I was born and grew up living with my mother and father. That may not sound a very remarkable fact, but as they say, you had to be there! The way that I would describe the reaction of the members of the family, including myself, to my mother and father was that they were 'camouflaged', by that, I mean that we knew they were there, but we couldn't 'see' them. My guess is that when we were born, our father and mother didn't 'make the right noises and pull the right faces' that we instinctively understood that parents should, so we knew right from the beginning that we were going to have to bring ourselves up. This is a totally different experience than having parents and then losing them, in fact, by the time I was around 3 or 4 years old I was quite happily more or less looking after myself full time.
Let me describe my parents :
My father - He was a Construction Foreman working on what were then a lot of 'state-of the-art' buildings in post-war England, he drove a car, and did all his own maintenance and repairs, but apart from that he seemed to be almost mentally handicapped. I only ever heard him speak on about 8 or 9 times in the 20 years that I lived with him, and his understanding of what people said to him was limited to anything that related to a practical act. His face never showed any emotion, in fact he very much reminded me of the character played by Buster Keaton in the silent movies, with that deadpan face, no speech and no reaction to anything that went on around him.
My mother - When my mother met people, her face would light up, she would appear to be so pleased to see them, almost like a puppy-dog, if she had had a tail she would have wagged it! From this, people 'knew' that my mother was a kind, caring woman who loved the whole world, and in particular, that she loved them , and they thought that she was wonderful. Unfortunately, as soon as she turned away from them, her face would drop and she would totally forget having met them. However, one 'trick' she had was that she could remember whole conversations literally word for word without actually understanding what the conversations meant.
One of the most important things, in a good way, about all of this was that neither my mother or my father had any maternal or paternal instincts, and they therefore had no interest in their children. This meant that we were able to simply 'sweep them under the carpet' and just concentrate on bringing ourselves up. I had an older sister, and we fought like cat and dog. I've been watching 'The Dog Whisperer' with Ceser Millan, and how he explains that if there is no obvious pack leader then the other dogs will fight until one becomes dominant. My sister assumed that she would be the pack leader, until I was about 8 years old and became physically stronger than her. After that, you could feel her resentment against me!
Having said all of this, I can't honestly say that I have any regrets about my childhood, it certainly taught me to stand on my own two feet, all I did was what children have always done, and that is to adapt the environment that they just happen to be born into.
What I am really interested in finding out is if anybody else has had this type of childhood, or am I the only one! Please let me know!!