Friday, 21 December 2012

sorting out the bad boys

My mother used to tell this story about when I was a wee girl and learnt from my father how to sort out the bad boys in the neighbourhood.  She was very proud of this story and the fact that I could stand up for myself, as she was a gentle person who people sometimes tried to 'take a len of' (Scottish for imposing upon someone's good nature).  I always kept an eye out for my mother and brought her to live in Cupar, near me, a few years before her death in 1998.

The story was about when I was 5yrs old or even less as I don't remember it myself, although I do remember playing out in the street, in the scheme where we lived, in Letham, Perth, Scotland.  A council housing scheme where as bairns (children) we all played up and down the road, in the 1950's.  There wasn't much traffic then, most folk didn't have cars.  We had old prams for our dolls, used them also for racing each other.  This I remember.

I was the oldest of 3 girls, my next sister wasn't born until I was 9 so I was an only child in the 50's.  My mother said that I used to keep coming into the house greetin' (crying) because the Dobie brothers were picking on me.  Two 'bad' boys who lived across the road from us and often ganged up on me and others in the neighbourhood.  

The story goes that my father taught me how to box, to stand up and defend myself from the bullying brothers.  After that the mother of the bad boys would come to my mother's door to complain that I was picking on her boys.  And my father's teaching stood me in good stead throughout my childhood as I remember many times being challenged to fight and the opponents backing down when confronted. 

I've always had a sense of adventure and resilience, bouncing back from adversity, although I am a home bird and prefer sleeping in my own bed.  I do think you have to be true to yourself and know what your strengths are, equally being aware of what doesn't suit.  I really don't like bullying behaviour and the ganging up of 'bad boys'.  It's something I will always resist and stand up against.

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