Rupert Bear, The New Testament, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Thomas Hardy, Graham Greene.
Anyone who has read my MPhil, ‘Working-Class Women’s Autobiography’, will have noticed that the authors (the ones I highlight, at least) are generally well-read and love books, particularly during their childhoods. Hence, the reading list at the top represents my own childhood texts, and they are in chronological order. Perhaps the discerning reader will note the dearth of canonical writers and books. Well, frankly, my family was lacking in literary or bookish people in any shape or form, so there was no one to encourage or direct my reading in order to cultivate my knowledge and intellect. On the other hand, no one was actually against my reading, as is apparent in the young lives of some autobiographers. It was just something I did.
I do remember my mum reading me bedtime stories when I was very young. There was one book in particular I wanted her to read over and over again. (Unfortunately, I don’t recall the title. I’ll enquire of her if she knows).
Rupert Bear: Every Christmas I would get a Rupert the Bear annual. I loved them: hard-back covers, beautifully illustrated pictures, and stories in rhyming couplets. At one point I had quite a collection. I recently saw some similar editions at a toy fair, which were fetching around £200 each! A similar thing happened with my Action Man collection. My grandmother (nanna, as she was more commonly known) used to work at the Palitoy factory in Coalville. Consequently, my sister and I would be showered with a plethora of fantastic toys at Christmas, including the aforementioned Action Man: talking ones, ones with gripping hands, ones with ‘real’ hair’, ones with beards, etc., not to mention a multitude of Action Man accessories: carded outfits, helicopters, tanks, jeeps, rafts, etc. - you name it we got it. A few years ago, I noticed that original items like these had multiplied in value. Thereafter, I recovered a few of the childhood treasures from my dad’s loft, but unfortunately he had given most of them away. I racked my brains and had a good think about what sort of current toys might be the antiques of the future. As a result I gathered a small collection of gaming consoles: Telesports (2 rectangular bats that move vertically up and down the telly screen), Sega Master System, Sega Megadrive, PlayStation One and Two. I still have these; patiently waiting for them to become antiques; however, I am aware that I may be dead by that time, and therefore unable to reap the fruits of my foresight.
The New Testament: I started reading the New Testament at primary school age. We had visitors to the school and they gave each pupil a red, leather-bound Gideons New Testament pocket Bible. However, I didn’t read it because I was instructed to do so, nor out of religious Catholic devotion: I read it in bed under my sheets at night because I thought our house was haunted, and I was scared shitless.
to be continued...(this is about an actual ghost, real or otherwise, you know what I mean)
To cut a long story short: