Childhood memories. Remember when…

Twitter conversations seem to be leading me in all kind of directions lately. I happened upon one on Friday morning filled with nostalgia for things now gone in Hobart. I butted in joined in, and it got me thinking about those things that I remember as a child that don’t really exist these days.

I remember when…

There was proper popcorn at the cinema with REAL melted butter.

The milkman came around in the morning in his little refrigerated van and we could order milk, cream and orange juice from him.

Mum had letters to post. She’d give me the very important job of  waiting at the mailbox to hand them to the postman. He’d take them back to the post office with him.

The Cascade soft drink delivery truck use to do the rounds. It was an old flatbed truck. The back was filled with wooden crates all containing tall glass bottles of Cascade softdrink. He’d drive up your street and you’d just stop him if you wanted any – like the ice-cream man. Maybe he had beer too, but as I kid I was more interested in the sarsparilla and the creaming soda. I still remember being excited when I heard the truck with the rattling bottles!

One set of my godparents used to live in the suburb of South Hobart. Often I’d go there for the evening and they’d look after me while Mum and Dad had a night out somewhere. We’d potter in the garden (I remember the joy of eating peas from the pod that I had just picked), play on their atari (pong and moon buggy), and later in the evening the Saturday night newspaper boy would come around with the late edition of the paper. He had a leather bag with little pockets in it containing bars of chocolate for sale. I’d get to choose from the little bag. (Imagine that… wish they still did it – he’d make a killing if he came to my place now!)

On Thursday, I took Miss E and O to the museum with a friend, and afterwards walked through town and were talking about the wooden play area there used to be in the Elizabeth Street mall. It was like this wooden maze, with platforms and little areas to crawl through. I thought it was awesome even though it often smelt of urine. When I think of it now, if I was anything like Miss E it must have been an absolute nightmare for Mum to extract me from when she was ready to leave and I was enjoying myself too much…

Of course back then, play areas weren’t the sterile safe play areas that we have these days. There used to be an adventure playground on the Domain in Hobart. It had a flying fox among other things. We also used to rollerskate on top of one of the water reservoirs there. At my school, there was a massive metal double slide – would have been a good 3-4 metres off the ground, completely open sides and an edge of about 4 centremetres to (apparently) stop you from flying off the slide. It was awesome once I got over the fear of going down. They removed it when I was in grade 1 or so. We also had a maypole. Basically it was a big telephone pole with a heap of long chains with handles on the end that rotated around the pole. We’d get a run up to get speed and then lift off and literally fly around the pole. They got rid of that eventually after a couple of broken arms and one head split open. Those were the days…

Oh and on a trip around the mainland that I did with my parents when I was 12, we came across this awesome adventure playground near Monash. It was pretty much made all of metal. Apparently most of the equipment has been replaced for less fun safer pieces. It was the BEST memory of the trip. In my research I found this video of it – a bit before my time, but you get the idea. It was crazy and awesome! I love the fact that it was as much a park for teenagers and adults as it was for younger children. They don’t show it, but my favourite thing was a self propelled rollercoaster.

When I was an early teenager I had a pony. My horsey friends and I used to ride all around our suburb. There was plenty of bush, trails and farmers who were happy for us to ride though their land, and in the case of one, use his cross country course. That property in particular is now gone, covered in houses on small blocks, many McMansions. I feel so sad about it.

We also used to pick blackberries at the bush at the tops of our street. We’d take them to a friend’s cubby house, mush them up and make ‘jam’. We’d serve it with all kinds of weird and wonderful things, our favourite being cheezels for some bizarre reason.

So all this reminiscing got me thinking again of the memories we are creating for our children. What will Miss E and Master O think when they look back. What will be gone that they remember fondly? The bush is gone and any remaining roadside blackberries are sprayed. I don’t really hear the ice-cream van any more these days, though it’s funny that through online services, the whole door-to-door service is starting to come back. Think of online groceries, local veggie boxes and the like. Maybe they’ll remember them? I’m hoping at the very least that our move to our new house when complete and our hecatre of land will give us the opportunity to provide some of this for our kids. Chooks, fruit and veggies. Pottering in the garden. A simple, quieter life.

And for one last piece of childhood nostalgia I just had to share – who remembers the Roger Glover Butterfly Ball animation (featuring vocals of Ronnie James Dio) that used to play on ABC in amongst the kids programming. I loved it, still do, but check out the video, it seriously looks like an acid trip!

What are your memories of childhood, care to share? I’d love to hear them…


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