It is amazing how the simple things can mean the most to children. My childhood glimmers with memories of bubble wrap, playing under the sprinklers, visits to grandma’s house and a solitary teddy bear named Ned.
In the days before ipods, before computers were a necessity, there existed a world where every day was an adventure and the aim was to explore as much as possible as quickly as possible. I, along with my older sister and younger brother lived in this world of imagination as children. To us, our house represented the whole world. I remember the day we had to say goodbye to it.I stand in the garden. Our backyard was the place of many of our adventures. It was a child’s dream.
In those days before the water restrictions were in place, our yard was green with life and smelled of summer all year long. A brick path weaved through the luscious grass in a snake like fashion, and garden beds strategically placed around the edges of the path dotted the scene like blotches of colour in an impressionists painting. Images flash from the depths of my mind. To the left was where we had discovered the family of ducks that decided to settle into our swimming pool.Over on the concrete was where the three of us had formed a band with tennis racket guitars. To the right was where I had lost my tooth amongst the tiny white pebbles of the driveway.
Memories of lessons learned come forth. At the end of the path stands a tree. Short in stature but potent in the fruit that it bears. Cumquats. When I was two my sister mashed the cumquats from the tree, mixed them with dirt and fed it to me. From that day on I knew not to eat things from the ground.
A bitterness surpassing that of the cumquats rises inside me. It’s not fair.How can I be forced to leave this garden that taught me so much? I step into the house through the backdoor. The wood has split in places, and flakes of white paint flutter to the ground with the sudden jolting of the door.
Inside the house was where the action occurred in winter. The hallway was where many of our adventures were set. Towards the cupboard at one end of the hall was where my brother and I had slayed dragons and defeated monsters in our bid to make it to the toy room. It wasn’t all fun though. The hallway also represented tears and pain.
It was where I had cried to my mum that “the ants weren’t moving anymore after I had patted them” and the place where I had run full pelt to hug my dad but slipped along the way and broke my nose on the corner of the coffee table. However, most of the experiences of my childhood that I remember were set in the toy room. The room itself was magical. It had to be.
It was positioned at the best spot in the house, where the sun shone through the wafer thin white curtains that hung over the window to cast a soft glow into the room. It was never left in an orderly state, but somehow was never messy.It was here that we had played dress ups, built cubby houses out of sheets and pillows, painted pictures that we considered to be masterpieces. The room now just looked strange. Toys had once littered the now dismally bare carpet and colourful pictures had been plastered over the walls, that were now plain and dull. Out of the corner of my eye I can see a greenish smudge on the cream coloured walls. The only indication left that we had grown up in that room.
Sadness wells up in me. I suppose it doesn’t matter now. Before too long the wall will not be there any more.
Branching off from the hallway is my brother’s room.Before he moved into that room it was used for storage. I remember one time when my brother and I were playing in that room. My parents owned an antique furniture shop, and that afternoon a load of new stock had arrived. I was four and my brother was two. There was this great big antique wardrobe that my dad had placed against the wall.
The wardrobe was very appealing to us and as we opened the door a mighty groaning sound echoed around the room. To my horror the wardrobe had begun to fall forwards. Acting instinctively my brother jumped out of the way but I knew that I wouldn’t make it.For sheer luck, the giant door swung open as the wardrobe fell and I must have stepped inside, because the next thing I remember doing is knocking on the wooden door to get my parents attention. The smell of furniture polish and mothballs filled the darkness, and as my parents lifted up the wardrobe we realised just how lucky I had been. The entire wardrobe had been smashed up and if the door had not swung open I would have been squashed under it. This one incident absolutely confirmed my belief that our house was magical.
Looking back it was remarkable that I could have survived that.