At last I've finished Jill Dalladays wonderful novel, "The Abbess of Whitby" which Annie lent me ~ it has only taken me this long to read because of the small print ~ I could not read the italics at all ! What with this and Theresa Tomlinson's "A Swarming of Bees," and "The Tribute Bride", I think it is time to re-read The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ~ an Everyman's Library edition, 1934 which I see Daddy passed on to me at Christmas 1971 ~ the print is even smaller than Jill Dalladay's book so hope I can read it. I think that HISTORY at school started at 1066 missing earlier times altogether.
I couldn't get to sleep last night thinking of the many ways I let Georgie down ~ from the age of eleven when she "failed" that bloody eleven-plus ~ being classified as borderline, her Headmaster had the deciding vote, in her case her own father ~ in his wisdom Howard decided she was not grammar school material ~ I should have challenged this decision, asked the Education Department at County Hall for an independent opinion, especially as it turned out later she had the highest IQ of any of them. Howard's explanation was that she was not a reader ~ it was true, she did not have her head in a book every minute of the day as brother Richard did, but Georgie was the brightest button, madly creative ~ sewing, painting, making things, dancing, cooking ~ a joy to have around. Anyway I suspect that seeing herself as a failure and ending up at Danemark Sec Mod, my beautiful daughter set out to be the biggest failure ever ~ she got in with a rough lot ~ by the second form they were playing truant, shop-lifting, and before lobg SEX ! When she left school at sixteen she was five months pregnant ~ a still a dreaded condition in those days, "un-married mother" ~ and with the baby's birth came epilepsy which dogged her for years. Poor old Georgie, so bursting with promise ~ and even after six months with cousins in Australia, it was to take her a good while to recover, get her life back together ~ for some years now and in spite of her lack of qualifications she has had a senior and responsible job with the County Council. But how much more might she have done had she got to, say Art College ! Bloody eleven-plus ! It ruined so many lives, crossing people off as FAILURES before they'd even started.
Funnily enough, having suffered from frequent and violent epileptic fits, regularly coming to in hospital, once Charlotte, the baby which had been given for adoption all those years before, once Charlotte had made contact and come back into her birth mother's life THE EPILEPSY STOPPED ! Caused by bottled-up grief, I think. Of course today nobody bats an eye-lid at teenage mothers and "illegitimate" babies ~ but back then it was heavily frowned on. We could have kept Georgie's baby as a late arrival in the family, but NO, at barely sixteen my Georgie said firmly, "No, Mum ~ you've done your share and I'm clearly not capable of sorting out my own life, never mind a bab'y's" and so adoption it was. Mind, when she came back, Charlie told us her adoptive parents had been wonderful and she could not have had a happier childhood, and yet . . . As with all adopted children, she longed to find her birth mother. And to discover why she had been given away. (I've written about this at greater length in the first blog : www.joypeach.com, see entries 49 and 50)
And one last word before I flop on sofa ~ In spite of all her troubles, Georgie has never NEVER complained or blamed anyone but herself : "It was my own silly fault ..." Meanwhile Richard who had every opportunity : Peter Symonds College, University, followed by Chartered Accountancy qualifications ~ he (egged on by his frightful red-headed Janet) was always full of self-pity : "Janet says I've had a deprived childhood ..." Well then, funny she was always round at our house !! Stupid girl !
Felt ravenous just now and had a glorious lunch ~ the last of the streaky smoked rashers Agi got, with mushrooms and fried bread ~ so yummy and now I must sleep !
Later : OK ~ I blame Howard for her 11+ rejection, for not giving her the benefit of the doubt as he could have done, not asking for an independent opinion. But I was seriously to blame myself ~ it was just at that time when Georgie was going wild that I at last found the courage to join the Chesil Theatre and almost immediately fell under the spell of Fred which blew me away after all those years of uneventful domesticity and dutiful sex ~ I was no longer paying attention to what was going on under my nose ~ maybe things might have been different otherwise. Forgive me, Georgie. I was swept away by sexual awakening, as no doubt you were too. You deserved a better mother.
I hope when you read this you won't be cross with me, love ~ but you are truly the apple of my eye and I have always felt immensely proud of you and the way you coped with everything, particularly Charlie's birth and then parting with her. My darling Georgie xxxxx