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May 06, 2006


I listened today to the BBc Radio 4 programme this was based on. And I thought of the, very varied, only children I know, including you, Beth. I found it interesting, but a bit disappointing. I don't know what I was expecting - something in a half-hour radio programme that would seem profound and original to me when I've been thinking about this for so long? It's difficult to challenge stereotypes with anything but more generalisations. Having intelligent, thoughtful people speak of their own experience is about the only way you can approach it, I think. This is interesting, but I'm not sure it's 'helpful'.

Jean, I didn't listen but I agree with you - in general I find articles/programs like this pretty superficial, and lackign in new insights. The question, though, is really interesting. These days I sort of wish for a sibling, but that is really just a selfish wish for someone to share responsibilities with me - it's not a desire for that relationship in an ongoing way. I think I liked being an "only", and it certainly contributed to my contentment with solitude and self-directed activity, though my parents were both quite availabel to me throughout my childhood. And they bent over backwards not to spoil me - I was raised in a household with two grandparents, plus parents, plus the occasional great-aunt (how Victorian it all sounds - and was, in a way) and while there was plenty of adult attention and always someone to talk to, I never got away with ANYthing and was expected to behave and act properly - or else!

I notice that I didn't mention in my comment that I am an only child too - I guess this is so much a part of me it's like forgetting to mention that, yes, I too have two eyes and one nose !

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.