There are two definitions of the word precocious and as a young child I was neither, although if you knew me when I was aged two you might have wondered about that. I was born chubby, in fact I was known as the Michelin baby, but I levelled out by the time I was two.
I was born with a mole and the mole was in an embarrassing place. at the top of the inner thigh. Of course, I wasn’t embarrassed at that age, I was simply fascinated. I must have felt proud because I showed it to everyone I met. I can almost hear me saying ‘I’m two and I’ve got a mole’ before lifting the skirts to show it off.
The more the parents told me not to expose myself in such a fashion the more I did it. As soon as I met a new person I lifted the frock to show off the mole. It went on until I got to school age. I got the lecture then. I was told that the teacher would cane my bare bum if I did it in class … and after one look at the teacher I believed it. Her name was Miss Pinches and she put the fear of God in me. One look at her stern face and I was cured for all time. That woman haunted my schooldays, she moved up with me. Wherever I went, she followed. One time she smashed the ruler on my hand, breaking the nib of a brand new fountain pen. Remember fountain pens? Oh the hours I spent scrubbing ink from my fingers.
For such a quiet child, I got into all sorts of trouble … both at home and school.
Returning to the subject of the mole. Even now, although it is no bigger than a pin head I’m reluctant to show a leg, yet if you were to gaze upon my pictures you would believe that to be a complete lie. Looking back through the old pictures it seemed to me that I did nothing else.