Thursday, 19 December 2013

Self-made men

After I put up that thing about not blaming your parents for all your inherited foibles which you haven't got around to owning, I remembered reminiscing with my mother in the later years about memorable aspects of my childhood.

Justice - or the lack of it - is very important to children, even - or especially - very small ones who can hardly talk.

Sometimes, when my mother was upset about some secret thing between her and my father, or just cracking under the strain of trying to keep a huge house running on a meagre income, she would often take it out on me. In the later years, it was usually me because - being the youngest by far - I was the only one left at home.

There was one particular event which is still so painful for me to recall, that I truly believe it coloured the way I dealt with my relationships with women for many years to come. I won't dig it up now, but suffice to say that I know that it hurt her to remember it as much as it hurt me at the time, and she was quite shameful about it right up to the end.

Although these outbursts were quite rare, they stuck in my memory for obvious reasons, and when I brought them up in the adult years to come, she would say, "Why is it you only remember the bad things about your upbringing?"

She had a point.

When did you ever hear any successful person who rose from 'nothing', thank their parents for early help along the way that wasn't in the form of finance?

It takes a lot of other people to make a 'self-made man'.


  1. Oh, and yes - that is my mother, around 1938. The war and the advent of my eldest sister put an end to her modelling career.

  2. The problem with bad deeds, bad behavior and bad treatment is that each one will often negate the many positive deeds, behaviors etc that go before and after.
    You remember a slap much more than a gentle touch

  3. Oh WOW Tom …..your mum was so beautiful and, what a figure…. she looks fantastic ….. I take it as read that you get your good looks from her ?!!
    I actually had a lovely childhood but, it's true, the horrible things do stick in your mind.
    The paint's dry then ? XXXX

    1. No - paint still tacky, like me.

      My father was bloody handsome too, but - sadly - I did not carry on the genetic tradition.

  4. Having been sent away to school from aged 5, my people were always quite nice to me in the few weeks of each year that we actually spent together. My phobias are based on the brutal wierdos outside of my family.

    1. The fact that you call them 'your people' tells me something, but thankfully my people protected me from the likes of Lost Prophets.

  5. It's a really good moment in time ...
    I went to my best mate's Mum's funeral today, so Mums are on my radar.
    People are just human yes? They make bad mistakes in their lifetime and say things that they regret. I think seeing folk for their frailties and strengths is
    (here I struggle to say something that is not a cliche)

    Really lovely. Thanks.

    1. I think that you don't really grow up until you forgive and understand the weaknesses of your parents. The next step is to tackle your own, but most people run out of time without some sort of crisis to focus them.