Living with an uninvited guest; the onset of madness?
When I was about eight years old I desperately wanted to be a nudist. I used to wander about the house, an upstairs flat at the time, in the altogether and stand at the windows wondering if anyone could see me. In my nakedness. My prepubescent body would tingle with electricity as I imagined being spied upon. It was always most exciting when my parents were home. I had to get bare, evade my parents and simultaneously expose myself at windows with open curtains. My mother was an unabashed prude. Nakedness was somehow dirty. Like a peep show in Victorian England. Probably pornographic in her estimation. And because she didn’t like it I felt all the more titillated by the act. Then one day I was spoken to very sternly and it was explained to me that such behaviour is unseemly, somehow indicative of unfavourable mental health issues. I was exhorted to desist forthwith. And that was how my career as a nudist was nipped in the bud, so to speak. I was terrified of being shipped off to some ghastly Asylum to be experimented upon by the Dreaded Psychiatrists.
Going about fully clothed seemed like a good trade off. Phew, I’d had a close call there.
I was very taken with the exploits of Biggles in his WWI Sopwith Camel. Biggles was a flyer with the Royal Flying Corps in the 1914 – 18 war in Europe. He cut an heroic figure in his leather flying helmet, gloves and fur-collared flying jacket. Goggles and a scarf topped out his sartorial splendour as he dispatched Boche Fokker Triplanes and the like with admirable aplomb. These stories came in picture comics, nowadays called Graphic Novels, brought in from England by Central News Agency, now known as CNA. My father had served in the Royal Air Force and he indulged me with these story picture books every week. I became an avid collector and worshipped every fibre of the Biggles character. I lived in my imagination vicariously connected to Biggles through the pages of my weekly comics.
Looking back, with the benefit of hindsight, I wonder if my parents noticed this. Probably not if truth be told. Dad was orphaned at an early age and Mom was the youngest of six in a well-to-do family in which alcoholism was rampant. Neither one of them ideally suited to the raising of children. But then, I’d been a mistake; my mother was told by doctors that she’d never have children. So their lives were sorted, no offspring to worry about and just the pair of them to do as they pleased. And then, WHAM! After five years of connubial bliss I arrived to spoil the party. And what a party it was if the stories that I’ve heard are to be believed. But that is their story and it’s not for me to tell. Well, not here, at least.
So, there we were a wee family of three muddling along at a steady rate. Well, for the parents at least. I was experiencing a winter of discontent although I didn’t know it yet. And winter was about to get a whole lot worse. But that’s for another time.
Thanks for popping by. It’s been fun.