When I was twelve, home was a safe haven. It was a place where I was protected, cared for and my safety ensured. Within this 3-bedroom brick home of modest proportions, home was a relatively calm place of doing the usual stuff – education and learning for the children. Functional routine and discipline were in place so a minute was not wasted on the frivolity of life. A holding place for lives striving for perfection, or at least maximising opportunities. Crowded into this single-storey was a space where music prevailed – with a yellow feature wall the subject of much ridicule and humour. Much time spent on playing the piano and singing. Television was the ultimate evil. The combined kitchen and dining room was the heart of the house – meals cooked and shared, conversations unending it would seem, stories and laughter shared. Framed picture of various sizes lined the beige walls, capturing the moments of our lives.
The house was located within a lower middle class town. It had enough unsavoury elements to ensure we children were not allowed out after dark. Neither were we encouraged to hang out with other children in the neighbourhood, for the neighbourhood was a little scary even for my parents. So, our friends were few but those we had were steadfast.
I remember time spent in the garden – cavorting and rumbling on the lawn – with great fondness. A space where family congregated and interacted. This was the place where family gatherings occurred – potted plants moved to make way for tables and chairs, and the barbeque. Picnic rugs made their appearances where the children assembled for boards games. The cacophony of noise – pleasant though they might have been – was a little overwhelming at times for a 12-year old.
It was nevertheless an idyllic time. Perhaps it was as Willa Cather said,
“Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.”