Well day Ten’s exercise is upon us,
admittedly I have missed a few in between Day five and ten (in fact, all of them lol, due to the exhuastion from my Lupus, but I do intend to add them along the way).
For now though, on with Day Ten whose Title is: Happy (Insert Special occasion here.)
The prompt is: Tell us something about your favourite childhood meal
The twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice
So here goes:
now I don’t actually have a favourite childhood meal, since for most of my childhood the only decent meal I would have on a daily basis, was my free school lunch, Monday to Fridays. Weekends meant hunger and a stomach pain that only those who have known real hunger can understand. Summer times were worse, unless we were allowed to go and stay for weeks on end at various cousin’s houses. Those times were great and form some of my most valuable and enjoyable memories.
My mother was an alcoholic and my enduring memory of secondary school years, is of her sitting every day with three bottles of three barrels Brandy. Not all three bottles were full, each would have a different volume of brandy in them depending on when they had been opened. She would head out to the pub at night and stagger home drunk, clutching a chicken supper in her hand. Woe betide anyone who dared to ask for a chip or piece of chicken from it. She would sit eating it in front of us, having woken us up from sleeping in our beds, knowing full well that we were hungry, having not eaten since lunchtime at school and that we would not eat again until lunch time the next day.
The money she was given by the government for us, her children, didn’t make it to the table for food or even for clothes. I wore trousers that had holes in the knees and shoes that flapped at the front because they had worn away from the soles. I learned to put a pair of socks on then a plastic bag over the sock and another sock over the plastic bag to hide the bag. This was to try to keep my feet dry when it rained.
My mother was not a happy drunk and I learned at a very early age how to gauge her mood and when to get the hell out of dodge, to avoid the fist that would head my way for no reason, should I be in the room when she decided that she needed a punch bag.
A meal that I do remember, happened when I was about 12 years old and had gone down to my paternal Grandma’s house to visit my cousins, who had come up from Cambridgeshire during the school summer holidays. My father had been killed in an accident on the farm when my mother was pregnant with me and my sister was a year old. My paternal Grandad and Grandma went up to Brora to bring my mother and sister and my father’s body back down to Edinburgh. We lived with my Grandma at various times throughout our lives, when my mother would find a new boyfriend. At that point we would be dumped on my Grandma’s doorstep, in the early hours of the morning, along with a black bag filled with our meagre belongings, until my mother would realise once again, that if she didn’t have us living with her, she was no longer entitled to money and a rent free house. In her eyes we were merely a means to money and something to vent her vitriolic hate and physical anger on and nothing more sadly.
I had a black eye on that particular occasion that I mentioned above, when I visited my cousins at my Grandma’s. Whilst we were sat at the dinner table my youngest cousin asked how I had got the black eye. I told her that my mother had given it to me. My uncle then informed me, “we do not discuss such things at the dinner table” and that was the end of that conversation. I never again spoke to any adult members of my extended family about the abuse that we received at the hands of my mother. I knew they did not want to have to address such an issue, better to sweep it under the carpet, let us return back into the bowels of hell and the devil incarnate, while they pretended that everything was normal and okay.
I don’t remember what food we ate at the dinner table that night, it was not the food that left its mark on me. As an adult I’ve never been someone who loves food, for me it is something that I have to eat to stay alive, it is functional rather than pleasurable. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going for meals with friends, but more for the social aspect than for the food, which I can take or leave.
I pondered over whether to blog about this, presenting adults from my childhood in a bad light but then I thought about Anne Larnott’s words, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
So beware oh those from my past, for the need to share my stories, in my voice, is becoming stronger.
It’s starting as a trickle in my blogs, but like any trickle, it will build and grow stronger until the roar of it, rushing out along its way will deafen. Some will find the raw natural beauty and power of it fascinating, maybe even beautiful. Others will hate it or fear it, but whether they hate it or love it, it will be what it will be and having started on its journey, it is now unstoppable.