22 June 2008

School Years

Progressing through school, it became apparent my handwriting was never going to be that good due to motor skills. Teachers found my writing ineligible, and hard to read for marking. It was decided I should learn to type. I have used a typewriter since I was 8 years old, at school and home.

My school was a junior and senior school in one building. I moved through school at a steady pace. Where my disability was concerned, physiotherapy was ongoing. While in junior school, I went horse riding at a riding centre, at Buckingham Palace mews. When sitting on a horse, I did exercises to co-ordinate upper body balance. Whilst at the riding school, I had the opportunity to see close up, the Queens Golden stage coaches, which are still being used for state occasions today.

From the age of ten I started swimming. Our school organised swimming trips at a local sports centre, once a week. Then it was decided to have our own swimming pool built attached to the school. We all helped raise the money towards the pool being built. Every pupil was sent home with a yellow labeled collection tins. At the time my grandmother worked in a cafe in a local market arcade. I can remember the yellow labelled tin sitting on the counter for people to make a donations. Once enough money had been collected, the building work commenced. From the school hall, through huge windows, we first saw, the ground being cleared, then the foundations and pipes being laid. Next came the red bricks which gradually formed the walls. It was an exciting time for us, as the pool was to be officially opened by celebrity Jimmy Savile. Months passed, then finally the pool was ready. Being purpose built for disabled children, it had two ramps for wheelchair users, or those who walked, but could not climb stairs. One ramp took you up to a sort of platform which had the second ramp going into the pool itself. I was never able to swim unaided as I found it difficult to learn to float, so had to always wear an inflatable rubber ring. The temperature of water was very warm and relaxing, I remember having enjoyable swimming sessions in the school pool.

Around the age of 11, while attending physio sessions at the hospital. The physiotherapist treating me, suggested I go to a boarding school. I was totally against the idea, as I hated the thought of leaving home. I was very happy at school and home, so why change that. Because I made my feelings on the matter very clear, it wasn't pursued any further.

Since birth, my weight, height and disability were checked regularly at appointments, to the hospital outpatients clinic, and then reviewed by a consultant. My right leg had always had problems with weight bearing. When standing, my right leg would rise up into a bent position, so I would look similar to a Stork. A surgeon examined me, to see if any surgery could be carried out. The consultant thought my hamstring was to tight and required an operation to loosen them. After investigation, it was decided that an operation would have little effect, or accomplish any improvement. And an initial result following surgery, will only be temporary and not permanent. Therefore, continuing physio was the only route to follow.

As I approach my teens, I became very interested in fashion and make-up. I was always good at reading, and enjoyed teenage magazines. One very popular magazine during the seventies was called Jackie. Magazines became a passion of mine, as I would study and ponder the models showing latest fashion trends. Then I became obsessed with cosmetics. As time went on, I experimented with make-up to see if I was able to apply it well, and to my surprise I could. I remember well known cosmetics brands out then, such as, Avon, Rimmel, and famous vintage perfumes by Faberge' and Lentheric. My favourites were Kiku and Tweed. And Avon did a range of products mainly for children named, Peaches and Cream.

My interest in music gathered pace during my teens. I went through the phase of having my walls covered with pictures of pop stars, from floor to celling. It was a time of incessant Rock and Pop music. The decade of the seventies, served as a period of me liking all sorts of music in the beginning. I started with Cliff Richard, which now seems ridiculous for a young teenager. But, I moved on to the likes of Slade, Bay City Rollers, David Cassidy and The Osmands and more........ Then I discovered Soul Music, in the form of Motown from America, as well as Disco. At this point all my wall posters were torn down, and thrown away.

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