‘Ah, beware of snobbery; it is the unwelcome recognition of one’s own past failings’ Cary Grant
Last week, my husband and I went to go and see Bowling for Soup in concert, as part of their farewell tour, and i happened to comment that during a particular song of their, called ‘My Hometown’ i was annoyed by a group of Gosforth High School students (an affluent area of Newcastle) who were singing along to the song like they understood what the lyrics meant. Like they’d grown up in a backwater, prejudiced ghetto. I personally, don’t understand how anyone who grew up in Gosforth could relate to that song.
I grew up abroad. In an idyllic bubble of army life, where there were only 10 people per class and everyone was friends, which was amazing, until i moved back to England. Moving back to England was like going to Grange Hill in my eyes, There were 30 people to a class, In my first week of going to school in the UK i was called a ‘posh bitch’, ‘Rupert the Bear’ and an Alien, a lot to take as a 10 year old. If anyone knows about small town mentalities and not fitting in it’s a military kid, believe me, i was just dumb enough to believe it was banter and playful ribbing
I’m not a music snob, at least, i try not to be, but when i think about the small town i grew up in, and how horribly i was treated as an ‘outsider’, (other than my amazing friend Janine who took me under her wing from day 1 and is still one of my best friends to date) it’s hard to listen to songs like My Hometown and not think they’re singing directly to me. I’ll admit it was arrogant of my to assume that these kids had an idyllic upbringing, I’m sure people look at me and think the same, and to be honest, it was a bit of a throw away comment, I didn’t expect to get the backlash I did.
It’s amazing that you can grow up in the same place as hundreds of other kids and go to the same high school yet you all had completely different experiences. Because army life was so sheltered, and kids behaved themselves (your dad got in trouble if kids were misbehaving at school), I’d never really seen any real bullying, not emotional and certainly not physical! So moving to England and seeing how aggressive a lot of the kids were, and how nasty and chatty the girls were, it’s no wonder I had a tough time fitting in.!
There are people who were born and raised in my hometown, their parents went to our high school and no doubt their kids will go there too. Which is fine as long as they’re happy, some people like the comfort of routine and the familiar. Perhaps they were one of the kids who had a positive experience at high school so naturally they’ll want the same for their kids too. Personally though, I’m just so unbelievably pleased I moved away, not too far away, but far enough away to I don’t worry about bumping into people who were horrible to me in the supermarket.
I love this post! I actually remember high school the same way you describe and am happy to have been able to know “normal” people like you during that pretty shitty experience. I remember sitting with you and Andrew(?) in a cooking class and feeling surprisingly more comfortable than normal. I’m also glad I got the fuck out of cramlington…lol!
Aww thanks Danielle! Don’t get me wrong, i have made some amazing friends for life from high school, but for the most part i felt inadequate and picked on. I lived for the days i had a lesson with you or Andrew or Janine, where i could be myself and it didn’t matter that i acted like a 14 years (because i WAS a 14 year old!)