Dad always said that while a few months old, I chewed my way through a carry-cot when we travelled from Hendon to Scotland with an aunt.
This was of course, long before car safety-seats for children.
He said they placed me, safe in my carry-cot, next to the aunt. His implication was that when they arrived in Troon, I was rolling about on the back seat having eaten my way through a fair amount of synthetics, a metal frame and some bedding. He suggested that if we’ve travelled any further, I might have eaten the aunt as well.
I suspect he was exaggerating and I just chewed on a handle.
But it’s true to say that I wasn’t keen on constraint.
One of my earliest memories is about running out of the house to tell a neighbouring child I had a baby sister. Another time, I gave our dog the slip and sneaked away to look at some sheep on a hill, while Mum was nappy changing or something.
Shortly after that I went off my sister. The Young Wives came round and said she was gorgeous. As for me, I was fobbed off with a colouring book and told I looked just like my Dad. As he was rather plump, going bald and male, this was very upsetting.
And then there was the pram incident.
I should probably never ever tell a psychologist.
It was Mum’s fault really. I used to sit in a sort of chair on top of the pram. When we got to town, she did what all mothers of the time did and parked us up on the pavement while she went inside the shop. On this occasion, it was a chemist. In the window were three enormous glass bottles filled with bright coloured liquid. Deep at heart I always hoped that one day Mum would buy the blue one. She never did.
Mum was going to the chemist for rose-hip syrup and I thought maybe she’d get me one of those yummy hard fruit lollipops. But then I worried, what if she forgot? I needed to remind her. There wasn’t much time. I squirmed and wriggled and slid forwards in my seat so that I could drop to the pavement then run into the shop.
That was the plan.
Mum came out and found me on the pavement with the pram tipped up. For a moment, she looked frantically round for the baby. Where had she gone? Had she been catapulted out? An aggrieved wail made her look under the blankets. My sister had slid down inside the covers and was making her views felt.
This may explain a lot about my sister and me. The pram incident is buried in her subconscious and she spent most of our childhood and adolescence trying to get revenge.
I sometimes worry that she may still be planning it. And we’re going on a road-trip in the Autumn.
Words and photograph copyright 2017 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission