Graham’s curiosity has led him through a tapestry of diverse occupations and experiences. It is time now to stand back and let patterns and themes emerge from the individual threads.
“They’re the ones you’ve got to watch out for,” my mates would tell the girls, while glancing my way, and giving me a wink; “the quiet ones”.
I made some effort with accordion, guitar, pottery, sailing and rugby, but sparked my father’s other life, previous to children, as a racing driver, my passion for cars dominated my teenage years.
At sleep time in my childhood, the racing heroes of the time hopped down from the gallery on my wall and , accompanied by much “brmmming” from me, raced toy cars around my tartan bedcover until the inevitable bang on the wall; “Go to sleep ! Graham”.
In my teenage years my imaginings became real: At fourteen I bought my first car, much of it in dusty cardboard boxes, and had the little Ford running six months later. Next was an MG sports car that caught fire when I looked at it. A sure sign that I should own it. By fifteen I was competing in a proper racing car and by nineteen a diverse and interesting range of more than twenty cars had passed through my hands.
Hardly a “quiet one” you may be thinking, but the other significant influence on my teenage passage was the absence of the expected boost of testosterone.
My voice refused to break, and the preparatory purchase of shaving cream and blade, was money wasted.
Surprisingly, this hormonal shortage didn’t mean an absence of girls, who soon figured that I was ‘safe ground’; a good listener and comfortable around girls having grown up with three sisters, a male they could talk with and ask questions about the boys they were keen on. I became a ‘pal’ to share their thoughts and troubles with.
The lads, noticing the sports cars I drove to school, came to me for advice about fixing or modifying their cars, and, being unaware of any alternative motive for lengthy and intimate conversation with a female, assumed I was quietly seducing the girls.
I refrained from enlightening them.
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