There weren’t many happy or stress-free times in my life with my family, there were a few, but we didn’t get to go out and do things like normal families do.
This isn’t anyone’s fault, we were a large family with no money.
When I left home and went to college, I had my first real outings and ‘fun’.
I remember going bowling for the first time, when I was 17, to me it was awesome, I was not sure of myself, afraid I would be shown up as I simply had no idea even about exchanging my shoes for bowling shoes.
But I seem to remember that it went well enough for me to want to go bowling again after that, and have always enjoyed it, although I had dire bowling experiences in Jersey.
Other wonderful outings were with Youth Group, we went ice skating and I developed an absolute love for that, I used to skate at every opportunity in my mid 20s, when I was living a few miles from the rink.
Youth group also went bowling, and swimming, and I remember how wonderful it was to be there, to be part of it, to join in, to be included, and they were wonderfully inclusive, they brightened my life.
Ski-Bobbing: This was one of the best Youth Group Trips! We went ski-bobbing on the dry ski-slopes in the New Forest, it was an experience, going speeding down the hill on the ring things, it was awesome fun! And we had a nice meal afterwards, what you call a basket meal, the others were used to all this, of course, and some of them watched the skiiers on the other slope, because a number of the youth group could ski, but it seems no matter how well off you are, fun is universal and we all enjoyed ski-bobbing and speeding down the hill on the ringoes.
Thank you for including me, it made life better for me.
Cinema: I didn’t go to the cinema until G. my lovely boyfriend took me to the cinema, and he liked action films, of course, all gangsters and drugs, and his dad was a police officer, so G’s dad, driving us home from the cinema, had to listen to us planning a drugs haul like in the movie we had seen, he was most amused.
G. Was a sweet well behaved young gentleman, I must write about him some time. We went out for a few years and never once did he behave improperly. Good man.
But once I had learned cinema and worked out how to get a seat on my own and away from others, I really enjoyed it and went when I could, but not to see gangster films unless I was with G. I prefer comedy and children’s films. Although in Jersey, my friend who had labelled me a vigilante, took me to see ‘Kickass’ because she thought it was my kind of film, and actually, I did find it interesting, I did not enjoy the sequel so much.
Well, you have the 21st Birthday story elsewhere in the blog, so I wont redo that.
There were so many parties and events in the village, many of which I helped with, as best I could, I remember helping to do hundreds of bacon rolls and wash hundreds of plates and other things one Saturday at a fundraising event for Romania, run of course by our then Mission Support Leader, the one who was convicted of child abuse and porn, and who I am supposed to be the same as because of my disability, and who the Korris report churned out some incomprehensible nonsense about to cover up and condemn me.
Ah, but that was one of many lovely mornings spent on community events.
The main parties out of the many many parties, were the barn dances, and my friends’ parties.
The barn dances were another lovely time for me, having grown up without such events, it was all such fun! the music, the dancing, usually some of the youth group were there, and we had such fun, although they knew what a conga was, and I did not, so they had to teach me.
Two of the couples I was friends with, had Christmas parties every year and various garden parties in the summer, and I loved to help out.
The Christmas parties especially were part of my happier times and certainly part of my Christmas for 10 years or so.
One party would be on the Sunday before Christmas, I think, and I would stand at the door, greet everyone, because this was scripted, and the only way really, for me to be able to talk to people, and so, I would take their coats and put the coats upstairs in the spare room, which my friend referred to as ‘my room’ because I sometimes stayed over.
When the coats were pretty much done and almost everyone was there (there were always people arriving later on), I would hand round snacks and things along with the family doing the same, and generally I would stay by the door for latecomers and people leaving, finding the right coat for the right person was always fun.
Then the other party at Christmas was Christmas eve, people arriving in the late morning for lunchtime, I think.
Again I would stand by the door, take coats, respond politely to the usual comments about my ‘job’ of taking coats, and again I would hand out food as well.
Usually I would stay on and look at the tree with all it’s decorations, and then it would be Christmas and whatever the plans were for the rest of the day, night or whatever.
The Village also had a Christmas party, the day before Christmas eve, every year, it was more than a party it was a kind of talent and variety show, and comedy, acting and all kinds of things went on, really well done and well run, great fun, although in the end it kind of lost it’s magic for me. Again I would help in the kitchen, with refreshments and mainly taking trays of wine round and collecting the glasses afterwards during the interval.
It was a delight and a special time for me, to be part of all that, and although it is cloaked in the sadness of being defamed and driven out and shunned thanks to Jane Fisher and JM between them, the memories were real and remain.