The Early Good Years

I was fortunate as our family were privileged, my parents had wonderful lives and were very generous, we went on some lovely holidays together and I had a happy childhood, quite a lot of parties with family and friends too. 

A Phobia

I do have a phobia, which can be embarrassing, as I have great difficulty controlling my fear of wasps.  This relates back to an awful day late Summer when I was young.  I was so proud that I could tie my own shoelaces and had even learned how to make a double knot, so that they would never come undone.  But on one particular day, I had both shoes tied tightly, ready to go to school, when I suffered such a stinging pain in my right foot, between my big toe and the next toe.  I desperately tried to take my shoe off, but it was certainly not easy because of the double knot.  Before my shoe was removed, I was stung a second time!  

A wasp was inside, it was half dead, when my mother finally got my shoe off.  But I was in agony - my foot and two toes swelled up, for such a long time. 

Hurt by a kite

Unfortunately, I had two traumas with my right foot whilst quite young.   The second one happened a year or two after the wasp stings, when I had received a present of a large 'traditional box kite' that was an oblong shape.  There were four narrow long aluminium rods with the fabric stretched over them, so that once assembled it looked like two colourful open-ended boxes next to each other, with a small gap between them, in total it was about five foot long.  It proved rather difficult to get it to fly, so my father had a go and succeeded in flying it quite high over our tennis court at Woodbourne Road.  

It went remarkably high up, but suddenly the wind changed, and it came racing down fast towards us.  I remember whilst looking up at it, that it appeared to be coming straight for me, so I ran towards the other end of the tennis court, thinking it would miss me . . . it did not!  I had stopped running believing I was safe, when it landed right next to me, but one aluminium rod had gone straight through my leather shoe and into my right foot! 

After all these years I still have the scar.   I must have passed out, because I do not remember what happened next, but I suspect I was taken to hospital.  I never saw that kite again!

Boarding School

But I was not fond of my school days, only 'Beaconsfield' the Jewish boarding school was interesting, but I hated leaving home every time the holidays came to an end. 

My life changed for the better, when I became the Junior sports champion, I was quite good at athletics, particularly at jumping and running the sprint (not so good at long distance) after this I was suddenly quite popular.  

Beaconsfield Boarding School

Beaconsfield Boarding School

But the headmaster one half term, disappeared with all the school funds and the school closed - never to reopen!  The students had come from all over the UK as there were very few Jewish boarding schools and we only knew each other by our first names, so I lost contact with all those that were not from Birmingham. 

My dear parents desperately had to find another school at short notice and the only one I could go to was Greenmore College, a day school, very mixed, but there was hardly anyone else that was Jewish there.  This school no longer exists, but I was aware of some particularly nasty bullies there (two later ended up in prison).  However, this was where I met my best friend Bob, who lived within a few minutes' walk from my home in Knightlow Road.  After the exams aged sixteen I was so glad to get away.  

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