My Funny Valentine

My first love was a boy called Darren Butler, who used to live in the house opposite ours. He was a couple of years older than me and we exchanged our first chaste kiss in our back garden under the confetti petals of the old apple tree when I was just seven years old. What can I say I was an early starter! The summer holidays were spent together chasing after the ice-cream van, playing monopoly and riding our bikes up and down the street in-between my horse riding lessons and his scout camp. Our devotion was so strong that he even held my hand after I had fallen through a bank of nettles into the stream that ran along the back of our garden whilst I screamed like a banshee, until my Dad came out and carried me inside to the ministrations of my mother.

That winter our central heating broke down during a cold snap and my Dad placed an old paraffin heater in the bathroom to take off the chill. My sister and I always used to share our baths and inevitably I would be the last one out. As the bathroom was the size of a postage stamp, it couldn’t really accommodate two small hyperactive children intent on tormenting each other. Subsequently, whilst trying to escape from one of my sister’s Chinese burns, I inadvertently burned my bare backside on the grill of the paraffin heater; leaving a perfect set of branded tram lines on my arse.

Amid a great deal of screaming and tears, soothing ointment was applied to my battle scars and in honour of my war wounds I was allowed chocolate as a rare treat before bedtime. I slept soundly that night despite my injuries, blissfully unaware of the humiliation to come.

Over the following week, my mum took every opportunity to show my scars to all and sundry as a warning of what happens when you mix children and paraffin heaters in a small confined space. She would whip down my pants without warning, despite my protests, as a caution to other mothers, who would cluck sympathetically at my branded bare backside.

One such day, much to the mortification of my seven-year old heart, she carried out her usual practise to Mrs Butler, my beloved’s mother. Imagine the horror of having your one true love witness this ritual humiliation. Sadly, I was never able to look him in the eye again and our romance was over as fast as it took my mother to drop my drawers.

Many years later Darren, who is now a much-respected policeman and I met up at a school reunion where he promptly told me with a twinkle in his eye if I intended to “moon” the party, that he would be duty-bound to arrest me. I assured him that my knickers would be remaining firmly in place.

With my true first love; my Dad

With my true first love; my Dad

80 thoughts on “My Funny Valentine

  1. Funny this. I had a similar branding acquired in much the same circumstances – mine were circular. It was the doctor, called in at the time, who then became a family friend, and always insisted I display the origins of our first encounter – I was well into my teens before the marks faded away completely.

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  2. Oh dear! So what was worse do you think?… The initial humiliation of childhood Darren witnessing the de-pansing, or adult policeman Darren not only remembering the incident but feeling compelled to bring it up?! 😯 🙂

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  3. no Romeo and Juliet then…. funny how you still remember this episode. At about that age I found a note in my satchel after school from two boys in my class (yep, I got 2 for the price of one 😉 who said they loved me (about 7/8 years old we were too). I was living with grandma who promptly took the note to the teacher and the boys got told off…. Imagine? 7 y old? sweet childhood romance…. glad you brought up the story so I remembered mine.

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  4. You know I read this late last night. I was giggling and afraid I would wake my husband. I remember my mother yanking my pants down in front of someone (another woman) for some reason. I’ll have to ask her if she remembers who and why. .. But I love that Darren remembered and brought it up to you many years later. The image was probably “burned” into his young brain at the time. 😉

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  5. I laughed when I read this the first time and then I read it again and laughed some more. My daughter told me off the other day for telling all the other mothers we both had head lice. Soooo embarrassing. (I take an open & honest approach – unlike many other mothers who pretend they’ve never had them in their lives!)

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    • We’ve all had head lice too – those that have escaped it, have been very lucky indeed. We all spent Xmas Day sat around having lunch with anti lice mousse in all our hair – nice present from the kids! They really shouldn’t have bothered

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  6. Embarrassing moments are the best stories. I’m sorry you had to suffer the humiliation of having your bare behind shown to everyone! I have to say, a 7 year old is a little old to be casually showing your friends her bottom! Parents can be so ridiculously embarrassing.

    Mine used to embarrass me just with the ridiculous way she danced around the house (never in front of my friends, mind you!). She still dances ridiculously around the house (one of these days I am going to secretly record her and post it on Youtube) but I am no longer embarrassed. She was doing it just this past weekend when she figured out how to play music on her brand new Itouch (which she still doesn’t know how to use) so she had a celebratory dance party all by herself!

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  7. Absolutely roaring with laughter here in Canada!!!!!!!! That is one of THE funniest stories ever!!!!
    I am so glad you & Darren did meet up @ the Reunion & could joke about it…..
    Why do Mothers always do such weird things to us when we are children???? HAHAHA!!!

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