For some reason I woke up this morning thinking about my childhood. I am 13 months older than my sister and she is 13 months older than our brother. When we were kids we used to share a bedroom. Mary and I used to sleep on bunks and Dave had his own bed. We would lie awake for hours talking. Mum and dad once went over to the neighbour’s house for a drink. Their lounge looked into our bedroom, which back in the 70’s meant you weren’t being a bad parent by leaving your kids alone in the house. They could see us talking when we were supposed to be sleeping. The neighbours laughed and said that they sat there each night with a drink and watched us swinging from the curtains. It was their evening entertainment.
Those same neighbours came to my rescue many times. We grew up in a family where smacking wasn’t really the norm. If we misbehaved, we would be locked out of the house (the section was fenced in). It seemed to be me that spent the most time outside. I remember banging on the door and screaming until I lost my voice. It was usually around that time that the neighbour would call me over to her house. Then we’d spend the morning carving houses out of old loaves of bread – the wholemeal kind that you had to slice yourself. Once they even took me out to a restaurant. I’m sure it’s not quite what mum and dad had in mind.
My favourite memory of those neighbours has to do with the trampoline. We all went to trampoline school as kids, so we used to take 5 minute turns practicing on the one at home. The neighbours once looked over the fence and saw Mary do a flip. They gave her 50c. Dave and I were incensed! We could both do flips as well! I formulated a cunning plan. I went next door and told the neighbours I had just done a double flip. I got a dollar for that lie.
Those neighbours died many years ago, but they’ll always have a special place in my memory.