Friday, May 02, 2008


I'm afraid I'm jumping on geepeemum's bandwagon with this one... it seemed intriguing.

1. Father went to college.

My dad has a degree from Oxbridge as well as a PhD ditto. I suspect my father is a tiny bit disappointed only one of his children went to his old college and that my PhD is from The Other Oxbridge.

2.Father finished college.

See above

3.Mother went to college.

Ivy League - one where, at the time she went there, there were separate women's and men's institutions.

4.Mother finished college.

Ditto. She has been heard to express regret at being the only person in her immediate family who only has a BSc - her father and brother, ex-husband (my dad) and two children all have PhDs, and her mother had a Masters.

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

My paternal grandfather, and his father, were doctors. My maternal grandfather, maternal uncle, and father, are all academics (only my maternal grandfather I think is "professor" as my dad didn't get that high and my maternal uncle is in a research institution so I'm not sure of his title - but what they call professors in the US, certainly). Sundry other academic relatives, too.

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.

As my mother at the time was a secondary school teacher, and several children of the teachers were at my school, I'm guessing the same.

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.

Many more

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

Probably yes. Oddly I don't think we do now, as I'm trying to be better at decluttering. I keep special books, and easily available ones that I think I'll read again soon, and get rid of the rest.

9. Were read children’s books by a parent.

Yes, until I could read myself, and even then my dad read us big book series - Narnia, Swallows and Amazons.

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.

I'm assuming this means music/dance etc. rather than "going to school and having lessons" - in which case yes - lots of music, some ballet but I was rubbish at that.

11.Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.

Three musical instruments (piano, flute, bassoon) and ballet.

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively.

Possibly, apart from the "absent-minded boffin" stereotype

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.

I think I'd heard of other children having a credit card when I was a child, but only in films.

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

Fees from the Local Authority, and grant from my parents for the first 4 years (I dithered) and then half parental money and half grant in the last year as my brother was also at university that year.

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

Not in my last year, and not for my PhD - not a penny for that, in fact - thank you, MRC.

16. Went to a private high school

Yes - I was due to start secondary school a couple of years after a big change to the school system - my dad who had been to private school (well, actually "public school") would have pushed for this anyway and my mum didn't resist much.

17. Went to summer camp

Unless Guide camp, or a few days at day camp in the US count, no.

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18

I was a swot and didn't need tutoring, plus my dad is a hard scientist and could help with some of the basic stuff.

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels

I think so - at least, I am pretty sure we had a skiing holiday in a hotel once when I was about 13, and a few nights in hotels on our way to and from places. Although some of them may have been motels. Mostly we went self-catering or stayed with relatives or friends, though. My family don't camp and definitely don't stay in caravans, although strangely there appears to be a picture of me aged 1 in wellies and nappy outside a caravan but perhaps it belonged to a friend of the family.

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.

No way, and are you kidding? Although I'm the oldest child and the second-oldest girl cousin, I still got a lot of my clothes from that cousin, and even a few from the boy cousin who's a couple of months older (but quite hefty). I'm not too sure any of my baby/young child clothes came from charity shops but as soon as I started having my own clothes budget, aged about 14, I was a regular - so much so that I started working in one and got a discount. My mother is a seamstress and knitter and one of the jumpers she made me was then my brother's

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

The first car I owned was a 1969 Beetle (so, 2 years younger than me) when I last lived in the US, at the age of 31 (meanly, Mr Spouse won't let me get another one when we go this year). The first car I bought in this country was however new.

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child.

Yes - prints done by a family friend who makes a living from her art (so, not famous, but definitely professional) and lots of historic stuff.

23. You and your family lived in a single-family house.

I think this means detached, rather than "not a flat" but I'm not entirely sure. We lived in a whole house, but it was terraced.

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

Yes - they bought it just before I was born for about £3000 and it had mushrooms in the basement!

25. You had your own room as a child

When I was about 10 the attic was converted to be my room. I chose the wallpaper - pink flowers, of course.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

I'm not sure we had more than one phone in the house before I left home.

27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course

I'm assuming this is some kind of college preparation course. We did have special lessons at school for those taking the Oxbridge exams, but within school time.

28. Had your own TV in your room in high school.

We only had one telly in the house, and my parents still have one each (as they live in different houses now...)

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college.

I had a building society account but I don't think that counts!

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.

First flew to the US to visit my grandparents when I was 3 months old. I think my childhood carbon footprint must have been horrendous.

31. Went on a cruise with your family.

Don't think the overnight ferry to Denmark counts.

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family.

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.

Yes, lots, and I do remember being bored at times!

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

I wasn't aware though was probably told to turn the radiator down sometimes, and until we moved into this house I lived in small flats/houses (the largest being a small mid-terrace). We now live in a large end-of-terrace that is probably similar in heating costs to my parents' house and good grief, the heating bills. Thankfully double glazing should come soon.

22/34. Slightly higher than geepeemum but in that ballpark. I think some of these are either more common in the UK (private school is a bit more common, museums and art galleries are very accessible) or vanishingly rare here (cruises, children having their own phone lines)

*The original authors of this exercise are Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, and Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

[This was written ages ago but I never published it, I hope I've got the formatting at least slightly OK]

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