Dear Mum and Dad
The time was near when I would be leaving the Farm and heading off to the Farmer’s Boarding school.
My feelings were very mixed.
On the one hand, I would be away from the day by day bitterness and acrimony that family life on the farm had become.
On the other, I could only imagine what it would be like to be surrounded by a multitude of boys I did not know.
I had never spent a night away from the farm unless I was with you, I had never had to make friends.
Even at Primary School, whilst I did try to make the effort to play with other children during recess and lunch; the highlight of my day was the solitude of the half hour bike ride on the way home.
The four-year age difference and the light years of disdain between Jerry and I, had meant we had never been close, Terry was four years younger than me and quite possibly, felt the same way about me as I did about Jerry.
We never talked about the things that made us a family; I do think you both loved me in your own way but the affection of my earliest years had been replaced by a stern and unforgiving discipline.
The good times with you, were often tainted by a sense of foreboding; there were always shadows lurking and I feared this darkness.
The land and Bill Wilson were my havens and I would be leaving these behind.
Even I; as naïve as I was, knew it might seem a little strange for me to spend my time at Boarding school, locked in intense discussion with my imaginary friend!
Other people had always been an intrusion in my life rather than; being a part of it. How was I going to cope, surrounded by other kids?
I did know that my lack of sporting prowess, coupled with a complete indifference to other people was not the perfect recipe for success in the rambunctious world I would soon be entering, but; I had no clue as to how to fix either of these things.
To have spoken about these fears with either of you would have been implausible, the reactions may have varied but they would have boiled down to the same thing.
“You just need to toughen up, Bruce”
How could I explain to you that I did not want to toughen up!
I loved my life of isolation, of dogs and cats and pet lambs, the nuzzle of a horse, the cry of a newborn calf and the rolling hills.
Home may not have been a haven, but these things definitely were. I would be leaving them behind for a world filled with people!
Jerry had made such a success of his time at the Farmers School, he brought friends home for the holidays, he was good at sport and his results were a source of pride.
The Principal of the Farmers School had become a good friend of Dads
How could I possibly be anything less than an embarrassment to the family?
My mind was a vortex of fear, but the bigger fear was of talking to you about my foreboding.
I also knew the economic benefits of the Farmer’s school over the cost of Grammar School, so I kept my fears to myself.
Ours was not a family where weakness was tolerated.