Blanket -‘Happiness is egg shaped.’


Sylvie loved to relate the story of my arrival into her home to anyone with ears and I like to think that it did arouse some maternal instinct in her. However, it was often used as a way of reminding me of my beginnings and how fortunate but ungrateful I was that she had rescued me.

I was around nine months old at this time, and the attire I was said to have arrived in has been described to me in great detail on many occasions. I was dressed in an old, dirty, tight fitting, yellow cardigan, the wool matted together.  My nappy was described as badly stained and hanging off of me, heavy with acrid, smelly urine.

There was little else other than the blanket I was wrapped in, “The only decent bleeding thing you had,” Sylvie would often sneer, “And she soon took that f****r as she said she wanted a reminder of you. Reminder, my arse!” Apparently there was little else in the way of clothes, nappies or toys, “Little and f**k all!” was Sylvie’s comment “And what there was went straight in the f*****g bin!”

I was promptly stripped, scrubbed and dressed in hastily borrowed clothes, from neighbors and friends who had no doubt been regaled with stories of the dismal state of my arrival. I was then plonked in the immaculate Silver Cross pram, stored away since used for Sylvie’s fourth child, and wheeled along the street for Sylvie to be admired for her wonderful deed and kind heart.  Whilst I’m sure some elements of my condition are true, I am also aware that there has been some embellishment over the years in order to blacken Pam but place Sylvie in a shining light.

“An ugly little bleeder,” was how I was described; Fat and bald. Not chubby or chunky, big or pleasantly plump but without a doubt, quite simply ‘fat and bald’. It seems quite so much so that the family would rub my bald, shiny head and declare ‘Happiness is Egg-shaped.’  This slogan, among others such as ‘Eggs are Cheap,’ ‘Eggs are Easy,’ and ‘Go to Work on an Egg,’ was used by the Egg Marketing Board in the late 1960’s to promote eggs and the slogans became popularized through advertising campaigns. It obviously became a source of amusement for the family to apply this likeness to me and I’m told that I would chuckle along every time they rubbed my head.

How I came to be fat could be said to be somewhat of a mystery given my apparent diet prior to living with Sylvie. On asking what it was I liked to eat, Pam had flippantly replied, “Oh, she loves Fag Ash and Baked Beans!”  This reply would come to haunt me for many years to come and was repeated to me whenever I did something wrong to remind me how ungrateful I was to have been saved from a lifetime diet of ‘fag ash and baked beans.’


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