Is there a period in your own personal life that you think of as the good old days? Tell us a story about those innocent and/or exciting times (or lack thereof).
There are several different periods that I refer to as the good old days. Like when I was a kid living in the country. Or when it was just mum and I living together. Or the first couple of years I was living in Melbourne. Or the times I spent with my previous best friend.
So it’s hard to focus on just one.
Let’s focus on life as a kid in the country.
Life was so much simpler than what it is now. I was part of the Gen-Y that grew up before political correctness and the development of the nanny state. Or maybe it was always there but nobody seemed to give a shit because we lived in the country and it was a completely different way of life?
By comparison to today’s standards, life was simpler and easier. We weren’t distracted by our mobiles, or drowning out our days watching hours and hours of television (unless it was saturday morning, and you were watching cartoons from 6am – 9am and then Video Hits from 9 – midday!).
I was feral. No, really. As a kid, we didn’t have much to do. We’d go down the park and have pine-cone wars, or go ride our bikes around on some makeshift dirt jumps. When we were in the backyard, shoes were nowhere to be found and whenever we stepped on some bindii’s (referred to as ‘cats-eyes’ – and responsible for many a tyre puncture on my bike!). Sometimes the spikes would snap off, and it’d be hard to see because our feet were so grubby and grass-stained. I remember my friend had a massive strip of grass along the roadside of their house, and we spent many, many evenings after school playing rugby on it. I would always stipulate that there was no tackling (because I was a fragile skinny whippet of a kid), but my mate would tackle me anyway. So I’d do the same in retaliation… but then he’d get hurt and run off crying. #GameOver.
We’d go riding our bikes down to the tip because all the dirt that was excavated to create the hole, would be piled up in a small hill, and after months and months of rain, it would create various channels in the dirt – perfect for a BMX bike!!
Or if it was really hot, we’d go swimming in the local dam. It was a small dam and sometimes we’d try and catch yabbies there, but instead we’d just swim in there instead. It was kinda gross because it was so muddy, but it was essentially fresh water, and it was actually quite cold and refreshing. There were a few times we got a bunch of kids together and we rode our bikes to the next town – it was about 25km+ away, and it would take a couple of hours to ride there, but we’d set off first thing in the morning, stay at the pool all day with our packed lunch, and then once that was eaten it was ice cream, and hot jam doughnuts all afternoon, before leaving when the pool closed and riding all the way home.
We slept like logs on those nights because we were so exhausted.
I remember in winter waking up and seeing the entire backyard covered in frost. That was always an incredible sight. Putting on gumboots and going out onto the icy grass, crunching and crushing everything under foot, leaving a trail of footprints through the ice.
Those were also the same times that my parents would get the wood fire going, and I’d love curling up in my flannelette pj’s after a shower and watching some tv or a movie before going to bed.
I hated the summers – we’d have 45degree+ (celsius) heatwaves for a week or two at a time, and with no air con in our house, we only had an air cooler, which was on constantly. It was really hard to cool down, so most of the time it was spent inside under the fan and a wet sheet, or outside under the sprinkler, or if my brother and I were really lucky, mum would take us to the pool.
I used to enjoy chasing the chickens in the chicken house, and singing to the budgies in the aviary. I loved watering the plants in the greenhouse because it was always the coolest and most refreshing place to be. I loved having the sheep because he would race from one end of the paddock to the other and headbutt the fence and my brother and I would fall over on the ground in hysterics because the sheep never ran, it did this kind of jumping action – almost like what you would see in cartoons. It was hilarious.
I miss climbing the tree outside the front door. I loved that tree. It was my favourite tree. That and the giant maple tree outside the Pallister’s place. We’d collect the ‘berries’ when they were rock hard and use those to throw at each other when we were playing ‘wars’.
It was an adventurous, active and feral childhood, but it’s a major part of who I am today. I’m still a country kid at heart, as much as I try not to let that show. It will always be a part of me, and I will always have a strong connection to the country. I miss our old house so much. If I could afford to, I’d buy it back and keep it as a holiday house.