Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Rite of Passage Six –Early Tumult–
(1950-1951) Age 16-17 years old
Q: In your teens were you separated from others by your family or economic circumstances? Did this exclusion drive you to ‘succeed’?
I grew up as an only child in the hotel business in Europe. My parents were the general managers and we lived on the premises. It is sometimes referred to as a “Champagne lifestyle on a beer income”. The Roebuck Hotel, at Wych Cross in Sussex, was on the border of Ashdown Forest and we had no close neighbors who had children. For all of these reasons I grew up as a solitary child without friends of my own age…that experience was reserved strictly for school.
My parents were more anxious than I about this separation from others and set about equipping me with an opportunity to find some friends. My accent helped, being the generally accepted BBC announcer standard.
My clothes were selected to help me ‘blend in’ and I managed, somehow, to attend the right events such as the local ‘Hunt Ball’; which was white tie and tails. I never made it and it was not for the want of trying. Sooner or later, it became known who my parents were and the ‘class level’ of my day took over. I did not belong.
So…what about now?
I overcompensated at that time for being socially sidelined by deciding, since I was in a ‘servant class’, that I would aim for the top and win a place for myself amongst these ‘others’ by succeeding! I did this over many years not just for myself but also for those fellow ‘servants’ with whom I worked; in fact for the industry as a whole. To reach for the top meant that I became driven to absorb everything I could about fine food, wine and superb service. I am now aware of the need to nourish myself and those I love and to do what I can to serve in my community.
Success is no longer reaching for the top…but rather taking the time to nourish at the grassroots level and to try to do that well!
P.S. This week I read Treena’s poem Strangers