Chapter Two

Classic teens

When the penny dropped for my Mum and she realised that Syd was never going to leave his wife she eventually ended the relationship.  I was about 9 by now and she met a really nice man called Roy.  My mum was always really protective over my brother and me, particularly Robert as he contracted meningitis as a baby and my Mum and Dad were told to expect the worst.  Fortunately, it turned out to be non-fatal meningitis but from then on my Mum wrapped him in cotton wool and was way too protective.

My Mum and Roy dated for about 4 years and we had some great times, his whole family welcomed us with open arms and loved us.  His sister and brother-in-law Sandra and Dennis were as funny as fuck and used to have us in complete stitches every time we saw them.  Sadly, this relationship ended up finishing when I was about 13 and I think this was due to my Mum’s over-protectiveness of my brother and Roy not really understanding it. 

Around this time Joyce began joining my dad and us on our Saturday days out.  This was fine until one Saturday when we had a misunderstanding.  We were walking around the shops and as a 13-year-old girl I enjoyed looking at the clothes and shoes in the shop windows so I was walking ahead of my Dad, Joyce and Robert, not massively but not with them.  Anyway, when they caught up to me she pulled me to one side and said “if you don’t walk with us like a family, you are not coming out with us on a Saturday again” what the actual fuck, who did she think she was?  This was my and my brother’s day with our Dad, she had him the other 6 days of the week. I was incensed.

I rang my dad at work the next week, told him how upset she had made me, and requested that she not come out with us again.  She had made it me or her and I wanted it to be her.  I didn’t realise this at the time, but it clearly made my dad’s life hell judging by how things started to change.

A few months after my Mum and Roy broke up, Syd was back on the scene, deep joy! Obviously, I didn’t really know him yet as all that went on before was when I was much younger and although I knew a little of what happened at the time I didn’t know how he fitted into it all.  I was about to get to know a lot more about him.

Although he was still married to his wife, his boys would by now be teenagers at least and he clearly had an open relationship with his wife as he was always at our house.  I remember getting home from school one day (I was at secondary school and Robert was still at Primary school) to find my brother naked and standing in the corner of the living room.  My mum was clearly at work and for some reason, Syd must have picked Robert up that day.  I don’t know how long he had been standing like that but Robert told me later it was because Syd was trying to teach Rob to tell the time and when Robert got it wrong he had to stand in the corner, I was repulsed.  I instantly told Robert to put his clothes on, gave him hugs to make him feel better and told Syd I was telling my mum.  What a sadistic twat, who in their right mind humiliates a 10-year-old boy in that way.  He didn’t do it again, in fact, I don’t remember him being in the house with us without my mum again.  She must have really loved him though, or he spun her some shit story.  If anyone had done that to my son their feet wouldn’t touch the fucking ground.

I don’t have any positive things to say about Syd, to be honest, we had cats growing up and he was always a bit mean to them, to the point where he broke one of their tails.  He used to make my skin crawl, even at an early age, I was soon to find out my gut was right.

Joyce never came out with us again on a Saturday or any other day for that matter, I actually didn’t see her for about 2 years.  Instead, her son Lee, he was a year older than me would come out with us sometimes, not often to be fair, usually when he needed new clothes that my dad had to buy for him.  I am sure she deliberately did this to make a point because she had forbidden my dad from spending money on my brother and me.  I knew this because anything my dad did buy for us had to be kept a secret.  To be fair, he used to buy us whatever we wanted within reason, as long as we didn’t tell anyone.  That used to rile me at the time and the only thing stopping me from telling everyone was the love I had for my Dad.  I realised as I got older what a difficult position he was in.  He had to keep Joyce happy since he lived with her and she could make his life a living hell if she wanted to, and he wanted to do things for my brother and me so his compromise was to make us keep secrets.  Not great, but it worked to an extent.  It left me very bitter for a long time and I have had to deal with these demons myself as I never found that I could talk to my dad about it. 

Boyfriends

The first time I kissed a boy I was about 12, God it was awkward and I didn’t even really fancy him.  We used to go roller skating at a place called the Roller Rink on Saturday or Sunday afternoons.  A load of us from school used to go almost every week for quite a while.  Long enough for me to have my own dark blue suede roller boots!  

Gordon a friend of Ste’s asked me out for him, that’s how it used to be in those days “so and so fancies you, will you go out with him” and I said yes because I felt bad saying no.  So, we had our first kiss while at the roller rink.  I went to his house for tea one day the next week, his mum and dad thought it was cute and I had to tell Gordon to tell Ste I was finishing with him, I got the Ick before it was invented! 

We used to go on holiday in the UK, usually to Bournemouth or St Ives in Cornwall.  We did this because my Grandma (Mum’s Mum) wouldn’t fly and we wouldn’t dream of going on holiday without her.  She was an amazing woman.  She never drove so went everywhere on the bus, she used to make loose covers for people’s 3 piece suites and would literally carry rolls of fabric on the bus to her customers.  After my Mum and Dad split up Mum had to go back to work full time so my brother and I used to spend a lot of time with Grandma.  I have some of my best memories from that time.  She used to tell us some great stories about the olden days.

Anyway, it was on one of these holidays to St Ives, we used to stay in a hotel called the Cottage where I met a lovely lad, it must have been 1983 because I remember Every Breath You Take by the Police playing everywhere.  We were stuck together like glue for the whole week (in the most innocent way) and when we were back home we wrote to each other for a while, but it soon fizzled out. 

My next boyfriend when I was 13 was Jarrod, a lad from school.  I was a virgin (as you would expect) and apart from kissing I hadn’t been intimate with a boy and wasn’t ready to be.  I don’t really remember very much about how long we were going out together, but one occasion sticks in my head and has tortured me for years.  A few of us went to the cinema I have no idea what the film was, Jarrod was kissing me and had put his arm tightly around me.  Then he was forcing his other hand inside my jeans, I had my legs crossed and clamped but that did not stop him from doing what he set out to do.  I was mortified, so embarrassed, I didn’t want to make a fuss so stupid me just sat there.  This haunts me 40 years later, I wish I had stood up and shouted no and made a big fuss but that’s not me, I never told anyone and just stored it away.  I made sure I was never in a situation with Jarrod again and I got my cousin, Andrea to ring him a few days later and finish with him for me.

Despite this event having a profound effect on me, I still managed to carry on as normal, I suppose I already had a few things to deal with in my life and I was learning to be strong and just get on with it.  It’s almost like I know it happened to me but I can separate it and kind of rise above it so although I know it happened and it bothers me, it doesn’t stop me from getting on with my life.  I’m not sure if anyone else can relate to that.

I spent the next 18 months or so just being a teenager.  After my pony was sold I used to go to the local stables and help out in exchange for riding the horses.  Me and a friend Kate used to go to her house and get drunk.  Her parents had a big house with a swimming pool and bar.  We would then cycle up the dual carriageway to the stables, pissed as farts.  God if my mum knew what I used to get up to she would have literally shit the bed. 

Not far from the stables, there was a gardening company that took on YTS workers, there was one lad Spike that I fancied like crazy.  I was just 14 at the time and he must have been 18 because he fancied me too but wouldn’t pursue it due to the age issue.  I didn’t care at the time but clearly, now I am so grateful he was respectful. 

It was in June 1985 when I was 15 that I met my first proper boyfriend Robin.  He asked me out himself and we were almost inseparable from that point.  We were mature and sensible and dated for 4 months before we decided to take our relationship to the next level.  We were both virgins and were as in love with other as you can be at age 15. 

I remember one Saturday afternoon not long after Robin and I got together I was coming back from town on the bus and I bumped into a chap John that used to keep a couple of horses with his wife Sue at the stables I helped out at.  It was a rare occasion that I wasn’t with Rob, he must have been doing something else.  John was telling me that a friend of his had some horses that needed looking after while he went on holiday and would I be interested in helping out.  Of course, I said yes and gave him my phone number.  

A few days later he called me and said his friend was coming to his house that week and did I want to come along and meet him.  I didn’t give this a second thought because I knew John, I knew his wife Sue and I knew his children so I just took him at face value and turned up at his house on the arranged day and time.  I sat around for a while waiting for John’s friend to turn up.  While we were waiting he put the TV on and there was a pornographic film playing, he passed this off as something Sue had picked up at the video shop in error, yeah!  So now the alarm bells were starting to ring but again I didn’t want to make a fuss.  

Anyway, he came up with the great game where we both write down all the things we could think of to do with sex on little slips of paper, in hindsight I realised he did this to try and cover himself.  I suppose he thought that if I participated in the game then I was fair game for whatever!  Again, why the fuck didn’t I just walk out, what the hell was wrong with me?  To cut a long story short I ended up masturbating him.  It was vile.  He manipulated and coerced me into a position where I didn’t think I had a choice.  

I sit here now writing this and still feel sick bringing it back into my mind, I so badly wish I had done something about it all those years ago.  He had a daughter, it is only as I got older that I worried about what he might have done to her or other young girls.  He was clearly a paedophile in plain sight.

Talking of paedophiles, since Syd’s return to our lives a year or so earlier he had started making lewd comments, subtle at first but as I got a little older he would ramp it up.  Initially, they were just general comments, he would tell me what my mum liked to do to him and herself in bed and stuff like that, it was so awkward and I really didn’t want to hear it and to this day cannot understand why I put up with it.  There are some things you just cannot unhear or unthink!  He would only ever do this when we were alone and trust me I made sure I was not alone with him very often.  

My mum literally only needed to be out of earshot for him to start.  An example would be this, Mum, me and Syd would be watching TV, Mum would pop out at the adverts to the loo or check on food or whatever and the second she went he would start, I would either try to ignore him or follow my Mum, what I didn’t do which I should have done was tell her.  One day I asked mum for a lift to my Robins, normally I would get the bus but I must have missed it or something, anyway, she was busy and Syd offered to take me, I really didn’t want him to but couldn’t think of a good enough reason for him not to without my mum thinking it was odd.  

On that journey he started asking me about my boyfriend, if we had had sex etc. etc. and I still to this day do not know why but when he asked I told him we had had sex, I didn’t go into detail just literally said yes we had.  That opened the floodgates then, he really ramped up the sex talk at every opportunity and started to offer me money to have sex with him, he would walk into my room without knocking and try to get me to take my clothes off so he could photograph me, obviously, I didn’t!  I felt so uncomfortable in my own home but just couldn’t tell my mum.  I just didn’t want to upset her, and I didn’t want her to not like me because her boyfriend fancied me.