As part of National Novel Writing Month, (#NaNoWriMo) I've set myself the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel (1700 words a day), consisting of short stories about my memories of primary school. Today I'm writing about my mum and dad in 1975. Just so that you know, all names of people have been changed unless they are publically known. Each story is based on my own memory, so may not be an exact representation of events, especially since I am writing this over 40 years after things happened! But I hope you will enjoy each story all the same, and that perhaps it will spark your own memories of life at primary school.
Unlike most parents, my mum and dad were nowhere near as strict as other parents, and as I grew older my friends told me that I was lucky to have parents like mine because they were so cool and trendy. It wasn’t that I never got told off, because believe me I did and mum would smack my bare bum really hard if I was naughty. I never ever crossed the line with dad. Once you got his serious face, you knew it was time to stop. But I never got grounded or sat on a naughty step or anything like that.
Mum and dad were of the opinion that if they wanted me to behave like a grown up, I should be treated like a grown up, and the good thing about that was that I was allowed to ask them questions, and instead of giving me silly answers like most grown ups d0, mum and dad would answer them, and if they couldn’t answer them, they wouldn’t pretend or make something up, they would just say that they didn’t have the answers, and together we would try and find them. That made my childhood a lot happier because my parents were less complicated than other adults, especially teachers, because if you asked a straight question, you got a straight answer. There was no trying to guess or work out what they really meant.
It never even occurred to me that my parents were any different to other parents, but there was one thing I did differently, which made me seem a little weird…I refused to call my parents ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ and instead I called them the same names that their parents and friends called them ‘Caroline’ and ‘Peter’. My friends might have found this a bit strange, but to me it made perfect sense. For one thing, if I ever got lost in a supermarket, I could just shout ‘Caroline’ or ‘Peter’ and only people called Caroline or Peter would come running to find me. Imagine calling ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, and having every single mum and dad come running, there would be loads of them, or none at all because they wouldn’t know if you were calling for them or for another mum and dad!
My other reasoning was that if I was ever approached by a stranger who wanted to kidnap me, I would know they were lying if they said ‘your mum wants me to pick you up from school’, because if they were a real person and not a nasty stranger, they would say ‘Caroline asked me to pick you up from school’. So even though I am writing about them and calling them ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ in this book, In real life I never ever spoke to them or referred to them like that, because to me it just felt weird. After all they never referred to me as ‘daughter’ or ‘child’ but as ‘Sarah’ or sometimes dad would call me ‘Sar’ for short, which I loved the best.