John McCullagh April 30, 2008
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Somehow or other I made it through that first day.

To be fair to her, the nun behaved herself reasonably well and managed to make it through the whole first day without assaulting a single ‘baby infant’.

 

But of course it couldn’t last.

My mother soon wondered why I constantly beseeched my dad to give me one of his famous close-cut hair styles. Today it would be described as a Number Two.

A Number Two meant something entirely different to us in those days! You were demanding high priority then in the bathroom queue if you announced an imminent Number Two that you couldn’t hold back!

No one could afford barber’s bills in those days and dad had bought a pair of hand-operated shears from ‘The Market’ to do the job. They were blunt from the first time he operated them and inevitably got snagged in a lock of hair. There was no option but to tear them loose, taking a fistful of hair with them. 

Why any one would volunteer for this eye-watering treatment was a source of great mystery to my mum.

Of course in those days you NEVER complained at home about your teachers, for fear of being considered a total ingrate and receiving twice the punishment you had already suffered!

My father took my request as a complement and was especially careful not to hurt me more than three or four times in dragging the shears loose.

‘No! Even shorter than that!’ I encouraged him, to his great mystification.

But it didn’t really work anyway.

Some months later I recall overhearing my parents discussing me over dinner.

‘Sonny …’, said Eileen, nervously.

‘Do you notice that that child’s left ear-lobe is redder and longer than his right?’

You couldn’t help but notice it.

It was nearly touching my left shoulder.

‘No! You’re imagining things. It’s all right!’ And he returned to his munching.

And there the matter rested until I graduated to Primary Two.

It took a further six months to regain my aural symmetry.

 

…. more later ….

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