15.5.09

origins - from minis to escorts


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this is the second place that i lived in my life. our part of the house was on the left. you can see just round the corner another door, and, believe it or not just on the end of that porch, as you walk around the corner, is another door. somehow the house was split into three.

it didn't feel cramped though. it was essentially a two up, two down, if in a slightly weird configuration. but there was plenty of space, in lots of ways.

if there were to be a 'class' debate about my life, then i guess this is the house that defines that. we moved from a council flat, into the suburbs of aberdeen. and yet we didn't quite 'belong' there, to begin with anyway. i catch myself smiling slightly ironically now at the cool factor associated with charity shop bargain hunting and minis (that's the car, not the skirt) because back at our house in aberdeen sub-urbanity these were the things that defined me as 'a bit poor', and most definitely not cool.

in fact the day that we bought a ford escort (pale blue, c-reg, red stripe down the side), i felt a relief in my 9-year old heart.

i guess the reality was that none of us were 'middle-class', whatever that meant or means. we were probably all jumping the class boundary and for some the pain, or shame, of being poor or working class, or whatever label had been a bad one for us, was more for some than others.

the truth is that i never felt 'poor'. i don't know why. i think we were. but we had everything we needed. i was never hungry. we had fun and friends that we could stay with for holidays. i never really felt the shame that some feel. i see it now, in friends who grew past this boundary too - there's probably a lot of people my age who crossed the class system. some struggle if there is a hint of a suggestion that they can't afford things - the shadow of shame is long.

but what was it in my childhood that meant this just didn't stick with me? in the end, we didn't stay in this house. i wonder if it was that? we didn't stay in the place that defined us as usurpers of the 'middle-class' title. my dad's job moved and we ended up in lincolnshire - we didn't take with us any of the 'markers' which might have given us away. we came with an escort, not a mini (the next door neighbours had a ford sierra, i seem to remember)

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