‘Notes of a Childhood’: Early Days, the Best of Times

Last semester I did a writing creative nonfiction class in which one of the tasks was to write a small response to a different prompt each week. Seeing as the semester is over I can now post this piece from week one. This week we had to write a ‘Notes of a Childhood’ poem/list. This was my take on the prompt!

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At first only Me; Mummy, Daddy, and Me.
Two years of quiet and then,
Half the attention but double the fun.
I talk to Mummy’s feet now,
As my sister has her arms.

England now.
Waking up in the dark for school,
Immaculate uniforms,
Shirt, skirt, duffle coat, and a beret of sorts to boot.
Socks drying in the microwave? …socks no more.
Porridge with golden syrup – hello dentist!
Or maybe Maccas if we’re running late,
Driving those narrow, winding lanes.

Walks, so many walks.
To ‘Plaxtol Disney Land’, the ‘Sheep Walk’, and more.
If not in the garden, then what is the point?
– Grass fishing
– Hide and seek
– Tea parties with teddies
– The trampoline

Despite this,
Such endless bickering,
Sisters, hey?
Poor Mum…
When will it stop?

They read us Harry Potter each night.
My favourite part of the day!
“It’s Her-myon-e not Her-meowne!”
(Dad never really got it right; I think he meant to, just to annoy us, to make us laugh.)

Back in Australia.
We pick out Dad’s shirt, tie, and cufflinks for work each night.
Our choices perfect…
Nearly every time!
My favourite was the purple shirt, Evelyn’s the white.

I read Harry Potter myself now.
Now finished in one weekend to avoid spoilers.
Dumbledore’s death rudely revealed to me in a school assembly of 2005
…I’m still bitter about that

More walks with Mum, and now a dog,
A groodle called George,
He’s a massive softie.
Always lots of grumbling on my part,
But reluctantly happy in the end.
“That was the best walk Mum!”

First time I see Dad cry,
Part of me hopes it’s the last.
New town, two houses, separate families.

“Things can only get better!” I say to Ev, she could never cope with change.

Me however, being older, I had to.

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Book Review: Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford

bad-behaviourGoodreads Blurb:

It should have been a time of acquiring confidence, building self respect and independence, of fostering a connection with the natural world through long hikes…

A gripping, compulsively readable memoir of bullying at an elite country boarding school.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

Reading Bad Behaviour off the back of The Golden Child was either an interesting coincidence or just not a very well thought out decision on my part. I do not regret reading this memoir, more than that, I am so glad I did, but I feel there is a certain waiting time that I should have taken before reading a book of such a similar strain. The more I think about it now however, the more I come to realise that whenever I read it, I would still be just as shaken.

In writing Bad Behaviour, Rebecca Starford has written something which is incredibly, but beautifully raw. She paints a brutal picture of the pack mentality which can develop within large groups of school girls and how that can affect the victims of the resulting bullying. Her year spent in a Victorian boarding school not only brought out a side of herself which she never thought she had, but also left her scarred.

For me, this memoir left a much deeper impression than I could ever have expected. The scenes and actions of the girls a reminder of the first couple of years at my own all girls’ high school. Though for me and my year of girls the bullying never got as bad, it was all still was painfully familiar, and not just the group dynamic but the people as well. Despite this, it was written in such a way that even though the events recorded were true enough, to me they felt almost surreal. So that in finishing this book I was left with the feeling of waking up from a bad dream.

Reading the breakdown of the relationship between Rebecca and her mother however was what most struck a chord with me. It is something which I found to be the most heartbreaking to read. Lastly Rebecca Starford’s memoir is poignant, deep, and a real insight into the turmoil which teens experience and work through at this age. Beautifully written, this memoir something which I am sure will stay with me for quite a while.