I won't say much about my eldest sister, Diane, as she has put together her own website. Carol my elder sister is fair game, she doesn't have a web presence. So girls, if you want to keep me quiet update or create your own pages!
Me and my sisters, Carol left, Diane right, at Gatorland in Florida for our cousin Roger's Wedding.
Because of the age gap between me and my sisters we weren't really close as children, we didn't play together or share any circle of friends, go to the same schools (at least at the same time), etc. On the other hand, we weren't mortal enemies or anything, more just like ships in the night. I was more a bargining chip in arguments with my parents: "Its not fair he has his own bedroom and we have to share!", "He always gets what he wants why can't I have...", "You spoil him..."
Diane went to Grammar School, Lady Edridge for Girls, and then went to work. I think that was a source of friction with my parents who probably had high hopes for their eldest. I suspect this decision had something to do with Diane making a statement against the pressure and expectations that the eldest child, forging the path for the others, is always under. Of course I suspect that my parents would deny this. She was a Lab Technician at school, then a Lab Tech at Queen Mary College in London. So I suspose she got the atmosphere, social life, etc., of college and got paid for it instead of having to pay and work like the students. One up to Diane!
Carol also went to Lady Edridge and was the bookworm academic "snot." She went to University at Warwick studying Law. I think when my parents saw what went on at college they probably thought it was a bad idea and that maybe Diane had the right idea! Again I suspect that Carol's hard work was the typical middle child syndrome of trying to get noticed by parents focussed on the first child and under pressure to prove that she could do better. Again, everyone will probably deny any truth to this.
So my sisters now say that I got the enviable third child privileges. Parents who had learned better when to push, when to relax, who had the mistakes learnt from the first two, were more confident and therefore more tolerant, accommodating, etc. What they actually say is "You were spoilt rotten!"
What I say is that I was a more easily satisfied child. All I wanted was my "World of Wonder" magazine everyweek and paperback books when I wanted, and I never really bothered about sweets and toys, or the latest fashion clothes, etc. Diane was asking for a dog, a car, money to travel round the country doing dog shows, fancy clothes, etc!
When I got to be a more interesting teenager type person, we did start to interact more. From Diane I got interested in classical music, she was off to all the operas, concerts, etc., with her college friends and building a classical record collection which I could listen to. From Carol I got the rock groups from college, Yes, Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton, and more esoteric groups, Steeleye Span? I didn't really have a circle of friends and form my own "era" popular tastes. Many of these I discovered later in life, Queen, etc. So my music tastes are eclectic.
My reading was science fiction and science text books so we had no real shared interests there.
Our only other real shared interest was indirect. I could take their dogs out anytime I wanted. So me and my mate Dave Corby would dissappear all day at weekends, taking the dogs over "the woods" and "up the parks" that surrounded New Addington.
I think I'd have to say, my view of my childhood home life was idyllic. So perhaps I'll have to own up and say "Yep, I was spoiled rotten!"
My sisters, who shared a bedroom, fought like cat and dog. Diane once stabbed Carol through the arm with a knitting kneedle! Its said Diane was more upset about that than Carol and that outburst never got repeated.
In adult life I don't think I know two sisters who are closer. Carol and Erik moved away to Birmingham for a few years and had their kids there but when they settled back close to home again, Diane and Carol did everything together with their kids. Camping and caravaning to dog shows mainly, but also just getaway weekends and holidays. My sisters and parents now all live within a short commute of each other around Croydon in Surrey.
For awhile when we first married we lived in digs in London near college, then moved in with my parents to save for a house of our own. Our first flat was in Croydon near home and our jobs were close by too. Then we moved out to Blackwater in Hampshire which, while not far from Croydon, was a major commute so we weren't all as close. Then we moved to the States so now its holiday trips, phone calls, emails and this website which keep us in contact.
I envy not being part of this close knit group, just dropping round when you want, seeing each other often, but thats the only thing I miss about England. On balance with everything else, I think of California as my home now and don't want to go back. Now if I could just hit it really big I could bring all of them over here.
Diane says she'd like to move here. Carol and Erik are looking to move abroad to Spain or France at some point. Mum and Dad have lived in the same house for 50 odd years now so they don't really want to move. If their neighbours, also long termers, move away I don't know how they'd feel about moving.