Give Us Your Poor, Your Downtrodden And Your Suburban Football Hooligans Dressed Funny By Their Mum  

Fallic40 54M
3214 posts
3/19/2006 8:36 pm
Give Us Your Poor, Your Downtrodden And Your Suburban Football Hooligans Dressed Funny By Their Mum

Now I would love to paint you a picture of a little Irish family all huddled around a peat fire while a pot of mouldy, blighted spuds cooks in a pot, but I cannot do that. We were, for the most part, living the English dream (circa 1977). That means that my dad had a job.

For those readers who are from the same generation of UK residents, people in their early 40s, I bet they completely understand. The miners were striking, the lights were flickering, the power was on in four hour increments, and the Conservatives were getting itchy trigger fingers.

So like I said, I cannot paint a picture of rural blight in my life. We had a color television and three channels of fine television programming (some of it in Welsh). My dad drove a Ford Anglia (think the blue flying car out of the second Harry Potter movie) while my mum had a Mini Clubman. Both of my parents worked and we had a generally good life.

Then one day, without a hint of discussion, my dad announced we were all moving to America: and not to a part of America I had heard ever heard about. We weren’t moving to New York, Chicago or Dodge City. Nosiree Bob, we were packing up the covered wagon and heading to O-Ri-Gone. The only clues about Oregon were to be found in John Wayne movies. People were curious about Indian raids and buffalo stampedes and such. I was somewhat concerned too.

My dad left for the US, to work, about a year before the rest of the family. I went and lived with my granddad in Rickmansworth for that year while my mum and my sister lived with my other granny about two miles away. I was in a better school district. (Better is a relative concept here.) It was a winter of consistent strikes, power outages, and football hooligans.

Finally in January 1978 my entire family left for the States. Once again I would love to tell you a tale of sailing into New York and going through Ellis Island with my one suit and a card board suitcase: a 5’1” hooligan version of Feival Mouskewitz staring in awe at the Statue of Liberty just as generations of Irish immigrants before me.

But actually we landed in the first class transit lounge at SeaTac and went through immigration there. It was all rather anticlimactic in a fake leather / black naugahide way. Looking back it sort of reminds me of losing my virginity in the front seat of my girl friends VW Rabbit. One year of planning and 30 seconds of actual action (with foreplay) followed by this sense of “so what was that all about” and then “I need a sandwich”.

Now picture a kid straight out of North London heading to high school with jet lag. My hair was about ΒΌ inch long just like all good skin head soccer hooligans and I had an earring. I did not fit in. My mum had dressed me funny for school - it was sort of special-ed kid meets the complete geek/nerd. We were clueless as to what I needed to wear, I had always had to wear a very ugly school uniform. It was not an ensemble that screamed coooooooooooooooooooool.

I had my first fight at school that day. It didn’t last too long. One head butt and the football player went down for the count. It seemed at the time that nobody here had ever heard that you never fight anyone smaller than you ‒ they will always be meaner.

And I got asked all kinds of amazing questions: did I know Led Zepplin? How long was the drive from England? Had I met the queen? It was amazing to me the lack of knowledge of the outside world in the students I met at that time. Ten minutes later I came to understand that everyone had been smoking tons of pot. About ten minutes later I was smoking pot too and I was on my way to being a real American high school student. I decided that I could get to love high school. Was I ever wrong!

papyrina 52F
21133 posts
3/20/2006 2:37 pm

i still get asked if i've met the queen much as you play it nice and light ,i bet as a young lad,it was frightening at the time

I'm a

i'm here to stay

RoyalPurpleRose 53F

3/21/2006 10:16 am

I would have been terrified. It still amazes me how utterly stupid people can be. We hosted exchange students for years. Our first daughter is from Norway. Before each student arrived, I would get out the world atlas and show our kids where their sister or brother was coming from. I even went out and bought a globe. They (my girls) were fascinated.

~Kisses, RPR

rm_titsandtires 52M/42F
3656 posts
3/22/2006 6:25 pm

I am so glad to see that "pot" is what brought you to being a real American high school student. Too funny!


Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/22/2006 6:26 pm

papy, I used to tell them that I had tea with the old duckie just before we came to America.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/22/2006 6:28 pm

RoyalPurpleRose, how are you doing? It really is almost mind boggling how little is know about the outside world here on the west coast. I am struggling with a lot of these issues with my youngest daughter right now.

Fallic40 54M
1858 posts
3/22/2006 8:28 pm

tires, that and my superb set of San Fransisco Riding Gear jeans with appropriate velour shirt.

High school was very interesting for me as I was just about finished in the UK and I basically had to redo it. It was a bit like putting a cat amongst the pigeons. I was much physically smaller than most of the people around me but about five years ahead in terms of maturity.

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