I bumped into a mate today
Just someone I use to know but had lost touch with along the way.
We started chattin and talkin bout how the times had changed.
He sat and thought a bit and then had this to say!
Do you remember how much freedom we had when we were lads?
We’d walk to school, rain, hail or shine
No pickin us up that was certain
We’d drink that bloody hot milk behind the bubbler shed
all covered in wet hession bags to stop it all from curdlin!
We’d swear allegiance to the Queen each and every day
The teachers didn’t take no cheek and we listened to what they’d say!
We’d write our lines with nibs dipped in an ink well
with blottin paper to mop it up … we’d smudge it and rewrite it again just for hell!
We’d learn our tables and songs and stuff then look forward to the bell.
Goin home was always fun and we rallied with the gang
We’d shoot shangies and slug guns – legal it was back then.
Weekends it was the 22 slung across our shoulders
Walking down main street with not a second glance then up into the bush we’d sneak and hide behind a boulder -
Foxes and snakes were our prey
and no one said nuthin if we were away all day.
We swam in the river or the dam
No swimming pools back then.
We didn’t wear togs, hats or sunscreen
we just dripped dried – no beach towels for us
No parents round to make a fuss
We just ran loose …
and to think of it we didn’t even wear any bloody shoes!
We all had billy carts built from wood or whatever we could nick
We raced em down a hill so steep it would make our mother’s sick.
We made our own fireworks and sometimes blew up the shed
It made our parents pretty mad and facing the strap we’d dread!
Saturday was special as to the flics we’d go
They were pictures then not movies and we’d fight for the back row.
Two main features, cartoons and intermission
and fighting for the lolly counter for little guys like us was always a mission.
The circus often came to town
with all the animals, glitter and clowns
They paraded down main street then to the park
we’re we’d all rush and stay till after dark.
We swapped our stories for near an hour and when our time was done
We shook hands and parted knowing that we’d had some fun
recalling all those memories about the good old days
About the times we’d shared before we went our separate ways.
So I finished the day thinking with memories running through my head
as contentment overwhelmed me and I drifted to sleep in my comfy bed!
© copyright Beverley Woodman 2008
This written work remains the property of the above author and cannot be copied, used or reproduced in any form without the author’s written consent.
I was inspired to write this poem while listening to two elderly men talking about their youth and how today’s children are quite restricted in what they can do. Today’s child has an organised life, one heavily supervised with little chance of them experiencing the everyday life of a child growing up two generations before! The creativity of past generations are lost today because of what we experienced back then and how we improvised to make our own fun.
If it’s written then it can never be lost!