Writing 101 – Bigger is better? …

Day Eleven: Size Matters (In Sentences)

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

This is what is said … “bigger the better”.

I suppose this is true for some members of society?

It’s difficult to remember a lot of things from when aged twelve. The year, 1962 In Britain, Harold McMillan was PM. I was in my first year at Secondary School. Which was a local school in Hendon, then Middlesex. I loved Hendon then. Located on the outskirts of London. Hendon Central or Brent, on the Northern Line. Plenty of fields around us, where I would play with my best pal at the time, Peter. We knew each ditch to splash in and each tree we had already climbed. There were bricked up bomb shelters in the local park as well as steel mounds covered in earth with grass. There was a mostly dis-used aerodrome. That was sometimes used to train parachute jumpers. They would send up an old barrage balloon with a basket beneath. We would watch then jump. One by one, parachutes opening behind them.

Peter lived about three doors away from me. We went to the same school. It was the year we, Peter and I, started wearing long pants … trousers, to school. Where I lived with my sister, Valerie. Our parents and Grandmother. Was part of a larger house.

Upstairs lived my father’s sister Barbara and her husband, my Uncle Ted. When I was a little before seven, my cousin Colin was born. By the time I was twelve, he and I would play. Romping about as cowboys or Robin Hood, etc. My father and Ted, along with Nanna bought the house some seven years earlier. It was divided into two. Living up and down. The first thing done was taking out the wall, that separated the two. That way Nanna could go upstairs in the evening to sit with her daughter Babs.

My mother had gone back to work. Auntie Babs would watch over us three kids after school. I was directed to change out of my school clothes, when coming home in late afternoon’s. Until the previous year, I had shared a room with my younger sister. I wanted my space. So, they gave me the sofa-bed. Which I liked. It meant I could get out of the house when everyone was in bed.

Aged eleven I had started a paper route, because Peter had one. As too, my later best pal in school Philip. I had to be at the shop for seven am, or earlier. I had one of the longer routes, covering the “Downage” and more, further south. Christmas time meant bigger tips. I kept the route until I was almost fifteen, when I moved over to delivering prescriptions after school.

My father had been a Boy Scout, which meant, I had to be one as well. At eleven he took me along to the Parish hall. Where behind was the troop hut.  The 8th Hendon. The scoutmaster named Mr. Raines, was the same one from my father’s time. Every Friday evening we would meet and do the stuff Boy Scouts did. Tying knots, parading, obtaining badges etc. Maybe not in that order, but you get the gist; dear reader?

In the early 1960’s most everyone would go to the coast for a couple of weeks summer holidays. Our family was no different. In 1962, I seem to remember? We, went to Woolacombe Bay in North Devon. In those years the vacation were taken with all my father’s brothers and sisters, still living in Hendon. Along with their partners and children. Travel would be by car. Some of them would go by rail, to be met by my father later the next day. It depended on Dave my father’s brother. I seem to remember that year he had a Rover car which accommodated five plus driver. My father with his car was also six including the driver. The rest likely went by train? All told, that year, we had fifteen people divided between two small houses, that were holiday lets.

Growing up was with all this. Done in a small way. One of crowding people; shoehorned into small rooms, houses and cars. But we had fun! A fun childhood with parents, who also knew how to have fun once the work day was done. Beach cricket, deck chairs grouped behind wind breaks. Sand castles or sand boats. Evenings at the penny arcade. The kids were sent home with one designated sitter. While the others spent late evening, at the local pub.

I love small houses and systems that make the best from little space. Which is likely the product? Of that upbringing.

woolacombe-devon-2

Courtesy of http://www.bugbog.com/beaches/british-beaches-uk/devon-beaches-uk.html 

2 responses

  1. Wonderfully told Jamie… and reminiscent of the days when my eldest son was young. We holidayed in Woolacombe several times and stayed in bed and breakfast hotels or static caravans. Such a lovely long quiet beach once the main surfing season is over. Although I always hated the drive to get there – up the dreaded Porlock Hill which would scare me to death.

    Like

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