Early Lessons never forgotten

Perhaps the boys tricked me at times, I don’t know – but on the whole they were very nice to me. They certainly encouraged the tomboy in me, and I was told that one mustn’t cry ever – if you hurt yourself you should laugh and hide the pain. Since I was three at the time, it surprises me that I simply accepted this and acted on it, and have always so far taken pain in silence- funny if the reason I have done so for 60 years is because my brother told me that was the right thing to do. He could have taught me to curse at pain instead and that would have made my life and me different. Such small bits of guidance can prove to be absorbed so deeply. Another thing I learned very young was that it’s not very clever to lose your temper – I had been playing all afternoon and was probably just about tired of it all, when the last straw reared its ugly head. I was playing with one of my favorite things, a set of thick cardboard squares, with round holes cut out in patterns, into which I placed little clay silvery painted balls to make pretty, geometric designs. Unfortunately, it was frustrating me in some way and I just got so cross with it that I flung the little balls about the room. My Dad came in from work while I was miserably crawling here and there trying to gather up my precious game, and he naturally came to help me, reaching into far corners and moving furniture – if I had lost any pieces I would be unable to complete the designs and was feeling rather desperate. Dad was calming me down all the time and I trusted that it would all be all right because he was on my side, but before we finished he pointed out that such dismay and effort to put things right were likely to result if one really gave in to temper. I thought I’d like to avoid such things in future. I thought my Dad would like me to do so. I knew that was the way he behaved and I very much wanted to be just the same.

Me and my Dad with Maurice at the beach