Feminism has always been a strange concept to me. I never grew up thinking that women were an underclass who were being exploited by men. My mother was certainly not a downtrodden house wife without a mind of her own.
My sisters as well were treated no differently to the boys and Dad expected them to be able to do as much farm-work as any man. Family are much cheaper workers than employees and will work longer hours in worse conditions. Camps Farm didn’t have an HR Department.
My parents had three tranches of family. Firstly, Dennis born in the 30s and Ann in 1940 then Alan and Sue in 46 and 47 then finally me as the obvious mistake born in 1954. Sue was the closest to me in age and often had to keep a reluctant eye on me. I think she still does.
Sue was something of an action hero in the day and had many exciting adventures starting from having a fist fight when she was 6 to recover a school library book from an older bigger boy who snatched it from her. She won.
That wasn’t the last time she had to resort to fists while she was growing up. There may be one or two readers of this blog who will recall the drubbing given them for trying to take liberties.
Those who know Sue as the hard working, much admired former Ladies College girl may be surprised to read of her past.
When she was sweet seventeen she was driving along in her new Ford Poplar along the front when she noticed a horse drawn milk float galloping out of control towards the Longstore. The milkman had left the horse while he delivered the milk door to door. A sudden backfire from a passing car startled the usually bomb proof mare who decided to go home at top speed without waiting for her owner.
Sue immediately decided to try and get in front and stop the horse before she damaged herself or passers-by. That wasn’t as easy as it seemed when the horse turned into the Bouet rather than staying on the wide open road.
Sue followed as close as she could but just couldn’t get past. Then the horse turned up Mont Arrive, presumably still trying to follow its usual milk route to get home. With some skilful driving Sue managed to get past the horse. We have to remember she had only just passed her test and wasn’t exactly Stirling Moss.
With a bit of a head start she pulled up at the Tobacco Factory, got out and stood in the middle of the road ready to face down the bolting horse and the heavy milk float. Being very used to horses Sue waved her arms out as wide as she could and gave no indication that he would move.
This wasn’t really enough to bring it to a halt but she managed to grab the side of the bridle and digging her heels in brought the rig to a dead stop.
Sue, like all real heroes, plays this story down by saying the horse had probably run out of steam by then and was easy to stop. No matter, not every girl would have done what she did that day.
And she’s my sister.