Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 18..... camp a girlfriend and a set of drum sticks

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book,History of a War Baby.

I was in the St. John’s Cadets for about two years I did not go forward and join the adult section as I did not have the same commitment as dad did. I had more interesting things to pursue.

The most memorable time brother David and I had been the time we went camping at Bexhill. It was to be a two-week stay. The campsite was in a farm and a field set aside to put up tents. It had a large building which was our cookhouse and refectory. Sleeping was in ex-army bell tents. Dad had prepared us for sleeping rough and had made up some sacking bags in which we were to pack it with straw from the farm hay loft.

We slept on this primitive mattress and it was a lot better that the hard ground.

The camp was mixed and the boys were on one side of the field and at a distance on the other side of the field were the girls. We had about seven boys to each tent and David and I were together. There was a block house with toilets and showers.

Some of the older boys were inclined to be bullies and us younger ones had to put up with their antics. They would throw cold water over us in the shower and run off with our clothes. I got my own back on one guy. I pinched his clothes while he was in the shower and soaked them in water. He was not pleased and threatened me to a “Boot Blacking” during the night. This was a punishment dished out to anyone they were not pleased with. I had heard of this and prepared myself I soaked a flannel with soapy water and hid it under my ground sheet.

Sure enough, our tent was visited that night and I was duly selected for boot blacking. I was held down by two boys in case I was to struggle and my never regions were exposed; black boot polish was rubbed into my private parts and over my belly.

I took most of the fun out of it for them as I did not struggle and let it all happen. As soon as they had gone I took the soapy wet flannel and washed all the polish off my body. Other lads who did not get the polish off and let it dry in were to have a black stain around their middle for weeks.

We had to take our turn in the cook house to help prepare the food, peeling potatoes were one chore, cleaning carrots was another. We also had to help serve up the food to the rest of the camp at meal times.

Once again sex came into my life. One of the older boys in our tent, when unpacking his bags, showed me a packet of condoms; I had no idea what they were used for until he explained to what one did with them, much to my amazement. I guess he was hoping to get lucky with one of the girls during the stay.

The following week we had a new intake of cadets from another part of the country and within that contingent, there was a bugle and drum band. The drummers were girls and they showed off their talents by marching and playing up and down the field. I was once more fascinated at the sound of the drums, and the fact that girls were actually playing. I thought if a girl can play the drums why not I.

And so a seed was sown that was to grow over the years until I did, in fact, become a drummer but more of that later.  I managed to ask one of the girls to show me how to hold the sticks and to have a play on one of the drums.

The last night of the camp was to be a talent show given by the boys and girls. I did not take part but David did, he and another boy sang the song “Unchained Melody” recorded at the time by Jimmy Young who became a famous radio presenter.

The main objection of the evening was to find a girl and have a kiss and cuddle with her in her tent before the night was through.  I managed to achieve that and found it enjoyable.

So I had a girlfriend for one night. The next day we were taken back home with a promise to write a letter to my new girlfriend. Which never happened?

Returning from camp and at the first opportunity, I bought a pair of drumsticks and started to annoy the life out of my mother..

© Eddy Newport 2017

Pictures; from the collection of Eddy Newport

No comments:

Post a Comment