My family moved to Belgium when I was 12 years old in 1974. I was immediately "gobsmacked" at the short trousers that the Belgian boys were all wearing. They were so much shorter than what boys were wearing at the time in England. I had just begun secondary school in England and enrolled in a Belgian secondary school. Belgian schools did not have school uniforms.
My family moved to Belgium when I was 12 years old in 1974.
I was immediately "gobsmacked" at the short trousers that the Belgian boys were all wearing. They were so much shorter than what boys were wearing at the time in England. I was terrified that I might have to wear them--but fortunately I never did. I couldn't bring myself to wear shorts even in heatwaves until I was well into my 20s as a result! I was startled to often seeing boys as old as 14 or 15 still wearing shorts all year round sometimes, even in the bitterest of cold, and at the time the style was VERY short. I remember one day my dad was driving us into town and we stopped at some traffic lights. It was a bitter cold winter's day. Nxt to us a boy pulled up on his bike. Warm anorak, scarf, balaclava, brown shoes, long shocks with a criss-cross patten... and no sign of any trousers. Just bear legs which he was rubbing to keep warm. It was a main road and he was at least 14, about my age at the time. That's what made it so memorable, because I was thinking "Wow, imagine, if I'd been born here I could be dressed like that now!"
I had friends in secondary school who would wear jeans to school, but if they came round after school to ask if I wanted to come out, they'd appear at the door looking as if they didn't have any trousers on! I remember my mum commenting on the shorts some of the boys in the street were wearing and how incredibly short they were. There ws no school uniform. Some children in primary schools weore smocks. Myschool was a secondary school. There was no school uniform. We wore our on lothes to school. For metal work and electricity we wore grey "overalls" as I call them.
When I was in Belgium, a kid next door to me set off for scouts every week on his bike. I'll never forget the first time I saw him setting off.... He was 2 years older than me, and was wearing little brown corduroy shorts and long socks .... I remember thinking "How COULD he!!" Someone from his group came round our house one day to invite us to join, and I asked if we'd have to wear the shorts. He said we wouldn't have to if we didn't want to, but I still didn't join.