Friday, 8 April 2016

Sadness at another parting - being fostered is like that!

I had been in something of a blue funk about talking to my former foster Mother about my last few weeks living with her and her late husband. I was quite ashamed of how I felt cross and sad more than four decades after the event but that was just how it was inside my head.

You see one quite small piece of financial meanness by my foster Dad made a life changing difference to me. If I had been able to stay on at school I'm as sure as I can be that I would have qualified to go a university or a polytechnic when I was 18. There was a course at Hatfield Polytechnic that looked really interesting and it would have been easy to commute there from St Albans where I was living.

The trouble was I needed a new school uniform and nobody was prepared to pay for it. Without the uniform I couldn't stay on at school and move up into the 6th form as I wanted to. It really was up to my foster parents to pay but my foster Dad absolutely refused to do so. Nobody was willing to stand up for me and so I was pretty much forced into employment and out of the foster home with almost no notice.

In the 1970s going to university meant a lot and pretty much made it certain that you would be able to get a well paid job in a proper career. Without a degree you were nothing special and you were in competition with loads and loads of other teenagers.

So for most of my life as an employee I worked mainly with my hands and far less with my brain. Apart from the first few years when I worked in a factory I worked as a school technician in Design Technology. It was quite frustrating to see young teachers earning far more than me when if my life had been more settled I could have been a teacher just like them.

Looking back perhaps I could have studied with the Open University but for some reason I never thought of doing that. I think too much of my self confidence had slipped away in the troubled years I had between going into Care at 14 and getting married to even think of pushing myself forward like that.

Anyway right at the end of the meeting with my Foster Mother I talked about the time when my Foster Dad was so mean. I thought it would upset my Foster Mother, and it did. But I felt that I needed to say the thoughts that had been inside my head for so long.

When everything had been said I said my goodbyes and off I went back to my other life. I'm glad I bothered to go meet with her after so many years but I don't have any strong wish to stay in touch with her. Perhaps if I am ever in Hertfordshire again I might suggest a meeting - but perhaps not!