Back In The Pub Talking About Role Models

Well hello there reader, this week sees me back in The Tavern and a single sheet to the wind as opposed to the many sheets later. (For anyone who doesn’t know the reference it means alcohol consumption essentially, the more sheets, the more drinks)
So this week I hadn’t got anything planned for the blog, but after being on Twitter for a while – yes it can be bad for your health – I scrolled past a video that I had seen a few times that really touches the heartstrings and it gave me an idea. The video in question is a short clip of a very famous – in Britain – footballer called Ian Wright. For anyone who doesn’t know who I mean, Ian is a great guy and after his retirement from professional football has been a guiding light for other youngsters just getting into the beautiful game, especially with young POC kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, just as he had as a child. Ian is a thoroughly good egg.
Anyway the clip is a recording of a very special moment that was a surprise for Ian. Without his knowledge the show had located and brought to him the man who guided his light when he was a bairn. The man who was a beacon for Ian when he needed him the most. It is a beautiful moment in time for the pair. Ian removes his hat immediately in a show of respect to his former mentor and the admiration and love is palpable in those few minutes.
So that beautiful moment inspired this post. Why? Because I want to talk about the mentors in our lives and how they have shaped the people we are. I’ll firstly say that of course my mother will always be my biggest inspiration and mentor in my life, but as that’s my mom I want to think about those people who aren’t relatives that come to mind.
I’m going to firstly my mention my English teacher. I had a few but this one in particular deserves the accolade of being an inspiration to me in childhood. I am talking about Mrs Kennedy – not the teacher from Australian soap Neighbours – but my Mrs Kennedy from Ireland. I remember her as always wearing black, dark hair, dark eyes. She also had a killer wit. I remember that she would hand my creative writing back to me after she’d read it and say that I shouldn’t feel so much for someone so young. I remember her for her no bullshit way of teaching. I don’t remember her ever raising her voice, ever. She didn’t need to.
I remember giving a fellow A-level kid a few pointers that I thought were useful for him, and her saying that if I should consider teaching as a career. Well we know that didn’t happen folks and I regret nothing.
My final memory of her was as I was about to enter my English Literature A-level exam after missing most of my classes for an arsehole boyfriend, and her saying to me, you know this stuff, you know you do, and me thinking there was zero chance of me passing it. In fact I was so sure, I went to work instead of going to collect my results. That day she rang my mom and asked her where I was. My mom told her what I’d done. She said I’d got a C. Of all the things I’ve achieved in my lifetime, that fucking C is one of the best.
Since then I’ve wondered occasionally what she is doing now. I know she left shortly after our final year. I have tried to find her on social media without much luck, but you know what? I’m not surprised that she isn’t into all that, in fact I’d be shocked if she was. She was a mystery then, and a mystery now and that works for me. I just hope she is happy. I would love to be able to see her again, just so I could say thank you.
Many people who knew me then would assume that my music teacher would be someone I considered a mentor, but they would be wrong. My music teacher was great, no doubt he knew what he was doing and he was very talented. But as soon as he discovered I had talent, he spent all his time getting me to sing or play the piano. Don’t get me wrong I loved performing, and still do if I’ve drank enough but one thing was missing. Be never actually gave me praise or encouragement at all. In fact the only time I knew he appreciated my efforts was when he would use me to make other kids feel bad for not performing as well as me. Then one day when I was about 15 he left to work at a more exclusive school. I was bereft. Nobody knows how much I felt betrayed by a man who had taught me how to perform.
Years later my brother saw him in a pub and talked to him. He said that his biggest regret was not taking me with him when he left.
He will never know or understand how it felt to be abandoned by someone who trusted him completely.
Anyway I’m tired and at least a few sheets to the wind now.

Who were your role models growing up?

Bye for now
All my love
Steph
X

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