celebrating and creating our own LGBTQ+ history in honour of Sheila McWattie

day fourteen

A black and white snapshot

My sister popped round the other day with some photos to give me. Now, I like to put my photos in strict chronological order, in albums – not for me the shoe box with a mess inside. Once she’d gone, I set to finding these photos their rightful place.

It’s quite striking how my sister’s memories of one event, one person are so very different from mine. Take this picture, for example: my sister would only see me, with my gang, a group of 11 year olds, in the playground of St Therese, in our last year of primary school. We are wearing the pink overall we were made to wear to protect our clothes and are standing around the only tree in the courtyard.

I see 11 year old passion, worshipping at the foot of its first love. I see me aching for a word, a touch, a look. I see me oblivious…It is May ’68 , even the student revolution could not tempt me away from the object of my desire.

All I could do was wait for the lunch bell to ring, knowing I would have treasured time with the loved one. She is taller than me, blonde and has a way of sliding her hands in her pockets that oozes confidence, poise and seduction. She does not button up her overall, she leaves it open, an act of daring and defiance I admire.

My sister would see a grumpy, plump, tallish 12 year old who spells trouble. She’s always been a pretty good judge of character.


Yolaine Jacquelin, 56, East  Farleigh, Kent

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