When people talk about childhood memories what is it we are actually remembering? Real life facts or memories that others have talked about?
In this piece I’ll try and relay some of my earliest memories and relay some of my life growing up in the 70’s and 80’s on a run down council estate in Felixstowe. Some of these memories may not have actually happened but I’m pretty damned sure they did!
When are you meant to be able to first recall things? As I swear I can recall being in a hospital bed when I was just over two years old and my mum and dad coming in and giving a big red toy. Not sure if it was a London bus or a fire engine. If I had to guess I’d plumb for the Fire engine as the old man was a retain fire fighter before he was forced to retire due to him being a cunt.
What was I doing in hospital? Well I was being looked after by my Nana (paternal grandmother) whilst my parents were away in London on their honeymoon (yes I’m a bastard). She was meant to be watching out for me but was too embroiled in her illicit affair and before too long I was being rushed to hospital. Well the burns unit to be precise.
I’d only gone and tipped a pot of boiling hot coffee down my back. No long term scars accept the mental ones. No hot drinks for yours truly since then. Well tea and coffee!
The next memory also features Nana. And a hospital. I was still quite young and was playing up. I didn’t want to walk down Garrision lane. She picked me up and because I was a little fatty she dropped me! A plaster on the grazed knees and a lolipop off the buxom nurse and I was all better.
So the first two memories don’t actually feature my parents except for small cameos when picking me up from hospital.
My third memory involves the old man and me. We were play fighting and he threw me against our sofa. In the 70’s sofa’s were shit. And brown. Our one had weird wooden arm rests. Guess what? That’s what I landed on! My nose exploded and there was blood everywhere. Another trip to A&E.
Let’s try and find a memory that doesn’t involve me ending up in hospital. Fuck me anyone would think I was an earlier incarnation of Baby P!
I remember at the top of our stairs we had one of those “Crying Boy” pictures. Apparently they were cursed and caused house fires.
Our “Crying Boy” didn’t burn our house down but he did get burnt. Mother smashed the house up one night. Ripped the wall paper off the wall, smeared tomato sauce everywhere, smashed records and burnt a lot of stuff down the bottom of the garden. I remember to this day seeing the old man’s fire station shirts covered in Heinz Ketchup strewn across the garden and the charred remnants of old “Crying Boy”.
Maybe it wasn’t mother who was high on sweet white wine and raging after another beating that created such a scene that cold autumn night back in 1980. Maybe we were a final curse from “Crying Boy” – Nah it was her. Rory saw her do it and grassed her up. She called him a Judas for months to come.
He was 5.
Being the middle one of 5 kids I spent a lot of time on my own. Two older sisters weren’t much fun to play with (not in a mucky way) and the young uns were just that. Young uns. When us older ones did play together it would invariably be me and Tracey getting into trouble for something Paula did. Or she’d grass us up. One time Paula was throwing stuff at us so Tracey threw a stone back. It missed Paula and went through the window. Paula screamed like she’d been touched by Michael Jackson! Out came mother with the metal pea spoon. Paula played all innocent and Tracey and me got our arses spanked.
The spoon in question was not too dissimilar to the one pictured but it was sturdier and the holes on the bottom had sharp edges that would cause bleeding on our bums if we were hit hard enough.
That spoon hit my arse more times than it drained the little green fuckers it was made for. God that stung. What happened to it? I broke it. When I was about 14 I deliberately bent it back and forth until it snapped in two. Then I discarded it with the weekly rubbish.
I should have smashed it across the parents arses. See how they liked it!
Another pea spoon classic involved a felt tip pen, our dining room curtains and some tracing paper. One of us had drawn a diamond on the curtains. It wasn’t Rory as he was only about 2. Tamara was out of the equation as she wasn’t even born. That left me, Tracey and Paula. I was 7. We were told we were playing a game with the winner getting a “surprise”
Now as a 7 year old I’d never seen a diamond. Now I had to draw one. Tracey went first and drew her diamond. Then Paula and finally me. I traced Paula’s diamond. Guess what? My diamond was deemed the winner??? I FUCKING COPIED PAULA’S
I got the spoon. Twice. First time I put my hands on my bum. The spoon hurts the fingers more than the bum! I soon moved my fingers away and the harsh realities of metal on arse continued.
It was savoury mince, veg and potatoes for tea. I left my peas.