Me again, now a first-former at Cardiff High School, 1963/64
vintage. This photo was taken on 25th February, 1964, a few days after my twelfth birthday. It wasn't a school-arranged
photo, but one commissioned by my mum. Can't believe I looked that nerdy, but there's the evidence! (Still got
big ears, I see. That was about the only thing about me that was big at this time.)
Dig those short trousers, and those bare knees! Usually they
weren't as clean as they are here - my knees, that is. My mum must have scrubbed them before we set off that morning, and
if truth be told, scrubbed the rest of me as well, head-to-toe for good measure, after stripping me naked herself without
any messing about then all but dumping me in the bath. She often did this, and made no concessions towards preserving
my modesty or avoiding my embarrassment on these occasions, even though I thought of myself as a 'big boy' now, being in secondary
school and all, and 'too old' for 'that sort of thing' anymore.
My mum had other ideas and was not impressed by that argument in
the slightest. Those bloody shorts (and my hairless 'acorn' with the two associated little seedless
'grapes' my shorts concealed from her 'till bathtime) did not help my case either! My mum was nothing if not a 'hands-on'
mother - in every sense of the phrase - and at this age still (and for a good while after) insisted that no part of my naked
body escape her personal, vigorous and 'no nonsense' application of a scrubbing brush or intrusive soapy flannel for long.
There was never any discussion or negotiation with me beforehand about what this was going to involve either!
This wasn't the only thing I had to contend with at bathtime.
Woe betide me if I didn't keep still, protested or otherwise mucked about as my mum 'saw to me' (or worse still, if there
was any recent transgression of mine that she'd left 'til bathtime to punish me for) 'cos, conveniently already bare-arsed
and within temptingly easy striking distance of the flat of my mum's formidable right hand, I'd sometimes receive from her,
usually without warning, a sharp stinging smack or two from it across my bare you-know-what as a consequence! Ow!
Me bum! Gerroff, mum!
While my mum and I were very close at this time, I have
to say that having her soundly tan my bare bum was one bathtime intimacy of hers I could well have done without. It contributed
nothing to my 12-year-old sense of self-esteem either. Even so, I preferred this new method of maternal chastisement to my
mum's earlier use of the cane and wooden spoon on me, despite the added naked indignity of it all. (And in case you were
wondering, I can assure you that all I got out of it was a bloody sore arse!)
I was six months into my five year 'sentence' (only joking!) at
Cardiff High School when this photo was taken. Actually, I enjoyed my time there immensely, and would happily do it
all over again if I got the chance, despite the whacking I got from the headmaster one time; several wallops across the face
by various other masters there (bastards!); detentions too numerous to count (most being dished out by 'Jack' Hurley, but
none resented); having to strip naked with thirty other boys almost every week for compulsory communal showers in the nude
after games, (I remember only my first one - traumatic, but very educational!); the BCG (nearly fainted!); three years
of the insufferable Mr Ivor Jones (P.E. teacher); and no more lie-ins on a Saturday morning, at least not in term
time, as we had to go to school on a Saturday morning as well.
I was the smallest boy in the school (in more ways than one, I'm
pretty sure!) for the whole time I was there (September 1963-July 1968). In fact, throughout my entire childhood I knew
of only one boy my age that looked smaller than me (at least, I thought so) - a kid called 'Eddie' Desmond. He attended
Ninian Park Secondary-Modern, I think, and I didn't know him all that well, but I bumped into him a couple of times down the
'Ebenezer' Thursday night youth club, and the Cardiff Boys Club near the city centre. I wonder what happened to him?
Anyone from Grangetown know, or remember him?
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