I don’t remember much about the presents I got for my birthday with a couple of exceptions. When I turned 10 I was given a brand new fujicycle three speed bike. It was bright orange and Dad took great delight in telling me how light it was. I was very proud of that bike although I was a bit concerned about the handlebars which were a little too girly for my liking. Nonetheless, I spent many hours riding it around the neighbourhood.
For my 13th Birthday I was given a train set which I actually thought I was a little bit old for. I think it was around that time that I was very conscious of not wanting a lot of friends around and although Mum and Dad said I could have a party I didn’t really want one. My mates were starting to become interested in girls and if I had one I would have had to invite some to mine and there was a threefold embarrassment involved in that. Firstly, I didn’t really want anyone to know I’d been given a train set. Secondly, I was worried Dad would be drunk and embarrass me, and finally, it seemed I only had to mention a girls name at home and I would be incessantly teased by Mum and my sister about having a girlfriend. Far better to shut up and not let anyone know I may have had a crush on someone.
Funny, in remembering all this stuff, I see many elements of the man reflected in the boy. The loner, the one who kept his feelings to himself, the one who failed to confront issues, instead turning inward.