Friday, August 20, 2010

A touch of class.

We were very poor growing up. ("How poor were you?" Poor? We were so poor we thought knives and forks were jewelry. We were so poor, the bank repossessed my father. Thank you, ladies and germs, I'll be here all century.) But despite his visual handicap, my Dad always held down a low-paying factory job, and we always managed the classic working-class summer vacation -- two weeks at an English seaside resort.

A corner of Great Yarmouth.
When I was ten, our destination was Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, a pimple on the bum of East Anglia, the furthest we'd ever traveled for one of these annual jaunts (and it occurred to me only recently that it might well have been the furthest my parents had ever traveled from home in their lives -- 120 miles as the crow flies). It was either there or in nearby Lowestoft that we went on a pilgrimage to a seafront shack, which we'd been told made the best fish and chips on the planet. With open bags of oily chips in our hands, we wandered off along the promenade, munching.

"Oh!" Mum exclaims disparagingly. "We're eating in the street! We're common!" ("Common" meaning resolutely lower class.)

This comment astounded me. Not that my mother regarded eating in the street as déclassé. No, what surprised me was that, up to that point, I hadn't realized my mother thought we weren't common.

1 comment:

  1. No worries, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, possibly the best emperor Rome ever had, reportedly ate sausage in the street with his slave girl mistress. At least you guys didn't have slaves.