Wednesday, 26 May 2021


This post has been triggered by unknown's comment about riding a bike.

I was born in 1951, my parents were 18 and 32 when they married.

A few months after they married my mother became unwell, she suffered with nerves, she went to the Dr who suggested a baby would cure the problem. In due course I arrived. Shortly after I was born it was decided I was not the cure needed and my mother returned to work.

I was cared for by a local childminder, something I still have occasional flashbacks about all these years later.

Once I started school, my holidays were spent with assorted relatives, some of these were happier than others.

I'm not sure what my mother thought marriage would entail but housework, childcare and cooking were certainly not on the agenda. As she was a smoker I assume mum was rarely hungry. Breakfast was coffee a  a cigarette, lunch wasn't really thought of though occasionally there might be half a thinly sliced mars bar or a few spoonfuls of condensed milk.

I'm not sure if things would have been better had I been a boy or if I had looked less like my father's side of the family. I was certainly not a child that paid for the dressing.

My mother never did find a cure for her nerves and lived with many phobias, thunder, lightening, small furry animal's, snakes, opticians, doctors, hospitals and dentists to name but a few. I believe she self medicated with alcohol or maybe she just liked a drink or four. She was never a nasty drunk but she could be unpredictable.

What does this have to do with me not owning a bike?

I was not allowed to learn to ride a bike as I might have an accident, I was also not allowed to learn to swim as if I did I might go near water and drown. 

I've always assumed these worries were more about her fear of hospitals than worry about me. Her fear of them meant she was unable to visit me when I had my tonsils out age 4 or even when I had my own children.

My parents were married for over 20 years and the only thing they ever rowed about was my mother treating the family dog better than she treated me.

My mum often said she was surprised I was so affectionate to my own children as she had never been that way with me. 

After my parents separated my mum had quite a lot of short term relationships, none of them lasted. Unfortunately mum loved to flirt and dress provocatively but got very offended when men wanted anything other than a platonic relationship.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Hester - depressing reading but my whole teaching career was spent in very deprived areas where so many children could have written what you have written. It does no harm at all to write about it - it is always keeping it bottled up inside that just makes things worse.

pollyanna said...

Well Hester despite all the obstacles in your path. You did eventually thrive' survive and find your happy.
I keep forgetting to keep up with blogs but you certainly have cared for your family beautifully over the years.
Stay well.

Ellen D. said...

Yes, you have thrived on your own in spite of your Mom. Her loss!
Glad you have made a good life for yourself, Hester.

Unknown said...

At least these days women who are not maternal are not obliged to have children

kate steeper said...

sad mirrors in my own childhood , though my mother at 86 is still a ghastly self absorbed witch .

ana s. said...

It is really so sad how many women back then could not find their passion but were relegated to the narrow life the society said they should want. I think my mother fell into that category. She married twice while young, got a great job during WWII and then married my father at the end. She gave up her identity for the rest of her life.

She was smart and creative but all that seemed to be smothered in living a dictated "normal" life.

I decided kids were not for me and thankfully my husband agreed. 48 years later no kids and we are retired from our careers. No regrets.

Love your blog and often read parts to my husband.

My Piece of Earth said...

Such a sad story, because my childhood could not have been any more different than yours. I had a happy childhood, however, my Mother had a fear of water and thus the reason I cannot swim.
You sound as if you are survivor, with children of your own, which grew up with more love and affection you never had.
Stay well.

ShellyC said...

I feel that a lot of people thrive despite their childhoods.
Almost like survival of the fittest at times.
Well we all made it, one way or another didn't we?

Debby said...

We lived in a house ruled by a very angry and unpredictable man. Like the rest of us, my mom was just trying to keep it all on an even keel. She wasn't perfect. She got worse as she got older. She still wanted to argue with me on her death bed. I try my best to be a different kind of mom, but I always am haunted by the fear that I wasn't, or that my children don't like me very much. I don't think that is true, but it haunts me anyway.

Amanda said...

Back in the day - as in all through the Victorian period well into the 50s and early 60s - it was an article of faith that if a woman was "nervy" or unhappy, the cure would be marriage and/or a baby because that's what makes women happy. (You still see that with a lot of churches even today.) I have to wonder how many cases of abuse are a result of that belief.


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