I was 14 before my periods started, At the time I was a pupil at a large comprehensive school full of thousands of girls. I was the last to start in my class of 32 girls. I remember the humiliation of my gym teacher making us girls put up our hands in the sports hall ‘who had not yet had a period’, I was the only one to raise a hand.
This was the late 50’s and the only protection was the famous ‘Dr White’s. These towels came in one size only, huge. I tried wearing one, and as I walked the towel would wag like a dog. Easy to spot. I went to the outside loo one evening g and saw spotting. God I can’t tell you how relieved I felt. Mum got me the towel and the ‘belt’, an elastic pink contraption. I went into the living room, so excited and told my Dad that I had started my periods. He just nodded without taking his eyes from the telly. Gran was in the room too. Dad later left the room and Gran, in an angry whisper told me off for mentioning this ‘private’ information to a ‘man’. Normally a gentle old soul I was quite taken aback . Then she said, still in this whisper. Do not wash my hair or bathe all the time I am bleeding.
I couldn’t wait to go to school and tell everyone. Remember how it felt going to school on your birthday, that feeling of being special? That’s how I felt. But I guess the ‘wagging tail’ of Dr White said it first.