A message from a teacher

Miss Walmsley was my favourite teacher. She was our gym teacher. I loved sports; she loved to teach sports. She was different. Attentive. Caring. Encouraging. She was someone I wanted to tell about my dad and what was happening at home…

Fast forward almost 50 years. A birthday greeting just the other day via Messenger…

“Dear Mich,

I wish you a very Happy Birthday. I read your blog and was in tears, as I knew you during those times and had no idea and only wish you could have somehow told me what you were going through. I have the utmost respect for what you went through in your early years. I do remember you were in Shepherd Street.

You have crept into my thoughts daily, recently. And the utmost respect for what you have become in later life. A wonderful kind and loving person who seems to be there to care for fellow human beings. Well done Mich, with love Lynda x”

I was deeply moved by her message, beyond words really. I felt an affection for her during those times. I felt she cared about me. She helped find a way for me to go on a school trip to the Isle of Man. Something that never would have happened had she not made it happen. I have always been grateful for that.

There are many things she could never have known…

Like the fact that when my brother John and I were in Shepherd Street Mission ( a children’s home) my dad was actually in Whittingham Hospital (a mental institute) receiving shock treatments for his mental instability, depression, etc., He told me later in life that he had hoped the shock treatment would take away his desire for me. That he knew he was sick and wanted badly to stop it.

Like how the day I got back from the trip to the Isle of Man my dad was waiting for me in the living room, and rather than ask me about my trip, he had sex with me. The memories and fun and love that I’d shared with my friends and the teachers on the trip all banished to the back of my mind, because his desire for me was more important!

Like how when I went to her (Miss Walmsley) because I was bleeding and didn’t realize I had started my period and she sent me to Sister Mary, the headmistress, who in turn instructed me on how to use a sanitary pad and sent me home with one, and then when I arrived home and told my dad, he was angry about it and how he then started squirting white creamy stuff inside of me before he had sex with me and told me if I ever got pregnant that I was to tell people I had been with a boy when the fairground people came through town, and how he then knew before me whenever my period was coming.

Her message to me led me back to how I felt at that time in my life. I was 11, going on 12. I was isolated. I felt alone. Every friend I had, every move I made, everything I needed was a sexual demand or barter with my dad, a blow job, a wank, sex from behind. I feared letting him know I liked someone because I knew he would use it to have some kind of sexual interaction with me. Dinner money each day for school was usually a wank, playing out with a friend was maybe a blow job, a friend spending the night was probably sex from behind on the top of the cellar steps. The list was endless, the control oppressive; learning to stay one step ahead of him consumed my mind, when really I should have been this young and innocent girl who loved school, loved to learn, loved my friends and teachers…yet, I was really the young girl who became hyper-vigilant, watching his every move, just as he watched mine, could never relax and let my guard down, couldn’t take a bath without my dad watching me from his bedroom window (he deliberately did not put curtains on the bathroom window) slept at night with scissors under my pillow!

I wish I could have told Miss Walmsley all of it. I know it will hurt her to know more than she ever could have imagined. I’m grateful that she cared so much about me and still does!

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