Well, my friends, I have to blame Bettina at Dances to the Beet of Her Own Drum (because I have to blame someone for every mess in my life, and if I can't point the finger firmly it ends up being my fault - and I have to resort to the middle child retort, which does nothing for the reputation of middle children - and there are more of us than you think.). Every Tuesday she hosts "Screw Up Tuesday" and see, I like being able to do two jobs with one stroke. It makes me feel efficient.
So not only is this post the second but the first of the three you have to choose for me to enter in Scribbit's May Writing Challenge on Shoes, but it is also now part of the phenomenon
Now, I am bending the rules slightly (as in completely disregarding the time frame required) to include a screw up from long, long ago...
Those of you playing at home recall that, as teenagers, our mother and father
Thus, came the day when, aged thirteen, I joined my big sister
There were very strict guidelines. Of course, with a little experience under your belt you KNEW how to bend them to your ends, but as a new boarder,
The "uniform list" was four white uniform blouses (so perfect for the pubescent girl), three navy six-gore skirts, two navy gym slips and matching bloomers, one white gym slip and matching bloomers, navy tie, navy and gold panama hat, navy and gold blazer, gold beret, white church uniform, six pairs brown ankle socks, one pair white ankle socks, two pairs of beige stockings, navy one-piece racing togs, white volley sandshoes and brown school shoes.
You may wonder at my memory for such a list, given that I can barely remember milk at the shops, but if you, as a twelve-year old on your
I shan't give you the rest of what was packed, but be assured in the vast array of goods for your
Of course, if you had Shoe Post Part One before this one, you would not wonder at the fact that I really was lucky to have one option available for casual footwear - but we will have to unveil that at the prequel.
Anyway, there was one UNBREAKABLE rule as a new boarder, and that was that you were not allowed out for the first three weeks. Probably from some paper on torture and confinement or something - going cold turkey on freedom. And as a result, many
I am unsure of what my own mandatory weekly letters home recorded in those first three weeks - mainly due to the bonfire that I held annually to wipe any memory of school, but I would also like to lay some blame on my mother. She could have kept them all tied up in ribbon for research purposes but instead returned them to me with the spelling mistakes marked in red.
They may, however, have run along the lines of:
Week One: "Dear parents, it is so interesting being at school meeting lots of new friends. I will tell you all about them when I see you next (in three weeks?). Your dutiful and obedient daughter, Jeanie"
Week Two: "Mum and Dad, can I please have some more clothes? The two sets I have are inadequate for my social pretensions. You could take me shopping when you take us out (in a fortnight?). Your loving daughter, Jeanie"
Week Three: "Mummy! Daddy! Its horrible. You must come and save me. Not only do I miss you so much, but I am a social pariah and my one pair of casual shoes are beginning to stalk me. This weekend? Please? I love you and miss you soooo much. Jeanie XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX"
Well, the third weekend crept towards us. The matron read the "leave list" on Thursday night, and our names were on it!!! Oh bliss!!! Oh parents!! Oh, even baby brother!! Oh clothes and shoe shopping (which would be even more poignantly understood if I had Post One up and running)!!!
I packed. We were to be spending the weekend at the beach. In went the (navy racing) togs and towel. In went my two sorry casual outfits, pyjamas, toiletries and books and I closed the port with a sigh of sweet anticipation. I could almost taste the freedom only one short day away.
When our family came to collect us, we were ready (in full uniform including woolen tie and top button done up) with our ports on the terrace, eager and drunk on anticipation.
Mum and Dad splashed out for us - we had Chinese for dinner. We were staying at a Motel. And that, my friends, is where my luck ran out.
To give you a historic snapshot, while my parents were not skint times were hard in the cattle industry. The term was "dirt rich", and with the double expense of daughters at private boarding school (even if one of them saved them a little with a scholarship), lashing out on an extra 700km trip, dinners out and motel stays to indulge their princesses - well, let us just say that they preferred the free entertainment option of swimming at the beach to trawling the shops with an, up until this moment, reluctant middle child looking for fripperies.
As luck (and it was luck - do not assume there was ANY forethought at all, because I was truly that clueless) would have it, the ONE THING I had failed to do in packing so eagerly was to include that skanky pair of casual shoes.
Ha - surely my parental unit would indulge me with that little fact laid on the table!
So I laid it out - and got a "here is a life lesson in remembering" (that unfortunately I still haven't quite grasped) retort.
Nothing like sand in your brown school shoes at the beach for the next two days to create understanding of the necessity of such a life skill. (Well, to and from the beach over the prickly grass).
Ever "slipped" into your brown school shoes to go for a walk through a tourist village?
Try being a thirteen year-old nerdy, dorky girl suddenly noticing all those that were not nerdy, dorky or girls all around with those clodhoppers on your feet. It can really DRIVE a point like that home.
I am okay now. I have had therapy for instances such as this in my life. But I still shudder to remember that first weekend of freedom, and the true pain involved.
For those of you who have suffered with me and got to the end of that dirge, leave a comment and this week, I will give away a poetry book (that actually includes two of my poems) to a random commenter - consider it my gift, not graft!