I was 11 years old when my dad got a job in Scotland in 1983. I
was a typical American boy in the 1980s. I grew up in jeans and "T"
shirts. I did occasionally wear short pants during the summer, but I never had a
short pants suit or ever wore kneesocks. I had never even heard of a
kilt. I grew up in Houston, Texas and knew nothing about living abroad.
My dad worked for an oil services
firm and the North Sea oil boom created a lot of job opportunities in'
Scotland. Was I in for a surprise when we moved. It all sounded kind
of exciting to me, moving to a foreign country. We had never even
traveled abroad for vacations. I was a bit unhappy about leaving my
friends, but off we went to Scotland.
I was enrolled in a preparatory school, a sort of private elementary
school. I was really surprised when I saw the uniform. I was soon decked
out in a bright red blazer, but to my surprise also a pair of short grey
pants (which they called trousers) and knee socks. That was bad enough as
basically grew up in jeans. As I said, previously I had only worn
shorts even to play in--and even then not to often. So the
idea of wearing shorts with those knee socks didn't appeal to me one
little bit. I felt
like "a right cissy" as my Scotish school mates would have phrased it.
I was really glad none of my fiends back home ever saw me dressed like
The short pants, however, weren't the worst of it--not by a far shot.
The blazer, tie, and shorts
were just for every day school wear. No going to school in comfottable jeans over
there. For special occasions we had to dress up in a kilt. Well you can
imagine what good old Texas red neck boy thought of that. I knew nothing about
Scotland, all I knew was they were making me wear a dress! There wasn't
a lot I could do about it though. My mom thought I was being silly and
told me how "nice" I look. (I can tell you that 11-year old boys are all
that excited about looking "nice"!!) My
sister was rather amused by it.
I remember the first time I had to wear them. I
put my grey school shorts on underneath. Well you would thought I had
commited some sort of henious crime when I got to school. As far as I was
concerned it wasn't any ones business what I wore under my stupid kilt.
But apparently in Scotland it is just not done.
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