The September following my early departure from school saw me heading to a cordon bleu school of cookery in the south of England. I became great friends with a girl there and we re-named ourselves. We were watching ‘Romy and Michelle’s high school reunion’ a totally idiotic film about two extremely blond women (literally and figuratively), the film’s tag line being ‘the blond leading the blond’. Totally idiotic maybe, but also very funny and we loved it. My friend really liked the name Romy, so I asked if she wanted me to call her that from then on. I got a kind of HELL YES!!! Reaction, so I did. Wasn’t exactly on the hunt for a new name for me after that, but when (very soon after) we were out dancing in a night club to ‘hot stuff’ by donna summer and some guy made some wisecrack I can’t even remember, Romy and I latched onto it and my new name had been found. Summer. Summer grew into a very different person from the Susie I was before that.
I had been rather shy growing up, maybe not with my friends at school, but I found it hard to make new friends and talk to a boy??? OMG! How was I supposed to do that? There were a couple of boys I had been friends with from age 15, I used to go out with a friend from school that lived fairly close to me, we made friends with a couple of boys and hung out a lot. We played a lot of pool and drank more than we should have in the 3 years before we reached the legal age for it. Still, we had some fun and didn’t come to any harm, though the thought of any daughter of mine being in some of the situations we got into raises the hairs on the back of my neck as I shiver in horror! There are some things that, as long as no one gets hurt, NO PARENT SHOULD EVER KNOW!!!! Still, despite having a couple of male friends I found it hard to talk to guys. I have the occasional moment even now, but my self-confidence has improved a lot over the years.
My first trip to Greece was fantastic. I had a bit of a meltdown one day at home, my mother was staying with us and I was having a hard time dealing with her inability to leave me alone. You see if I could have talked to her about it things might have been different, but the reason my grandparents had taken me in was because my mother was into drugs and they messed her head up. Over the years I have seen her and her friends of the time, and guy she was seeing, sit around smoking pot. I have seen them mellow out on it and sit around doing nothing all day long but roll another cigarette (with extras or without, frequently with). I have also seen her on other things, like speed, and when she was having an LSD flashback that was freaking her out. I have also visited her in the psychiatric hospitals and half-way houses she has lived in for months or years at a time. As I write this she has been in one place or another for the past 11 or so years. She actually visited the other day, along with one of the nurses and a driver who works at the hospital, he could have been a male nurse I’m not sure. It was the first time since before my son was born that she has seen where I lived. My son is 10 years old. It was a rather good visit, I had made some chilli-con-carne and rice, and I showed her around, we all talked, she met my dogs. It all sounds very normal, but my mother has drug-induced-schizophrenia and it could have been so different. I have been on visits to see her where all she does is cry because she thinks she can’t see (for the record, she can). I have had phone calls from her that have resulted in me calling the hospital right back because she sounds like she is away with the fairies, head in la la land and maybe they should think about adjusting her meds yet again because whatever cocktail she is on obviously isn’t all that great. She has sent postcards to my son that I have hidden and paraphrased to him because they make no sense as written. Yes, I know I am digressing again. The point is, my mother has a whole host of her own problems and is emotionally stuck at 15, the age when she started doing drugs. She is emotionally very fragile, and telling her to back the hell off and leave me alone was not an option, even when I was an emotional teenage mess myself.