I was born in London, specifically Clapton, back in 1954. The earlier spelling was ‘Clopton,’ which meant ‘farm on the hill’ but I can assure you that by the time I was born, any farmland had long been built over.
In my time, it was modest housing lived in by poor immigrants, of which my family was one. My mother’s family came from Lithuania and my fathers from Poland.
As is the case in most poor areas, it was rough and tough and you either became a little rough yourself or you were the one left being picked on.
Well… unsurprisingly, I picked the ‘get a little rough’ category. I wasn’t a particularly happy child, although my joking around didn’t show it. My education was poor and I was known to get into a fight or two at school.
Going to an all Jewish school surrounded by nearby school gangs certainly didn’t make for a nice safe environment to study in.
Some things you never forget. I remember one day my friend and I ended up next to a sweet shop highly popular with the enemy, so to speak. We quickly became surrounded and threatened. Just before they went for us we gave each other a look and together went mad, with fists going in every direction. Much to our joyful surprise we managed to literally fight our way out of there, with just sore fists as a result.
Looking back on the rough and tumble beginnings to my life, I think it gives me a personal perspective on adventure and danger that I would be missing if I had grown up in a sheltered middle-class environment. I have the memories of needing to be streetwise, and relying on luck and my fists to get me out of difficult situations. That, combined with my later adventures travelling through the USA and living in Jerusalem during a war, has created in me a strong feel for adventure.
I believe this adventurous character and willingness to fight against the odds is evident in Kevin in Universal Games and, Tremayne in Game Hunter.
My dad was a widow with two daughters before he met my mum. They married, had a son, then 13 years later had me. So although I wasn’t an only child, my siblings were years older than me and not around to play.
With my siblings gone from home and my dad working in a factory, my mother let me run around wild… until my parents decided they needed a professional opinion on my crazy activeness! And that is what I will tell you about in my next blog.