Our family, although living in the part of our council estate reserved for the largest families and therefore the most deprived, my mother insisted on us behaving ourselves, no swearing or fighting and certainly no nudity, so I never saw any of my sisters undressed.
My brother Don, just over a year older than I, did tell me some cock and bull story of how babies were made; he was around eight or nine.
I remember thinking it was the funniest thing I had ever heard, It turned out he was he was nearly right though.
Perhaps it was my total lack of interest in the opposite sex—especially after my brothers explanation of baby production—that I was a late developer in boy/girl relations.
Of course there were some girls that I liked, but it was probably their skills in climbing trees that attracted my attention.
I was thirteen when the war ended in 1945, there was a feeling that every thing was going to change for the better, I was still at school and I started to notice some of these better changes related to the girls in our class.
Particularly a girl we called ‘Jersey Bounce Hutchinson’, she was a very pretty girl, but most of all she had very odd way of walking, it was if she was dancing, this made it look as if she had a pet rabbit up her jumper—I think this is why she was called Jersey Bounce and not after the traditional jazz song that I had thought at first.
Our group of five or six boys would meet most Sundays in the recreation ground (the rec) and were joined by a group of girls from our school, and so started our first real connection with the opposite sex.
This consisted mainly of reading the ‘ News of the world’ more commonly known as ‘The screws of the world’ because of the lurid stories of the rich and famous getting up to no good.
One of us would scan the paper for a likely story and read it out to the rest of us, and when they got to the vital sentence it would be almost shouted out “INTIMACY TOOK PLACE”—I think we would all cheer at this.
Now at first I had no idea what this meant, until the delightful Diana Symonds explained it to me, I fell in love with her on the spot.
Another source of our sex education was a couple of magazines for men, one was called ‘The Lilliput’ and the other was ‘Men Only’,
These were for grown ups and Dave Mawford’s brothers always had them, so of course they were some of our Sunday afternoon reading and were looked at for any naughtiness, and there was plenty.
The list of contents were looked at first, the main interest was any page with the title ‘ Juxtaposition’, at first sight this would seem an innocent enough title, but Dave knew different, it was a code word for pictures of a naked lady.
These black and white pictures left me completely cold, I could not see what all the fuss was about, for one thing they were retouched to remove any lady bits, so they just looked like rather fat boys in funny positions.
It was a different story when I saw the first untouched picture of a naked woman, I was quite shocked.
Now, I know it sounds strange today, but I was eighteen and in Egypt with the Royal Air Force, when I first saw pictures of completely naked women, they were plastered all over the walls of the tents we lived in.
I had to wait nearly three years before I returned home from Egypt to find out if all the stories my mates told me were true.