German Shepherd. Yet, as a small child I was adamant that I had seen a wolf man and his faithful lupine companion. The reality was he was just a workman but the story of the wolf man and the wolf makes for better reading and was what we told everyone at the time; and at the time it was what we convinced ourselves to be true.  As for my flight of fancy, that is exactly what it was. Perhaps I jumped or dreamed of flying but as to actually flying, you tell me. If I could do it then, I would do it now wouldn’t I? Or just maybe you forget how to fly when you’re an adult.

© Liola Lee 2010