My Life Revisited — Part 1: 1977

This is the first of a short blog series featuring some old pictures of me from the distant past, along with some commentary on my memories of life at that time. Let's start by seeing how my youthful visage looked back in 1977:


This school photo was taken when I was five or six years old, it’s hard to be sure because the photo would have been taken near to the start of the new school year which was also near to my birthday.

At this point in time, I had just started my second year of ‘primary’ school. Different regions in the UK have different systems for schooling. In Suffolk, there were (or still are) primary, secondary, and upper schools. The primary school I went to had an optional ‘nursery’ year (like kindergarten in the US I guess), which I also attended. So technically, this was my third year at the school. My teacher that year was Mrs Jackson and my main memories of her — well my only memories really — were that she seemed very tall and that she wore jeans a lot.

At that time, we were learning to read and write English, but not the form of English that most people would recognize. Our school embraced what seemed to be a widespread (at least in the UK) experimental way of learning English. The system was called the Initial Teaching Alphabet (ITA) and looking back, it was a very strange system, not least because the alphabet has 42 letters! Still, I can’t say that it has caused me any long-term damage in my subsequent education. 

One of my main memories from that year at school was that one pupil — a certain Mr. Todd if memory serves me correctly — was keen to demonstrate to the class that he could generate a cool and somewhat mysterious sound simply by the act of walking around. The teacher allowed him to demonstrate this to the entire class and so he proudly strode up and down the room. Sure enough, as he marched back and forth, we could hear a faint noise that appeared to originate from his lower torso. The teacher then calmly explained to him that this noise was simply due to the fabric of his extensively flared trousers rubbing together as his legs passed each other (




back then). I think this factual explanation left him feeling very deflated as he was pinning his hopes on more of a magical reason for his trouser-based emanations.

Sometimes you remember uplifting, or life-changing events from your distant past. Me? I remember noisy trousers.