My not-so-wicked Stepmother

In the steady diet of Disney films, fairy tales and fantasy stories that I devoured whilst growing up, Stepmothers always seem to get a bad rep. And let's face it, they deserve to, right? A feminist would probably argue that this is a hidden misogyny, to always portray women as jealous and spiteful, that a second wife must always have an ulterior motive, that they can't possibly be as sweet and loving as a man's first choice of wife.

The concept is so maligned. Unlike a Stepfather, so often seen as 'stepping up' and so praised and admired, a Stepmother is automatically assumed to be somehow wicked.

My Stepmother was not.

I still remember my very first glimpse of Jackie, the woman that would become my Stepmother and, in time, my friend. She was visiting a mate of my Dad. We were just leaving and my Daddy leaned down conspiratorially and whispered "see that lady, do you think she's pretty? I'd like her to be my girlfriend". My sister and I giggled. Not really able to understand the intricacies of adult dating. Especially after a divorce.

And she was very pretty. I remember thinking she was quite glamorous and rather fun when we went on days out together. A day trip to the London Trocadero. Or maybe a theme park.