On February 28th 1962 along came my little brother Richard to complete the Petcher family. This came as a bit of a surprise because this was in the days when women disguised their pregnancy under an expansive flowing smock for fear that anyone noticed and realised that they had had sex. It certainly wasn’t discussed in the house and the first I knew of this was when a midwife greeted me home from school, announced the news and introduced me to my new brother. I had no idea where he had come from but it looked like from now on that I would have to be sharing my bedroom.
Parents who had grown up in the 1930s and 1940s were a bit prim and shy about sex and this certainly went for my mum and dad neither of whom ever provided me with any useful sex education lessons, except for dad carelessly leaving ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ lying about that is. We had to find out about this for ourselves through playground talk with better informed school pals, watching the girls in their navy blue knickers in P.E. lessons and putting two and two together for ourselves after looking up the dirty words in a dictionary.
There were some hard lessons to be learned and I can remember one friend fell out with us all because he refused to believe that his parents could ever have conceived him through the sex act and thinking about his mum now I can fully understand the difficulty he must have had in coming to terms with this piece of information.