“T.I.B. – Didn’t go”
To the untrained eye, “T.I.B.” could be some kind of bizarre acronym.
“Tried Intestinal Bleeding”, “Tie is Blue” or perhaps “Tinkerbell is Beautiful”?
It actually stood for – and I am not making this up – “Training in Being”, a 1970’s church group.
Now let me state, right out of the blocks, that I am not religious in any way, shape or form. Even as far back as these early teenage years, I found the whole strange concept of god, jesus and the bible somewhat nonsensical, more akin to a poor sci-fi novel rather than any reasoned level of historical fact.
However, back in the early seventies, the ‘church’ (rather than ‘religion’ – I am eager to make the distinction here) was, pretty much, my “social life”.
I need to backtrack here a little before proceeding with my “T.I.B” explanation. The prior explaining the latter.
When I was born – in 1958 – my Mum, sadly, had a very hard time of it all. In a nutshell, she suffered from extremely bad post-natal depression (now known as “postpartum”), and spent the initial important weeks of my life in hospital, unable – mentally – to care for or look after me.
Dad’s best friend at work was Bill, a tall gentle bloke who was married to Dot, a kindly church-going deeply religious soul, and the pair of them lived just a few streets away from the rented house my parents lived in when they were first married. Bill & Dot (specifically Dot) offered to help my Dad look after me whilst Mum was trying to get better.
With little other options available to him, and desperately needing to continue working to pay the bills etc, he took Dot up on her wonderful offer, leaving me with her from 9-5 during the weekdays.
Mum eventually got better, came home and started her own motherhood. The kindness of Dot & Bill was never forgotten however, so when the time came for my Christening – and in those days pretty much every child was christened, almost regardless of beliefs – they were asked to be my godparents. Which they were honoured to accept.
Thus began a – very mild I have to state – indoctrination into ‘religious matters’. I believe that the times I did go to church back then (and I certainly can’t recall going every weekend?) was not so much due to any kind of faith, but more as a deferential ‘obligation’ to Dot & Bill.
In the Church of England set-up, if a kid is baptised/christened they are also supposed to be “confirmed” at a later age of life, usually in their mid-teens. Confirmation, apparently, being a religious rite of passage, intended to reinforce the person’s faith in the big fella upstairs.
Returning now to “T.I.B.” – Training in Being. It was a small gathering of 8 to 10 teenagers – all scheduled for that “confirmation” – who met up every Sunday night at somebody’s house, supposedly with the intent to discuss ‘bible matters’. In fact, as I remember it, we actually sat round in a circle playing records we’d brought along and “talked about shit”. Every so often, Sue, the ‘group leader’ (with a huge overbite), would drag out the bible and try to relate something we had been talking about to a passage or two.
If I actually didlearn anything religious during these meetings, I certainly can’t remember any of it 35 years later. It strikes me that we talked on a far more “psychology” level than one of faith, although given the bible’s (admittedly) ‘moral overtones’, I suspect similarities were regularly noted. OK, so some of the group may have been ‘fanatics’, but back then I merely looked on these people as my friends – rather than any kind of religious nutjobs as I might have cynically appraised them in later life. Indeed one of the group, Trev (mentioned on Jan 7th), had been a pal since I was 5 years old.
I’m sure that future diary entries will make reference to T.I.B., probably less-so for any religious reasons than for the ‘social eventing’…. of which there was plenty during this period of my life.
Indeed, because memory for these kinds of things rarely fade, I am already aware that – because I am a ‘gentleman’ – I may need to later ‘skirt around the edges’ of my initial experience of getting to first – and second – base with a girl. This was at a ‘sleepover’ gathering in the vicarage attached to the church I attended! (Is that in the bible? I think not)
But for today, Jan 23rd 1972, I can only report that “I didn’t go” to T.I.B.