Germany (Part One)Mature

My name is Catherine Louise Montgomery. I was born one minute to one on the 30th December, unwilling to wait for New Years Day. I was also an accident of sorts. My mother had miscarriages before managing to have my older brother. She and my dad tried to have a second child and were unsuccessful. Then once they'd given up on the idea I was conceived. My dad was unable to be there for my brother's birth because the army had sent him somewhere far away for months. My mum says she and him were determined to have their second kid during a holiday so he had to be there. She laughed when the doctor gave the prediction of New Years Day.

There aren't many photos of my childhood. The ones I have I cherish and look at from time to time. I don't have many early childhood memories to be honest. I lived in Paderborn, Germany until I was eight. We lived somewhere until I was three or four I think outside Paderborn. During that time my dad was only there half of the time. There was one incident I've been told about where my dad had fallen asleep with the front door open. I decided to follow mum to work, putting my dad into a serious panic when he woke up. I also ran into the bathroom when the floor was still wet and slipped, cracking my head open. My dad used it as an excuse to get out of a ticket when he speeded home from the hospital. He really didn't want to miss the world cup. Then we moved to Paderborn itself. Me and kindergarten didn't get on. I struggled to hear what the teacher said and got into the bad habit of hitting the other kids who talked at the same time as her. It got me kicked out, then we realised I had glue ear. My mum had a big go at the teachers, since it was a common thing. My glue ear got sorted and I went back. But I still got carefully watched, seen as a trouble child.

I can only recall two names from that time and assume they were my best friends there. Mikey and Robert. I can kind of remember their faces, but this was before facebook. And we were too young to think of taking down a home number. I've tried to find them but to be honest have given up. I mostly remember climbing the trees and warm summer days in the park next to my house. I remember my dad taking me and my brother sledding in a nearby hilly field. I wasn't popular or unpopular in my school in Germany. I didn't get bullied, though I did concentrate on my studies I think. Both Mikey and Robert were in the year below me and I wasn't particular close to others in my class. I remember tournaments of who could get to top of the climbing towers fastest. Before teachers got wrapped in safety precautions and would just watch us carefully. I also had a habit of disobeying my parents to go to the park furthest from my house, near the apartment flats where they both lived. The park was my favourite, in a wooded area with tire swings and the trees I loved to climb.

I didn't argue with my parents much, my first word had been 'no' for a reason. But for some reason I'd gotten into a big one with them. I ran away and got as far as the local spar shop. I walked into the shop and wondered the shelves. Very aware it was wrong I stole a milky-way bar. I felt guilty the whole way back home but hoped to hide it from my dad when I got home. Someone from the shop had recognised and seen me do it though, calling ahead. When I got home my dad was extremely unhappy, but he only sent me to my room. I'm guessing he or my mum went to the shop to pay for the stolen sweet. I never stole again nor did I run away. Though the thought occurred in my adolescent time. If we ever visited the external family while I lived in Germany I can't remember it. My childhood was pretty self-contained in the large barracks that held three parks, shops and my school. It's nothing like that in England, because of that I lived a very sheltered childhood. I was in for a big shock when I moved to England. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

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