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The prompt/challenge:

We’ve all heard of Mark Twain’s legendary advice, “write what you know.”  This week’s assignment is to take some small aspect of your life and write it up in an entertaining way.  Makes us laugh, makes us cry, or hold us in suspense.  In some form or another, entertain us with the mundane.

I had a conversation with someone recently, a blogger, and it brought up memories of sayings that namely my step father used to say to me.  Oh yes it comes to me now ah yes how could I forget Traces of the Soul, where I always seem to have my deep conversations and generally get in trouble.  She had posted something about her Grandmama and I just love the sound of her.  Some might think the things said outrageous but having been brought up in a household like mine, I did not and embraced every part of her personality.

I do pre-warn bits of what I am about to say might be rude, or frowned upon or offend, but this is my childhood memories and apt I think for the prompt.  I hope we are all grownups here, grins.

So I grew up in a household when I was not at boarding school, with my step father and mother.  My mother sent me away saying that she thought my step father was too old and that I would find him boring.  I don’t really quite believe that reason, but there was no point dwelling on it, especially seeing as at one school I could virtually walk home, I lived nearer than any of the other day girls, and in fact my last year at school I threatened not to do well in my exams unless I was allowed to become a day girl and I loved every second of it.  I did pass my exams, yes.

thatched cottage

My fairy tale home to be

I lived in a small cottage that was very quaint, with a river running beside the garden, various animals etc.  My step father was Catholic, my mother veered towards agnostic and atheist, she could never make up her mind, yet I was sent to a Catholic school, ie Convent but baptised Church of England, very confusing yes.

When I was at home, everyone was what I call prudish physically, ie I never saw my mothers body, nor my step fathers, the latter probably a good thing, just because.  However when I was packed away during the Summer holidays to stay with my father and Austrian step mother, she took every opportunity to strip off and even did the cooking naked which I found quite disturbing.

it's a lonely place

My step father

Anyway I digress, my step father taught me early on in life to “stick to my beliefs and fight for what I thought was right”.  He drilled this in to me, little did he know, nor did I that it would be the cause of our relationship ending.

So for embarrassing or shocking moments, here are some phrases and encounters I had as a child:

I was sat in the sitting room.  A young boy, maybe two years older than me came to visit I think his parents were in the house.  I went to a Convent so was not used to boys but sat there listening to conversations as one did.  It was just him, my step father and me.  He was unfortunately at the teenage and rather spotty, though i dare say still handsome.  My step father being him said to him “you know how to get rid of those spots young man?”  The boy went bright red of course, who wants to have someone talk about their spotty face.  He said “go sew some oats that will get rid of those spots.”  The boy then went scarlet I knew what he meant as did he…what a thing to say…I wanted the ground to swallow me up I am sure he did too!

My step father used to say to me regularly the following:

  1. “when I want your opinion I will rattle the cage”
  2. “why don’t you jump in to the river and see how long it takes you to get to the sea”
  3. “why don’t you go and play on the motorway”
  4. “children should be seen but not heard, in your case not seen either”

I am sure there are some more, they will come to me later perhaps!

Another time, my mother had a friend around, Francis was her name.  I must have been 11 or something.  We had those soda streams, that had those gas canisters.  Now I don’t know why my step father said this, but he had one that was empty and threw it to Francis.  He said “catch this, it is a dildo!”  She caught it, laughed then gave it to me and said “get rid of this would you dear”.  I thought oh well that was obviously a funny thing to say so I walked in to the kitchen and called my mum, got my hand ready and threw it at her, shouting “catch this mummy it is a dildo”  she looked in horror at me and didn’t catch the canister.  She said, “what did you say?”  I repeated it and saw the horror on her face, I then told her that my step father had said that to Francis, I am a bit blank after that LOL.


Another time I overheard a conversation, my step father was complaining that he had found a Johnny in the river.  You know how things get distorted and as a child I sort of muddled it up and obviously didn’t know what a johnny was.  I went to school and over lunch, at a table full of children and in those days teachers actually used to sit with us.  I could never usually think of anything interesting to say but this day I actually had something, I said “you know there was a body in the river”  they were obviously quite shocked and asked me how I knew.  I told them that the body was called Johnny.  The teacher queried this, that was when I think the correct sentence came out of which of course she was in horror…..yeh me in trouble yet again!


My step father would never allow us to get a video on hire from the shop, said it was a waste of money.  We had some videos at home but all boring ones, nothing new that he would buy.  One day however, by fluke i was allowed to hire a video to watch and better still i was allowed to watch it in my parents room which never happened.  They must really have wanted to get me out of the way.  I watched the video but then something terrible happend.  It got stuck.  OMG I knew the trouble I was going to be in.  My step father got it out, the film was dangling out of the tape.  It was justification for the rest of his life never to hire another video tape again.  He dragged me to the tape hiring shop and slammed the video down on the desk. He then said to the woman that that tape could have ruined his machine.  The woman said in a pleasant voice “sorry love would you like a free one?”  Oh boy…….oh boy….my step father turned around and said “I am not your LOVE”  he virtually spat the words out, he said “if you wish to address me in future, you will call me Sir!!!”””  I wanted to die…as a kid, I just found this horrendous and wanted the ground to swallow me up…

So that was what life was like for me as a child, full of colour, activity and hearing lots of things I shouldn’t have quite obviously been listening to!

Thank you for reading, Justine x

© Justine @ Itisalonelyplace.wordpress.com

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