I'm on this freaking relic of a puter at work today and I'm having to baby it along with little pats and softly uttered urgings in order to keep it from doing the "bad" thing. Also, since Tuesday is the deadline for taxes and the last day we'll be open this year, I'm down to one phone line so I try not to tie it up for very long.
I really enjoyed another trip down memory lane last evening and will try to answer the questions that were in my comments section.
I have not been back to England since I left there in February, 1971. While in Holland almost 8 years ago, I thought about going for a few days, but then decided against it because I really didn't think I'd have been satisfied with only a short trip so perhaps I'll do it someday.
The sights and sounds and experiences of just being in a country with such a long history were the best parts of my stay. I was not happy living with my father. My stepmother and I did not get along very well and my father was, and has always been, one of those people who can only seem to find fault and never the good in anyone. I spent 41 years of my life trying not to be "faulty" and finally said, "fuck it" and only then began to realize that all along it has been a problem with him and not me. (funny how I married someone VERY similar to him!).
While living with them during that time, brother # 4 arrived. I was almost 16 when he was born and he took to me like a little cuckleburr so I was like a second momma to him. I don't see my brothers too often now since I have only spoken to my father a couple of times in the past 7 years. The #2 brother has little to do with my father and I guess of the 4, he understands most how I feel.
I made friends with the kids in the area and had a few friends at school. My best friend was Susan, our landlord's daughter, with whom I still stay in touch. Her family was pretty much my lifeline when things were bad at home and I'll always be thankful that I had them. Her dad and brothers were the village butchers and since we lived just across the drive from the butcher shop, I'd often wake in the mornings to hear Mr. Day singing at the top of his voice as he got on with his chores.
Susan is very shy, very quiet, while I have never been shy and most certainly have never contained my enthusiasm for much of anything. She brought me down to earth, I took her on adventures. We were pretty much the Cheech and Chong of Alconbury Weston (without the joints). Since it was the late 60's and early 70's, we went to discos and occasionally a movie, or on shopping trips to the closest outdoor market, but mostly we just had a good time hanging out together. In exchange for shopping with her, she would go with me to the old churches and cemetaries that I liked wandering through.
Once we were at this disco where we ran into a guy that she had a huge crush on from school. Being the understanding friend that I was, I agreed to dance with his friend so that she could get to know this guy a little better. They asked if they could take us home and although I didn't like the friend at all I figured it wouldn't hurt as long as we stayed together. The contriving shits drove right past her house and parked in a little spot down by the river. I'm giving Susan these "eye" signals during this time and she is trying to pretend not to notice. The guys got out to pee and immediately I'm hanging over the back seat whispering, "what in the hell are they planning? Susan I'm not making out with this freak!!" She asked me to just go along with them for a little while so that maybe the guy would ask her out. I agreed and the boys are coming back to the car. As soon as that asshole I was stuck with opened the door, he made his move. He was on my side of the car before I could even say no so I pushed him. I guess he hadn't closed the door very well cause when I pushed, he was suddenly outside the car, on his back, with his feet still in the seat. Needless to say, when he got back in the car the date was over. They took us home in a hurry and Susan never did go out with that guy. But she only stayed pissed for a little while.
So there you go, the British Isles once entertained a country gal from Arkansas and they left their mark on her. And just maybe, she left a little bit of country there with them (grin).