Jenny is currently working full time for a global company where her only writing is of a business nature. She is very much enjoying writing purely for pleasure for the first time in a long time.
I don’t remember much about becoming a teenager although apparently other family members viewed this as a notable milestone. I do remember being given facial care products by my mother; perhaps in anticipation of impending adolescent complexion problems.
I started high school at thirteen – a brand new school near my home. I was one of the foundation pupils. For the first time I had to wear a uniform – a great leveller. Given my minimal wardrobe, the uniform was something of a relief. Our headmistress, Miss Spence had a hand in its design. Clearly she was a fan of TV show, The Avengers. That first day I set off in the February heat wearing my blue, green and black plaid woollen uniform and the ‘must-be-worn-at-all-times-outside-school-grounds’ Emma Peel hat. All the girls arrived at school looking like they were about to take part in the Grand National. In winter, black gloves, black stockings, woollen cardigan and blazer were added to our ensembles.
In an attempt to thwart the obnoxious male students who stood under the stairs in an effort to look up our skirts, we wore strange undergarments known as ‘witches britches’ which had to be regulation navy blue, black or green and reached almost to our knees. Being something of a rebel, I wore pale blue witches britches with black lace.
I do remember the selection of courses on offer was not vast in 1968. I had wanted to study technical drawing with thoughts of architecture in my future. I was told the class was full. All the places were given to boys. I had to study Latin instead. Oddly, neither thirteen-year-old me, nor my parents, thought to question this decision. How times have changed.
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Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)