I don’t know about you but I had the BEST childhood I could have wished for… not that I would have known any different! I grow up in late 80’s, early 90’s. I lived in the same house, Percy Gardens, Whitley Bay, where there was also about 20 other kids just wanting to play out all the time!
I couldn’t honestly tell you who used to look after me in the summer holidays because after I had my cereal which mainly used to be ‘Lucky Charms’ or ‘Ready Brek’…with jam in the middle, I used to make a mad dash to get my clothes on and run out the back door, screaming ‘I’m going out’ and that was that… no questions from my mum or dad, nothing, freedom! I used to pester all the parents in the street with my constant knocking and ringing doorbells, ‘Is such and such coming out to play’… they also used to hurry out their house, knowing that all day was going to be spent outside in the glorious sunshine, we always used to seem to have!
I lived close to many things, my mum’s house backs on to a middle school field, which in the summer had the big running track around it, there was a long-jump sandpit in the top corner, hills all around the field and the best thing the great big trees!! We loved climbing those trees, spending hours up there, playing games, chilling out and just having fun! Also nearby is the quarry, where when you were young seemed like a big adventure park, you could get lost in their all day, have your snacks in there… then come home at dark!
Looking back on all the things I did in my childhood, all the great memories… making plays for our parents, sliding down the hills on our sledges in the sun (I’ve still got a scar on my finger to prove this madness!), running around the ‘little block and ‘big block’ as we used to call the nearby streets, it was great fun. I didn’t go abroad when I was young, my mum is claustrophobic and my dad was a policemen always on shifts… our holidays were travelling up to Scotland to see my dad’s family every August. We used to travel up in my dad’s Ford Cortina he had at the time, stopping off at Coldstream to let the dogs out for the toilet, but mostly those trips consisted of me taking those ‘Joy Rides’ travel sickness tablets, they were bloody awful!
But sadly half the things I did when I was young I wouldn’t dream of allowing my kids to do, not without my watchful eye anyway, watching their every move, making sure they are safe. Back then you didn’t have mobile phones, when you did go home it was just to quickly pop in the back door to grab yourself a quick cup of juice then dart back out again, slamming the door as you left. I’m not saying that my children won’t have the BEST childhood that they could wish for, but it will just be different, certainly not the freedom and space that I had…. or have the same amount of kids living in one street!
Our days used to end when our parents used to pop their heads out the front doors, and shout ‘5 minutes’…. But you knew they were watching some soap on the television and it was always going to be at least half an hour later before they used to come out with their last scream, and you knew then it was time to go in… still with the same dirty t-shirt, shorts and trainers on that you’ve worn all day!