It was the Kings speech that made me think of the strange prejudice towards those who were left-handed. It was alleged that King George VI was a left hander, who had been forced to use his right.
So what is it that makes sensible intelligent people, detest the thought of left-handedness? I have read many theories; but am still none the wiser! When I recall certain incidents from my childhood, I can, as an adult, realise what happened to me. As a child I had no idea! The following is an account of what I remember and how I applied a childs logic.
There were two of us in a classroom, who had to sit on our left hands, if the left hand came into the teachers vision, a few raps over the knuckles with a ruler would follow. It seems strange that I remember the pain of sitting on my throbbing hand, rather than the pain of the ruler.
I was never afraid to go to school, but I yearned to please the teacher. I constantly told myself, to sit on my wrong hand, I didn’t say left; as I was unaware it was called left. I assumed that I was doing something wrong, and I did all Icould to make sure the teacher would be pleased with me.
I was bought up in a children’s home, and I seem to remember keeping my hands in my pocket (I still do) maybe to hide bruised knuckles, also I was always falling off my bike, so maybe all the signs of the ruler were masked by the falls! Even at a very young age, I didn’t want to rock the boat; how on earth can a young child be aware of the need to keep silent? I carried that don’t rock the boat syndrome well into my adult life. I don’t remember if I suffered this ‘corrective treatment’ in the home as I am unable to match up my punishments with the crimes. To be fair, I doubt it, as most of the punishments were done by staff, who I think were probably on relief. Please don’t get me wrong, on the whole, the incidents were few and far between, and I am not sure if I am more haunted by what happened, or what I have forgotten! So I can only conclude that it was only the teacher who had the issues with my left-handedness. I cannot for the life of me, remember her name and her face is a blank; I can see her hair in a tight bun, and the blue tweed suit she wore.
When I went to Secondary School, I was well and truly right-handed; although my left was the prominent one for sports; nobody said a word, that may well be down to the fact that I was useless at sport, and the correction wasn’t worth the effort!
I have no idea how long it took to make me use my right, but to this day I use my right hand for most things, and I still occasionally sit on my left.
I thought this prejudice was a product of years gone by, but when my daughter was born I knew she was left-handed as she sucked her left thumb. When she was old enough to start drawing; she always used her left. I once saw her grandma keep giving her the crayon in her right hand and then my daughter would automatically transfer it to her left. My Mother-in-law was told to get used to the idea; her grand-daughter was left-handed. I asked her why she felt the way she did, towards left-handed people, apart from, she won’t be able to open a tin or knit: she couldn’t say why.
My proudly cuddy wifter daughter is 19, she has figured out the tin opener, but sadly didn’t master the art of knitting.