Made To Wear Grey School Shorts At Sixteen
I graduated from shorts to longs (in the mid 1950s) at the end of third year at grammar school - about six or seven weeks before my fifteenth birthday.
During the last term of my fourth year I was stupid enough to steal some items for my model railway from a local shop. My father was suspicious and, after trying to lie my way out of it, forced me to confess I had stolen them. He punished me for this in the traditional way (!) and then made me go to the shop with him on the Saturday afternoon. It was quite busy, but he made me hand over the items in front of everybody. The shopkeeper examined them and, as they were in undamaged condition, he agreed to take them back. My father asked him if he wished to take the matter further and he said he would leave the matter of my punishment in my father's hands
We returned home and, not unexpectedly, I was given another lecture, followed by the inevitable punishment. I thought that was the end of it, but during the school Summer holiday I was taken for the new clothes for my next year at school. To my horror, my mother told the assistant she wanted grey flannel shorts and knee socks for me. I protested, but to no avail. The items were brought to the counter and I was told by my mother to go and try them on in the fitting room. When I came out, she said how smart I looked and, when I went to get changed, she told me I must keep the clothes on as I had to get used to wearing them in public.
I returned to school, in shorts and knee socks, the day before my sixteenth birthday and, needless to say, was the ob