When I was growing up and living with my parents I moved house a couple of times. On my last move with my mom we moved into what I really consider to be my childhood home living there from when I was 8 until my late teens when I branched out on my own and again in my early 20’s – The time my world came tumbling down.
Across the road and two doors to the left of my parents house was a big house (well bigger than ours) a big house with a big garage, A big garage with a big white door. A big white door that always seemed to be open and in the garage there was something making a BIG noise! There were boys, and not just any boys but teenage boys. Smelly, noise making, boot wearing, hairy, computer playing boys.
At the age of 8 they held my attention for all of 30 seconds, long enough for me to stick my fingers down my throat, wrinkle my nose at my younger sister make fake gagging noises because “eughh boys” and then forget they existed.
I wasn’t sure who lived there and I didn’t care because I wasn’t allowed to play out the front anyway and well, boys smell!
By the time I’d reached 9 my moms rules had relaxed and I was allowed out on the front garden to play unsupervised with the twins from across the road albeit only between the neighbours 2 doors up and the lamppost 3 doors down – right opposite the boys house or on my own providing I didn’t leave the garden. I would use any excuse to take advantage of my new found freedom and would often sit on my own on the perimeter of my boundary waiting for my friends parents to allow them out to play. I’d use this time wisely playing with my cars (hey we live in a world of equal opportunities) and became adept at people watching.
I quickly established using the secret agent skills of every 9 year old that a witch lived in the house across the road (she’d never give us our balls back if they went in her garden). That the house up the street had a vampire living in there that’s why they never opened their curtians. That my dinner lady from school lived about 12 doors away and would frequently pass my house so if I smiled really nice showing as many teeth as possible I’d get extra mint custard on my slab of chocolate concrete next time they served it up in the canteen and that the boys who made so much noise in the house across the road and two doors left was in fact only really one boy, one boy with lots of friends who visted and made lots of noise!
That boy was John, I found out his name the summer just before my 10th birthday. I was pushing my luck playing on my own right on the edge of my “out with friends boundry” casually looking over my shoulder for any movement in my house that would be my cue to flee back to my “out by myself boundry” when he approached me and ever so casually asked…
…Do you wanna see my smurfs?
Well what self respecting 9 year old could turn down an offer like that?
We spent the next 3 hours discussing papa smurf and his band of blue pixies and despite the many trials and tribulations of growing up, my rebellious teen years, his turbulent late teens/early twenties and some absolutely FANTASTIC Halloween parties (but thats another story) we’ve remained firm friends ever since.
He now after a stint living on the Isle of Man lives a million miles away (well 150) in the big city and we don’t get to see each other nearly as much as I’d like but I know if I needed him all I’d have to do is pick up the phone, He knows if he needed me all he’d have to do is pick up the phone….
…and I know that today is his birthday and he’s getting old and although he’s still a million miles away being a high flyer in the big city I still have last years birthday photos to embarrass him with!
Happy Birthday John!!!!