Page 8 - November 2016
P. 8

| Making My Mark on the World 1 | | Kevin Thorp (10244) |

Like most young people, when I was            something that people called an ‘Approved
       a child I got a kick out of drawing    School’. Sometimes people would point
       pictures on any ?at surfaces that      out a wretchedly pale individual with a
presented themselves. These were usually      pudding-bowl haircut in the street and
pavements and the walls of houses.            remark that he had recently been released
                                              from one of those institutions and was
  I was a very late reader, since I grew up

in Northern Ireland on a farm and rarely      a ‘marked man’, a male version of the
bothered turning up at the school as there    unfortunate girls who may have been
were much more interesting things to do       impregnated with or without their consent
in the woods and ?elds with my pals than      and shunned by polite society unless they
to sit in a classroom. It was the sort of     found a willing husband pretty quickly.
idyllic existence described so well by Mark   Thankfully for everyone concerned
Twain in his stories about Huckleberry        society has moved on a lot since those
Finn and Tom Sawyer. In those halcyon         times. Luckily for me I never did get to
days in Ireland what laws that existed        experience the horrors of being ‘in care’
there were ignored by most sensible           anywhere outside of my own home, since
people as they interfered with the fun of     I was strongly motivated by the prospect
being alive.                                  of the ‘Approved School’ to learn what
                                              those funny markings were on the pages of
  When we moved to Manchester in 1945         books. Approaching my eighth birthday I
it was a very severe cultural shock. Besides  suddenly experienced a ‘Eureka’ moment
the reality of food rationing and having      when it all made sense, and I have never
to queue for a living I also had to attend    put a book down since except to write
school under pain of being sentenced to

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