Hippy Haystack And Blue Jeans No More.It is December 1975 and I'm 14 and it is a few days after Christmas and it's Summer time too.I arrived via a Stateliner bus in my unflared jeans and red check jumberjack style woolly long sleeved shirt and a cowboy straw hat and my gymboots.
I was one smugg little so and so and I thought I was a big teenage boy now and moved on to long trousers in my immature mindset and wow how things were going to change in the short term.
A lone Anglican priest was up at a wooded tall hillside looking for a missing twelve year old primary aged schoolboy named Billy Brownlow and this upperclass boy had decided he did not want to spend most of his summer holidays learning subjects or doing taxing sports and stupid dancing too.
He rang the missing boy's father and the father checked his son's room and there he was in his shortie pj's sound asleep in bed.
"He's here Father and he's in for it when I get my hands on that little 'Scallywag' "he sputtered.
"Father I have an great idea for you and it concerns a little Catholic choir boy named Patrick Durward and he is coming out of year 7 and good friend's with my lad who is twelve like the other five boys in your camp"he quipped.
''What have you in mind Bill"Father Bryan asked him.
"Let Patrick join your group as the head choir boy because he is a treble soprano and your after one for Saint Peters College and Prince Alfred College too and cut his hair short like the other and he'll look very much like your twelve year olds and one in his uniform he will conform to your orders"he said with a laugh.
"Done Sir and what a challenge too it would be to take another related faith and have them meld in to one great little group of Christian choir boys"he cried.
"He will fight you though because he just graduated from shorts in his little quirky ways but he is a good boy too and that long hair needs cutting so badly"he suggested.
"Put him in Billy's new uniform because my boy has a spare one and Father make that boy shine and oh yeah make him follow his Celtic heritage''saluted the banker.
So he was one boy down but now he set with his other five boys to add the hippy haystack boy to his troupe of little boy learners whether he liked it not and Mr Brownlow already talked to Patrick's lovely mother and she totally agreed to sign him over to the Anglican Preparatory Camp under Reverend Bryan's guardianship.
I was frogmarched from the Y.M.C.A. camp to the posh brats camp and they were little twelve year olds nd they had surrounded me and as of now I was boy number six.
I was unceremoniously dumped in to a dorm bed with Billy's name on it and I felt all angry at being put with the rich gits from up the hill.
One by one the five prep boys got a College Cut and wearing a brand new school uniform.Red blazer'red cap'red knee socks'boater'white collar shirt'red tie'black Oxford school shoes and a lovely pair of grey shorts with beltloops'fly'pop button and side adjuster tabs too.
I belted out a hearty laughwhen I saw the carbon cuties but I laughed too soon did I not.
"Master Patrick your next for a full grooming my fine feathered friend"he wise cracked.
"I'm not getting a haircut and I'm not wearing flipping grey shorts again as I'm a big teenager now that I've passed in to year eight"I fired my guns at full bore.
"Suck eggs you Irish git"flustered a very teary voiced Thomas Blackshoez.
"I'm Australian you golden goose"I fired back over his head.
"Get in there you little devil'..."you mum wants you in short hair and she wants you to start learning about life too"Reverend Bryan chastised me.
I put in a big tall silver chair and his dear wife Mary had her hair styling gear spread out nearly on a sidetable and I was not happy at all.
Tears welled in my grey blue eyes and the priest tied a cord rope around my waiste and I was stopped in my tracks.
She put a cute smock around my chest and she set about cutting my long hair in to a College Cut'first she cut off the lengths and then on went the shaver and hey presto short hair once more and a twelve year primary looking schoolboy once again.
She presented me to the boys and Father too.
"Wow you look ten like us lot"said Thomas.
"Get lost you snobby git'....I hate short hair'..."I'm so angry with you Sir"I swore under my breath as well.
"A cake of soap and a proper school attire for you foul mouth boy"Father provoked me.
He led me to a small changeroom and he had me in my uniform in less than five minute but I got to wear a straw boater as he wanted me to be the head boy at this camp of learning.
I pulled the shorts up and he adjusted the side adjusters and boy six was born and shorn.
Tear rolled down my round face and I was defeated and sat down on my bed and cried for ten minutes and I felt humiliated too and could not look at any of my better peers.
"Father you have wounded that kid'..he is really one upset boy"chipped in Peter Porter.
"He will face more issues shortly because those lower leg hairs are being shaved off too"Mrs Bryan issued more bad news.
''All my boys will be doing soccer all the next 6 weeks and Patrick your staying in short pants the whole time and you'll be twelve too because you've replaced Billy Brownlow but we are adding wo boys and other boy is Freddie Warner who is also twelve and a choirboy too.
''Thrice a week you'll get your hair trimmed because as of now your our little boy gentlemen and boys of a learned nature"He stammered.
"A ballet program with Mary my wife'rowing'tennis'swimming'cubs and Celtic dancing styles too and both Patrick and Thomas are getting braces on their teeth as paid for by Lady Goldthorpe who is my mother inlaw.
"She like little boy in their place but to be cared for in a proper and healthy manner and shorts are a healthy for young boys"he quipped.
The weeks rolled on and by week two I was ok with staying in my school attire but I laothed the all red satin soccer kit I had to wear.Satin drawstring scalloped leg shorts with built in underwear'red v-neck nylon shirt'red knee socks and new style soccer boots and boots I loved.
We all ran out on to the field the first time with Billy and Freddie joining to bring the camp number to eight and three younger boys joined in to and were added to our camp as well for a full prep program and they were three ten year olds but Father wanted to top up his choir to twelve boys.
Everyone was happy and exited about our training but I was still in the changeroom crying a river of tears.
"Patrick you look like your world has fallen appart''he cried.
"I don't want to be ten in this soccer kit'...umm..."I feel embarrassed and very shy too'..I hate my shyness''I said to him in earnest.
'Hey don't feel all cut up and I know you love Liverpool and ok you might look eleven but hey we just want you to be one of our special guys''...''A boy who is cherished by his peers both young and old"he said as he held my hand and I faced the music as a little soccer boy.
''Your school want you to get over your 'shocked by shorts' phobia and this is one of those reasons your attendinng this exclusive camp''...'a lot of fine meaning people put up funds to help four you boys attend this camp because we know all you boys are great singers and God freaing Christians too''...'we want to afford you love and repect like the other eight upperclass boys have in their lives already'he smiled as he messed up my short hair.
'Your a beautiful boy Patrick and you deserve to taste life as a boy who we here all respect and you have a wonderful gift in that voice of yours and you are going to learn to use it for God'he quipped.
'Patrick you look great in that kit'a real football boy like us lot''...we love our footy andp please don't go all shy on us as we want you in our team fullstop'' said Mark McMahon a pure Scottish boy.
I was thus put in the goals and I started to like my kit and I looked down to notice my legs were tanned.
We did rowing in a white kit and Mark'Thomas and I had to wear kilts at a Scottish ceilidh and again I played but go a sharp slap to the legs and I got on with being a wee Scottish boy who had to dance in front of Madame Maviele who ran the local ballet school.
Us three got 'dobbed' in for ballet to see if the school could add some more little boys to their school and she was upbeat about myself.
"He shows a whole lot of promise and I see he's had a broken leg but we can fix that with exercise'she allowed.
''Really'' said a totally surprised Mary and she afforded me more ballet lessons and an extra week at this camp.
''He should wear cotton long leg boxer shorts with those nice tanned legs of his'....''he must be about eleven'she suggested.
"Fully elasticated white shorts and blue ones for ballet school uniform''she recited to Mary who had a huge grin on her face.
"Oh he hate shorts but we have kept him in them and gave the boys a proper school boy haircut''..''he's having braces fitted tomorrow and his aunt is paying for that dental work because she loves the fact he's excelling at ballet''she boasted.
"A beautiful smile for a beautiful but shy boy'she let on.
''I'm buying our dancing boys some cute wool blend suits'...''shorts pants and nice shoes with proper maroon bow ties'said the ballet Dame.
I got given a pair of tan sandals with my long leg cotton shorts and white polo shirts and the shorts had no fly and totally elasticated too'they made me look ten and I was annoyed as was Thomas too.
We put on a play and Thomas got to play a little girl in a flowery yellow sun dress'we wore matching underwear and a petticoated too with a blond Heidi wig and white Mary Jane strap shoes and he hated it too.
He lost the a bet by picking the longest piece of stick and copped plenty of stick too.
He had to stay in the outfit all day long because he swore at Mary as it was she that put him in the attire.
He slept in the dress for future bad language and he never used bad language again.
Danny Waite wanted to wear the dress because he was the little actor but he had draw a short straw.
Thomas and I had to don Austrian attire to sing Edelweiss and Who Will Buy to sing before our benefactors and we were both in black lederhosen and we were not too happy either.
Thomas acted up again and he and Danny were dressed as girls in short tartan skirts and pink lacey knickers with short bobbin wigs and a white blouse with oranges for breasts.
I managed to avoid getting made to measure as a girl in a play or concert act because I had excepted that I must wear shorts pants whilst at this camp and do as I'm told.
I got to join cubs and wore both grey and khakky shortish shorts but I wanted to try cubs but disliked the little boy shorts.
Thomas laughed at my braces so he was sent to get his eyes checks and it turns out he had a lazy eye and so he wore black square glasses ftom then on for three years.
I never gave him grief abiut it either and he behaved much better after that.
But he was back in 'his' dress again for telling crude jokes about girls.
I was put in grey shorts for acting up at the zoo visit and so they put me in a cotton t-shirt with teddy bear on it and Mary Jane black strap shoes'the shoes Thomas had worn with 'that' dress.
Those shorts has no fly and were fully elasticated too and Thomas gave me flack and wore the same thing too.
Thomas had a wet bed he tried to hide and switched his wet matress with Billy Brownlow who in turned dobbed him in.
Thomas ended up in white woollen diapers with pink plastic pants and that haunting dress he hated.
Mary put yellow ribbons in his short hair and mascara too'he was very unhappy that whole day.
He wore a grey pleated skirt with his uniform instead of his shorts for saying girls suck.
When the camp ended I got over my phobia and actually told my new highschool to add grey shorts for the warmer months and wore them for the first month of year eight and later for a month for trying to be a bully and put me back in my box.
My old school has a summer uniform for highschool boys now and gee I was annoyed as they came in to being in 1985 and I had left in 1979.