Snapshots of a happy childhood
It’s Father’s Day today – happy Father’s Day to any Dads reading this. Earlier this week, I spent a few days with my own parents, and when the subject of Father’s Day came up, Dad asked me to write some of my memories of childhood so that he could read them.
When I think back on my childhood, I remember it fondly. For me, it was a time of great security, love and fun. If you ask me what I remember of my childhood lots of images spring to mind:
…the excitement as we loaded the car full of camping gear, with us piled on top of it in the back seat, impatient to get to our destination. We saw half the country this way. Now the climate here means that it’s likely a good many of these camping trips were wet and cold. But for some reason, I remember them as sunny and warm.
…the arguments over whose turn it was to pump the air mattresses. No electric pumps for us. Before we were allowed off to explore, we had to use the foot pump to blow up our beds for the night. Getting the campsite set up was a finely tuned operation for us. Everyone had their job as I recall.
…the frustration at being told to “go out and play”. Dad was never a big fan of children’s tv so our viewing time was limited. If it was dry at all outside, the tv was switched off and we were sent out to amuse ourselves. And amuse ourselves we did. There wasn’t a tree we couldn’t climb or a nearby field that we hadn’t explored. Epic games of swing ball wore bare patches on the lawn, competitive games of “52 Bonkers” centred around a drain pipe in the back garden. Manys the time I hid behind the oil tank waiting for the perfect opportunity to run home and be safe. I smile now when I think of all the fun we had because of being sent out to play so much. It’s one of the things I wish I could replicate for my children and part of the reason why I despair of the lack of green space around us.
…the sense of camaraderie as we drove to Mosney each year for the Community Games finals listening to “One Moment in Time” on repeat. I still can’t hear that song without being instantly transported back to those weekends. The stress, the tension, the joy, the glory! I was never good enough to compete at a national level for community games, but my brothers were. And still I felt I shared in the victories on those weekends. We were very much there as a family cheering each other on. We all looked forward to those weekends each year, one of the highlights of the family calendar.
…the anticipation as we got close to the top of a mountain (or was it just a big hill!) overlooking Rossbeigh beach. Each year we went camping there we would make the climb to the top and check under a particular stone where we had hidden some “treasure” the previous year. Our own personal time capsule.
…the thrill of a good book. Each week we would visit the library. If he wasn’t working dad would take us there while mam did the grocery shopping. I’d check out as many books as my library card would allow (and read half of them before we even made it home!). When I was young, mam or dad would read a book or a chapter to us each night. As I got older and read to myself, dad read the same books as me, and we’d chat about the characters and storylines we liked. Swallows and Amazons, The Tripods Trilogy, Watership Down, and so many more.
Thanks for all the good memories Dad. Happy Father’s Day!