I have spent an hour or so this afternoon sorting out a cupboard with many of my childhood toys in. Board games from when I was younger, which my sister used to thrash me on. All of my playmobil and Brio train set, stacked up in boxes. Craft activities I’d been given for birthday presents, many of which were only ever half completed. My Dad’s weird and wonderful Christmas presents – exciting and unusual presents which were played with for a week or so, and then put away in the cupboard. I had great fun going through it all. Most of it I decided to hold onto, partly for sentimental reasons and partly because children in our house are quite common and games are very useful. But it certainly took me back a few years. Remembering all the hours of fun I had with everything in there.
Half way through this clear out I was reminded of just how much I’ve grown up. How much things have changed. Or not, as the case may be. The doorbell rang and I got up to answer it. There was a boy and his bike on our doorstep. I didn’t recognise this boy – there was a time when I knew all the children in the road, but since being at uni I don’t. He looked at me blankly and said ‘isn’t he in??!’ I replied ‘yes, he is – he’s just busy. Give him a minute’.
The boy was referring to my Dad. Who, ever since he used to fix mine and my friend’s bikes, has always been the resident bike fixer. His expertises have kinda been passed down through generations of children in our road. It always has been like that, but at the moment it seems to be more than ever. They’re always knocking on our door with flat tyres, dodgy bike fittings and even flat footballs. He seriously does have a little fan club of children!
As I said, hardly any of the children really know me anymore. Since I’ve been in Swansea there have been loads of new children on the street. There used to be a time when all the children looked up to me. I was the older, more responsible one, looking after the younger children. They all used to come calling at the door for me. Now children who call at the door only ever know and want, my Dad. I mean, its ok, because I’ve got my own life in Swansea now. Swansea is home. But it is just weird. How things change.