If Anyone Knows, Warty Nose! 1978
Scary School Memories
In 1978 l was 15 and had been back in the UK for my first full year after returning from living most of my earlier lfe abroad in Australia and Malaysia. It was a lot to take on board in many respects, l had to drop back a year in British schooling so as to catch up on my studies due to Australian schooling being behind the English curriculum. So l was in essence a year older than most of my classmates.
It was harder on me for many reasons; 1] l had an extremely broad Australian accent which meant l stood out a mile the moment l opened my mouth, 2] l wasn’t just shy but painfully shy around the opposite sex, 3] l was a book loving nerd who spent most of his spare time table top wargaming, 4] l was considered an oddball because of my quirkiness [enter unrecognised/undiagnosed/unseen Asperger’s Syndrome] and 5] l wasn’t what you would class as an active lover of the usual sports, as in football and cricket were not big fans of mine over say baseball, softball and running/hurdling so had very little in terms of relatable conversation to my peers and 6] l actually was missing Australia not having had wanted to return to a country that despite being born in l knew very little about. I missed my home country. I didn’t like England, it was that simple. I hated the weather, it was always either raining or snowing, was cold and miserable. Even today having been living here since 77, l still do not consider Britain my home.
In addition to that l lived at best a troubled life at home with a neurotic Mother, and unhappy Australian born Sister and an even odder ball of a Father who used to drink and live an adulterous and at times gambling lifestyle with no tolerance for his family who was an extremely strict disciplinarian with no patience for his children simply being just that – children.
I lived with stress and anxiety everyday at home and there was also the potential for internal violence towards me from my Father or on the odd occasion from my Mother, or there was violence towards my Mother from my Father which l would witness or violence from my Mother to my Sister. So life at home was as hard as was life at school where l would be bullied for being different. I tried to make the best of two bad situations and so became quite possibly odder and more isolated with my alone times. I was never allowed to discuss externally home life problems that l was experiencing so tended to remain quiet and shut away.
School despite all the problems l faced daily was still regarded as the lesser of the two evils, and so l would put on a brave face and for the hours out of the home, would just muddle on and enjoy it the best l could. The bullies there couldn’t even come close to home life brutalities and bullying so of the two areas, yeah school life was way easier!
But just because it was marginally better than home life didn’t mean l needed more problems at school to cope with, which sadly arrived in March 1979 and it arrived in the form of a strange spot on the outside of my left nostril! At that age l didn’t think anything of it, “Oh great, another bloody spot to contend with l thought.” I was wrong, the spot over the following two weeks 1] didn’t go away and 2] got bigger, and bigger, and bigger and longer and uglier!!!
“Oh my God!!” Exclaimed my Mother one day and laughing shouted out to my family “Rory’s got a wart on his nose he looks like the wicked witch!!”
Grief, if l didn’t have enough problems already, now l had the mirth of my family and the ridicule at school! People suddenly started deliberately not sitting beside me in school, the bullies just had more ammunition to throw at me, l was called Warty Boy, Wart Hog, Warty Witch,was having rumours spread around about me, was told l was more infectious than sexually transmitted diseases. girls saw me and laughed, teachers cringed at the sight of me when l spoke to them and the greatest jibe of all was the phrase used often “If Anyone Knows, Warty Nose!”
It WAS HORRIBLE!!
After six weeks l finally got an appointment to go to the hospital for it to be seen to, where upon over the course of a month the THING was cauterised off, and if l thought nothing else could get any worse, once more l was proven wrong. Smelling burning flesh is trust me a horrible smell, but smelling it when it is literally milimetres from your nose is far, far worse!!
Finally the thing was gone, but for ten years afterwards, if my nose ever got wet, as in rainwater wet, l could smell the same smell – that same damn smell of burning nose flesh!
But the jibe Warty Nose lived on with me till the day l left school.
So how about you, any scary school memories?