My mum had a theory that I gravitated towards these two very different sets of neighbours because of something to do with wanting grandparents who were nearer, or more involved. l could see her point, but I was never entirely convinced this was what it had been about.
What those older adults offered - without knowing it - was a way to work out who you were. It wasn't the only way; but it was an opportunity to test out ideas and theories about life, and also give you something against which to challenge.
I don't for a minute think that's what they thought they were doing (I suspect they just thought they were being nice to their neighbour's little girl): but it is what I took from it, and that's pretty much the point of all our interactions with other people. Our contact with each other is hugely dependent how we interpret what happens, how we interpret what we think has happened, and what we learn from both. We all differ hugely on those fronts, but from those different interpretations all manner of misunderstandings and misery may ensue, sadly.
When I was very little - about 3 years old - the husband of one of these sets of neighbours would repeatedly tease me about the colour of my favourite dress: which you can see in the photo, above.
"That's a nice pink dress, Lorna," he'd say, over the low chain and link fence between our two back gardens.
I would stamp my foot and, hands on hips, turn to face him and say,
"It's not pink, it's lellow," to much amusement on his part. He knew I couldn't quite say the letter 'y', which was the purpose of his teasing.
My parents also thought it was funny, not least because they could see me standing up for myself; something my dad especially would have wanted to encourage.
Of course, because my mum would periodically tell and re-tell this story over the years, it's hard to know if I really remember it happening or if I just remember the memory of her telling the story - if you follow! (Memory is a very interesting, complex thing.)
But I do remember that feeling of pure indignation, which small children are so good at expressing so clearly, especially when they know they are in the right. And the lesson I learned? Getting cross doesn't mean people will do what you want (in my case, to acknowledge the correct colour of my frock), but you should always encourage others to challenge what's being said or done if they know it's wrong, whatever their age or your circumstances. (Learning what to do when people reject or ignore your challenge? That's a different lesson.) That teasing gave me not just 'permission' to stand my ground and argue my case, but experience in doing so.
But I also took two other things from this: things that, as adults, we should perhaps bear in mind when talking with children.
The first was that I didn't think adults could be all that clever if they didn't know their colours. And the second was I thought adults were a little bit, well, - not to sugar coat it - barmy.