The thought of writing a memoir had never crossed my mind. I’ve listened intently as members of my writers’ group read from their life writings. One member defied convention and sailed around the world with her children. Another lived in India for years to learn the practice of Ayurveda, a form of traditional Indian medicine. Both fantastic life experiences.
I had never consciously thought about writing about my life but, subconsciously, I had been doing it for years. Blogging under the sub-heading of My Life to Date and How I’ve Survived It. That was the clue.
I’m not someone who has left glittering gongs in my wake, nor have I led an intrepid or inspiring life. I have never been a trailblazer so, why would I want to write about my life? More importantly, why would anybody be interested?
I don’t plan to blame my parents for my ineptitudes and failures. I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person, although some might say, I’m delightfully vague, and I’ve always been quite capable of cocking up my own life, without parental intervention or outside influence. So, as bizarre as it seems, my memoir is not all about me. It is about the people whose lives have touched mine. The people who coped with all manner of adversity and, not only survived but excelled. This will be my fly on the wall account of a select group of people who, I am proud to say, have made me who I am.
There are parts of my life I try not to revisit. I am sure we all have those dismal periods in our lives we try to disassociate ourselves from. The problem is, they tend to have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you. So, it’s good to have an emotional release, such as a punchbag, to vent your frustrations. In my case, I choose to write about them and, sweetening them up with a drizzle of humour has, so far, proved remarkably therapeutic.
I was born with a full head of hair which, much to my mother’s disappointment, was dead straight. So, I was traumatised from a very early age by rag curls and flamboyant hair accessories (see above). My mother had dreamt about giving birth to a girly-girl, and despite inheriting 50% of her genes, it was never going to happen, but she never stopped trying.
When I was five-years-old, my mother took me to the hairdresser to have my hair permed. It wasn’t a happy experience, although my mother took great delight in me looking like a mini her post-perm. The smell of 1950’s perm lotion lingered up my nostrils for weeks afterwards.
When I was eight-years-old, my mother Carmen-rollered my hair, and one got stuck. I became hysterical after she’d spent what seemed like hours trying to unravel it, which was when my father was wheeled in to cut it out.
Initially, as an adult, I suffered from hairdresser-phobia, amongst others.
My mother’s obsession with, my thin, straight hair never stopped. Long after she gave up lambasting my Doc Martens and dungarees, and until the day she died, my hair was the trigger of many arguments between us. My hair now? It’s as straight as my genes – my father’s I’m guessing – intended.
My Life to Date and How I’ve Survived It, is an ongoing project!
ROOTS – I was born in Harrogate, a stone’s throw away from the viaduct on the south side of town. I remember little about the house, as my parents decided to uproot my tender sapling self, aged three and replant me down south.
THE ARK IN MY HEART. As far as my working life was concerned, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Not only was I working for a world-renown organisation, but its headquarters at Les Augrès Manor is in the heart of the lush landscape of the wildlife park. What a place to spend your working day!
As a Concorde enthusiast, I am luckier than most; I flew on her twice, and my late stepfather was Chief Test Pilot, Brian Trubshaw.
It grieves me to say I have no memory of 9th April 1969 – the day Brian and his crew roared along the runway at Filton in 002 lifting her off the ground for the first time. Fifty years ago, I was a horse-obsessed teenager enjoying the Easter holidays. Brian was not yet a part of my life. It would be another three years before he married my mother, and I became an extended member of the Concorde Family.
© 2020 Sally Edmondson