Both boys made good friends in their new schools. As I have said, one of Sam’s friends Dee is still his friend. By now 30 years have elapsed since they met as eleven-year-olds. When Dee and Sam were teenagers, Dee had a new baby sister and he and Sam often looked after her. I remember one day when Sam said to me with a tone of horror in his voice.
“We’ve got to take her to the park and see ducks”. I think he felt that as a teenager he had grown away from such childish activities. However, they all three survived the experience. I based my book “My Big Brother JJ” on Dee and his little sister.
As I have indicated before, the social mix in the area was great. As well as having a friend whose father worked in the music industry and another whose mother worked in the film industry, Jah also had a friend whose father was a successful architect. The architect was very friendly with members of one branch of the Royal family.
This was the kind of social and housing mix. Some of the children lived in temporary housing. Some lived in mansions. . . .
One little girl lived with her delightful mother in a religious community. She would sometimes arrive in school half asleep, still wearing slippers and often several hours after the start of the school day. (When the child grew up, she became a Norland Nanny, so I would guess that she had had enough of casual hippy-type living.)
Although the Primary school had a racially mixed population, there was only one other black child in Jah’s class. This boy obligingly fell into the stereotype roll of class clown – and even on occasion – the ‘naughty’ clown. Jah did not copy him. Fortunately he did not dare to be naughty. Sometimes he was invited to that boy’s house to play after school and he had a great time. We never discovered what they did that was so great, but when the boy came to our house they mostly did break-dancing on the pavement in front of our house. Sam joined in as well. They were very dedicated to improving their skills and they were most impressive to watch.
The picture below is of Jah and Savo, a friend from his Leicester days who came down to London to spend a day with us.
Savo’s family were Serbs who settled in Britain. This was quite a while before the big problems of the break up of the former Yugoslavia. Savo and Jah formed a warm friendship at their Primary School. Perhaps they were the only children in their class from a different/exotic background? Leicester already had a large Indian population but there were not many Indian children in our children’s Primary School. Leicester was quite segregated between different communities. The Indian families mostly lived in other areas of the city.
Savo was very shy in public of his interesting background. He was terrified that his mother would speak to him in his Mother-tongue in front of other children when she came to pick him up after school. He very clearly did not want to appear ‘different’. Jah was obvously ‘different’ because of the colour of his skin. I don’t know whether that had any effect on their initial bonding, but it remained a good friendship.
In our family we were quite used to the children having to move towns and to start new friendships, as D. served as a minister of churches in various new areas/towns. Fortunately both Lucy and Anna still have friends they met aged five and seven. They have been able to keep in touch into adulthood.
Although there were only two non-white children in Jah’s class, interestingly there were many children from other European backgrounds. There was a Swedish boy, a Swiss boy, a Greek-Cypriot boy and some Irish children. There were also one or two American children, who were over in the UK for a few years.
And then came news of a group of very special visitors.
(See next blogpost.)