When I look back over my last 44 years of existence, I really do think it’s absolutely acceptable for my Mum’s current ‘behaving badly’ moments! Is an individual predisposed to Dementia through genetics, or is it caused by a challenging life?! My Grandpa, (Mum’s Dad), had Dementia.
I remember when I was 5, I’d had a disagreement with my Mum. (Knowing me, this was probably over something really trivial and this Aries was not able to get her own way!). So I grabbed myself a pack of Golden Wonder ready salted (crisps were amazing back then!) and headed off to the garage to get a deck chair. I then went back into the kitchen to my totally unshockable parents (this has always annoyed me, haha!). I announced that I’d had enough and was leaving home. I remember so clearly; walking up the driveway, checking my peripheries for a parent, or two. I was walking slower than the usual mad paced Sophster, hoping that one of my parents would haul me back to the house. This just didn’t happen! So I carried on walking to the end of Tuckers Meadow and I stopped at the bottom of the road. Pitched my deck chair and began to eat my Golden Wonder. After about 5 minutes, (felt like an hour at the time!), I picked up the deck chair and started my journey back up the hill to home. Totally bemused as to why I’d not seen one sniffer dog, or one extensive police search to locate a 5 year old girl. As I walked back through the door, my Dad said “I told you Mary!!” …….. I’m hoping this was in the sense that their little ray of sunshine had returned, and not, oh dear, it’s back!! My Mum’s version of this story; that whilst their 5 year old March hare was leaving home (with crisps and a deck chair), Mum was going mad with worry. Apparently my Dad had told her that their daughter was testing them, that she’d soon get bored, or hungry, and come home!! Damn my Daddikins, so intuitive!!!! Mum always talked of the relief she felt when I wandered back through the door, whilst I’m sure my Dad had enjoyed the temporary respite!
When my Dad was Head of a local village school, he’d arrange ‘country dancing’ evenings at the school. The good, old dosey doe! He used to buy Devonshire Scrumpy from a local farm, in Plymtree, for the event. My Dad used to put a couple of big, plastic kegs filled with the cider, at the back of the garage. One day, I had a friend over (this friend shall remain nameless!). I was 10, she was 7 months older than me (specific!). I suggested we take a cup from the kitchen cupboard and help ourselves to the cider to try it. Knowing me, I probably felt I was a 10 year old Quality Controller, I know I had probably justified it somehow! After the first tipple, we both decided it was of a good standard, so tried a bit more just to be sure. This carried on for quite a while on this sunny Saturday afternoon, until my friend handed me back the white teacup and said she was going home. I don’t think she felt great. As I walked into the house, my Mum was studying me. She kept asking me if I was ok. I suspect my pitch was even more elevated than normal. She was beginning to fret, when Dad looked at me closely and said “Drunk, Mary, I think Soph is drunk!” (Oh dear!).
Another occasion, when I was 13, I was caught smoking in the CDT block toilets at school. Again, with another friend who will remain nameless. My Dad was called into school to see my Headmaster. Strangely, I was not bricking the parent/head meeting as my friend was. As my Dad was in a closed session with Mr Turner, I remember being sat outside the office thinking about what cake I’d buy on the way home. As Dad emerged, he was smiling and jovial. As we were walking out of the school, he was telling me how he and Mr Turner had been swapping thoughts on the National Curriculum!! …… Saved! What a legend!!
Unfortunately, I have a whole archive of anecdotes like this …… Therefore, as I have to deal with my Mum and her unpredictability and irrationality, I’m reminded that I probably am owed this journey!