Tag Archives: Childhood

A slice of history.

I posted this previously on my (now much neglected) Moblog but after visiting my grandparents tonight I wanted to share it here too.

My Grandad is really poorly again, I live in fear of the day he will no longer be around – he was is and always will be one of the main men in my life and I love him lots.

A Family Photo

This photo was taken before I was born, we think around 1978/79. It has all the most important men from my childhood included in it, It’s like a capsule containing my whole life history!

This man is Pete. He’s my Dad….

….He died suddenly in 1985, I was only 4. One day he was here, the next he was gone – I don’t miss him all the time – that sounds harsh but it’s true – I was too young to really appreciate what I had and then it was gone.  I never had the chance to get to know the man my dad was growing up and only really started questioning my roots as I got older. I missed having a Dad and the paternal side to my family more than I missed the man that was Peter Jennings – I just wasn’t given the opportunity to know him and I think I grieve for that more than I do for him at times.

This man is Tony, my maternal Grandad….

..My sister and I went with my Mom and lived with my grandparents for a short while after my Dad passed away.  My Mom needed the space and a chance to grieve and recover from the shock of becoming a widow and single parent overnight. We were only there for a couple of months but the effects lasted a lifetime.

While everyone else was pushing their luck and hearing “You just wait until you father gets home!!” This is the man I was I had to wait to get home, I adored him as a child, he was my Grandad, my stand in father figure and my friend, as a small girl I would often climb the tree by the bus stop and wait for him to get home from work when he’d scoop me up and carry me home on his shoulders, as a teen he had the best technique for help towel dry hair and as a young adult, pregnant and suffering from morning sickness he made the only thing I could stomache, the most divine poached egg on toast!

He was, and still is my rock and I know I could still go to him for anything! He’s been with me FOREVER!

Now this man is Dave, he was one of Dad’s very good friends before his death and now he is now my Stepdad!

My Mom and Dave got together when I was 14 and married in 2001 when I was 20. When he moved in we were going through my Dads vinyl record collection together and Dave pulled our a couple of records that had actually belonged to him.

I truly would not wish for her to be with anyone else! He is a fantastic Dad to me, my sister and brother and a devoted Grandad to Jordan.  He’s supported my Mom through thick and thin and cared for us all for years and I’m glad it was him my mom married!

My Mix Tape

I have been “eavesdropping” in on a conversation on twitter regarding mix tapes,  Dan Slee has done a wonderful job of summing up the “history” of mix tapes so I don’t have to but I love the whole idea of them being the original Social Media – THE way to share in the 90’s and it got me thinking about some of the tapes I received as teen as Dan puts it:

They could be a love letter, a  sign of friendship or the grandstanding of musical knowledge.

…and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

When I was in senior school I used to swap mix tapes with my friend Jess. We were, in our opinion, the optimum of cool and shared  a mutual love of all the artists and bands the supposed “in crowd” hated, Nirvana, Hole, PJ Harvey, Chilli Peppers, to name a few and with our mix tapes playing through the earphones of our walkman we looked down upon the lesser beings with our musical snobbery. It cemented our friendship and I went on to purchase some of my favourite albums on the back of tracks Jess  included on those now long lost c90’s.

Yet the most impressive mix tape I have ever received wasn’t a tape at all, it was a CD and while I’m sure it started out as a “grandstanding of musical knowledge”   it turned into the greatest love letter I have ever received….

In Steph's Honour

“In Steph’s Honour” given to me by James in December 2005  – 4 months before we became us. He told me then it was an “education” as we liked some of the same music, but he  has since admitted that he was trying to  impress me a little and I have to admit it did!!

Disk 1 – The Rock Show

  1. One Armed Scissor (At The Drive-In)
  2. A Box Full Of Sharp Objects (The Used)
  3. Vessel & Vine (The Lucky Nine)
  4. 57 (Biffy Clyro)
  5. If You Don’t, Don’t (Jimmy Eat World)
  6. The Sign (Foo Fighters)
  7. The Graduate (Third Eye Blind)
  8. Corduroy (Pearl Jam)
  9. Sad and Lonely (Secret Machines)
  10. Stockholm Syndrome (Muse)
  11. My Tortured Soul (Probot)
  12. Superunknown (Soundgarden)
  13. Inspire (Cave In)
  14. (I Am) What I Am Not (Idlewild)
  15. I’m Not Okay (My Chemical Romance)
  16. Beating Heart Baby (Head Automatica)

Disk 2 – Late Night Ditties

  1. Wishlist (Pearl Jam)
  2. I Never Came (QOTSA)
  3. Blue and Yellow (The Used)
  4. Switching Off (Elbow)
  5. Between The Bars (Elliot Smith)
  6. Pink Bullets (The Shins)
  7. Walking On A Wire (The Get Up Kids)
  8. The Light And The Sound (Rocky Votolato)
  9. Scary Mary ( Biffy Clyro)
  10. And Then You Kissed Me (The Cardigans)
  11. Drop (Clarkesville)
  12. Amie (Damien Rice)
  13. Those Crimson Tears (Ed Harcourt)
  14. El Capitain (acoustic) (Idlewild)
  15. The Sun (Joseph Arthur)
  16. Title and Registration (Death Cab For Cutie)
  17. My Sundown (Jimmy Eat World)

Four years and a bit years on I still haven’t made this track listing a playlist on iTunes or on Spotify because nothing compares to the feeling of finding this CD off the shelf , remebering just how much effort went into it and putting it into the player and dancing around my living room. It is such shame that with digital music this is a dying art,  and while Philip John is correct when he wrote that “Spotify needs to get social” I doubt a shared play-list on Spotify or a recommendation on Mflow would have the same feel good impact as picking up something tangible and knowing that someone made it just for you!

The boy next door.

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

Happy Birthday John!!!!