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blog 12. My teenage years,

Published by Lamont D in the blog Lamont D's blog. Views: 403

Well here goes, with the next chapter of my young life.
School.

I left you hanging there, something that probably changed my life and I believe hindered my adult life in a major way.
My slip off the roof of the shed.
I breezed through my primary school, I passed the 11+, and I looked to have a bright future, but that fall did something that I hadn't realised until to late. Looking back, I know that my brain didn't work like it did before the accident, I had a decent IQ, but for some reason I couldn't quite match the others in my class, my grades (an Americanism) fell and my behaviour in school was temperamental bordering on disobedience.
My grammar school education didn't get off on the best foot, as I hated the privileged system, where class mattered more than merit I was naive to think that masters treated every boy the same. There was a couple that suffered the peasants, but only the head games master was interested in our abilities.
I suffered dreadfully in sciences and technical studies, things I had found easy were hard, and some subjects, the ones I liked, history, geography, maths and chemistry, were beginning to get beyond me. I tried, really tried. But I slumped. As a result my schooling fell behind.
In my Technical Grammar school, it was definitely the same as boarding public schools. The head boy could hand out punishments even canings to fags. (First years). Any teacher could give corporal punishment for any infringement. I had six of the best three times, twice for fighting, both times holding my corner while being bullied and abused by my elders and betters. And once for failing to do any homework for physics, because the teacher failed to let me understand it. He deliberately ignored my concerns about the way the homework should be set out and didn't provide the literature for discovery.
As I said from the area I grew up it was a big deal to get a place at grammar school, and I'm afraid, it should never had happened, I just wasn't cut out for it. I was already, a jumped up 'red' as my totally right wing masters were fond of telling me.
Why this school allowed lower class rubbish like me, they couldn't understand it!
In my first year, I had seen schoolkids of eleven bullied, brutalized, battered by older boys and especially masters who used a whole range of tools to hurt you. Including board dusters, metal edge rulers, cold showers in the nude, standing in the cold and rain, the cane, the whip, slipper, gym shoe, and the like.
You were made to play rugby and run cross country, no exceptions, and that was cruel on some of the kids. I would actually say it was a kind of class war, by the time comprehensive schools began, all the lads were destined to work manually for their livelihoods by the fifth year, none went to sixth form, quite a few went to night school to get trades and apprenticeships. But I am getting ahead of myself. I did enjoy my school years despite the struggle intellectually. My sporting years was up and down, I played rugby, cricket, swimming, basketball and in athletics and cross country, eventually won my full colours by my fifth year, though I never got to wear them as my parents couldn't afford the excessive cost of the barathea blazer, I had the tie which was half colours. My cross country best was 28th in the county school trials, not bad.
Cricket was snobs only until the master seen me play in games, I was told that I had to play in whites, but my eldest brother, who had trials with Lancashire, but they didn't take him on because he went to the wrong grammar school. He had plenty from his cricket club and, I was excepted into the team. Me and my brothers excelled in cricket, between us we had quite a few representative honours.
I thought that now was my chance to shine, but I didn't get much chance with bowling and few chances to bat as I was always down the order, at the end of my second year in the team, I approached the head sports master and asked him why I was so far down the batting order, that I had never been dismissed yet. He said he would look into it. The next season, I went up to number 5 to appease me. I did represent my county just once, didn't bat or bowl, though I did run someone out. I played cricket for a local park team until my work interfered and football, and of course, the wife and kids. Other family still play for the same club, my nephew and my son play there in the Liverpool competition, (which is a very good standard, just below professional) and two of my grandkids also are playing junior cricket and one is very good all rounder.
I did try to better myself and get my schooling up to standard, I failed sadly and I knew and my parents knew, so I was told to try and find an apprenticeship that suited me, though having six subjects for homework didn't help, that was every day!
My love for history and local geography wouldn't get me a job in local industry. My head was turned by printing, and so I turned every available hour that didn't have school work, sport or going on adventures with my mates, busy with library visits to learn as much as I could.
I had some good friends then in school, those that weren't put off by my standing in social life and one or two that I still see every now and then, there was some in my form that never did speak to me from the first day to last. I lost a good school mate of mine in the Falklands war. But these fellow pupils were the ones who transferred to different grammar schools when my school went comprehensive.
We had some good times in school, and there were some decent things that happened to me in school.
I believe that even though my IQ stayed level it didn't grow and my reasoning was hampered by my landing on my head.
I even struggled in things like algebra, I didn't get the concept, trigonometry, square roots etc. Before that accident my maths were really good, my English was fairly good, handwriting very good. It all went away.

Away from school my adventures to my local area grew with getting a bike one Christmas, it let me go to places that were too far to walk. And to meet other kids and enjoy their company and make new friends. My travels took me to gain a knowledge and history of my very rich historical naval history in my area. It's really a pity that my school didn't have an exam in local history and local geography. Also in sport knowledge.
My sport outside school had me playing Saturday morning football, for my local youth club.,
There are just too many adventures to tell, I would be writing for days. One that stands out is memorable.
I was always interested in the soul music, northern soul and tamla Motown sound, my first ever disco at the local church, which turned out to be my last for a while, I was really loving the experience and wanted nothing more than to listen and have a good time.
I had pleaded with my mother to go and won her over with promises of time and behaviour.
Well, you can see what happens can't you. I got caught up in a mass scramble, a petty trivial teenage tiff turned into a free for all ruckus.
Of course as a bystander, I was the one, who got his collar felt, and despite my innocent pleadings to the police and my mother, I was grounded for months, mind you I was only fourteen!
I was a mod by then, I could only afford certain things, but a Ben Sherman shirt, blue and white gingham was my pride and a pair of jeans called supertuf from a local Liverpool jeans manfacturer, that was my summer clothes to go to the local open air swimming baths, I spent all my free time there, even when it was raining and cold, it was brilliant and I learned my street cred in the intense environment of the resort business. Getting away from the poverty and my chores, day to day living with no money hampered my life.
I would be first up especially in the winter, clean and lay, the fire, then light it and make sure that my parents got away to work without fuss, I would rinse the breakfast dishes, then my school day would start with a 3 mile bus ride.
I would get home,then do the shopping from the grocers across the road, or the butchers and once a week mostly on a Friday chippie chips between us. I would have to have the table done for tea and make sure every chore was done before spending the evening struggling with my homework. Before bed.
It wasn't till I was fifteen that my evenings changed and I was allowed out.
I don't believe that having a hard family life affected my life and it taught me to respect things that you have to work so hard for.
It certainly helped me to be a better parent than mine and helped me grow as an adult with work and responsibilities.
My last year in school it was all to do with exams, sport and play took a backward step, I really revised my subjects despite my struggles, I achieved 2 o levels in history and art (?) 4 gcse, in geography, maths, English and chemistry.
No technical subjects though, I believe my school failed me in some ways, I blame the system, that class is more important than merit! But I have no regrets, I think I learned more in the next couple of years, especially nous and common sense. The way of the world in the workplace and to achieve anything you had to work hard for it.
I passed my entrance exam to be an apprenticeship to be a printer, but I couldn't find a firm to take me on. So I did what any person needed to do as at that time work was plenty and got myself as a machinists helper at £8 per week. I learnt to do so much in my first job, machine minder, actually learnt to set up the whole printing process on small machines, from lithography, artwork, paper recognition and printing and collating, bookbinding and packing, ink knowledge and quality control. I still can think the process through even off my head now after 40 years. I even had use of one of the first computerised paper cutting guilotines.
I lasted just over a year there till I found a better paid job at a larger printers, in the paper stores, where I learnt a
great Deal more, my mentor, Tommy, I could actually do his whole job within a couple of months and probably run his department better soon after. But things intervened in my life and my working life changed at eighteen.
From the day I left school, I started work the next Monday, till the day I retired, and I'm still working hard now, I have never had a day on the dole. That is an achievement in itself by a manual worker in Merseyside. I have always provided more than enough for my kids, as I would never allow my kids the poverty I was brought (or dragged) through. This country is so arse about face!
Ok now that's basically my teenage years, oh yeah, I did say something about The Beatles and the ferries, well, it wasn't me, the Beatles, I preferred other music. I did get the chance in the early seventies, but I couldn't be bothered ,I wasn't into them at all!
Beatlemania, had those around me, in a tizz. It was good for the Merseyside area, but it didn't really affect me.
The ferries got me to Liverpol city centre quicker than anything else as there was no cross river buses then, there was only one tunnel then, and I grew up around the building of the second, my brother worked on it as a labourer. The railway was too far away then, I don't think I used the rail to travel until I was at least 15. However the ferry got me to the big football games at Everton and Liverpool. And I rode on it often to the local resort New Brighton.
I think that will do for now, maybe, I will write further of some of my adventures, of playing in the park and hanging out in some interesting places. And maybe my love life. And my paternal life.
Who knows?

Thanks for reading!
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