I celebrated my second birthday in the house in Bowness. It is a memorable occasion for me because this was when I learned about presents. There were some neighbor children over to share my birthday tidings. Gifts were brought. One of the neighbor kids took a liking my new air driven pop gun and wanted to enjoy it by himself. I was unwilling to go along with this and was soon taken into the kitchen and provided with a stern lecture on my obligation to share newly acquired possessions. The first ‘life lesson’ that I can recall.
My recollection is that the lecture was harsh and threatening. It wasn’t clear to me why someone would give you something and then immediately take it back. Why give it at all? Seems a rather cruel thing to put on a two-year-old. But my father would have been only about twenty-five, raised himself in a somewhat dysfunctional home, so what would he have known about parenting in 1955. And did I learn about the merits of sharing and social cooperation from that episode? Probably not. More likely that I learned to sulk and that my father, although he wanted to appear to be gentle, nurturing and all knowing, was actually an evil dark hearted meanie on the inside.