I remember that time…


The hard way, I might add.  This is where I spent about 85% of my childhood, this exact trampoline.  And over thirty years later it still stands in my parent’s back yard.  I remember when we first got it, Dad drummed in to us that we could not exceed the maximum weight capacity it could hold.  I could barely count to five or tie my shoes let alone add up but that did not stop me quizzing everyone who wanted to have a jump on how much they weighed.  It went, “I weigh three stone, how much to you weigh?” –  cue piercing, accusatory stare.  Nowadays I think my handbag is the only thing that weighs three stone! 

One Christmas a few years ago that I remember fondly involved many hours on there with my youngest niece teaching her the finer points of double bouncing and also doing multiple hip-swivel manoeuvres.  So the following year when I trekked home for Christmas I wasn’t surprised to find her waiting for me on the tramp (as us cool kids called it).  I didn’t stay on it long, and had been in the door even less time, but some hours later I couldn’t move.  At all.  Something  in my back had zigged when it should have zagged and now I had pinched a nerve.  The three hundred bucks it cost me to fix it taught me a very valuable lesson; I am too old for this shit anymore.  And so this past Christmas the closest I got to the tramp was this photo.

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3-14820017The primary school in my ‘hood has a no uniform policy.  I dunno how I feel about that.  The kids seem happy but I find it disconcerting.  I grew up in the era of compulsory uniforms with a childhood involving the never ending chore of polishing my school shoes and sometimes ironing my uniform (a task I was more than happy to let Mum do though).  Looking back I reckon it taught me a certain discipline in orderliness and pride in my appearance, all of which I am grateful for.  I still remember the time when school uniform was made non-compulsory.  I was in High School by this stage and while everyone was rejoicing at all the surfer inspired gear they could now wear, inside I was cringing.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a total nerd that didn’t appreciate a little fash freedom but suddenly this chasm opened up between who could afford the latest stuff or not.  A super intelligent classmate who came from a struggling family of seven now stuck out like a sore thumb with his hand-me-down shoes, shorts and too small shirt.  And many of the guys never let him forget it, teasing him mercilessly.  From a young age I’ve always stuck up for the underdog and would never hesitate to go into bat for this young man.  It broke my heart to receive a message inside a Christmas card one year from him that simply said ‘thank you for always being so nice to me’.  No kid should have to go through that over what they wear.  Ever.

2-14820021When I was about 6 years old I was roaming the grounds of the Agricultural College where we lived (my Dad was a lecturer at the time), wearing a borrowed, and much too big, pair of overalls and having a grand old time on my own.  It was the late 70’s in rural Australia and the place was as safe as houses, but I still don’t know why I was on that adventure so far from my own front door.  I fondly remember the sun was shining, there were no training wheels on my bike and I was all set with a screwdriver in one pocket and a biscuit for later in another.  Life was good and I was feeling uber grown up.  Imagine how much better the day got when I stumbled across a $5 note in the gutter!  Five bucks when you are only 6 years old is akin to finding $2,857,453,409!!  I couldn’t believe my luck and quickly put it in one of the many handy pockets I had on me.  There was nothing to spend it on nearby so I got on with the business at hand which most likely involved bugs, or dirt, or bikes or other imaginary distractions.  When it was time to head home I remembered the money but to my horror I couldn’t find it.  My instant fortune had evaporated, and with it my dreams of taking the whole family to Disneyland!  Tearfully I headed home and told Mum, who gave me one of those hugs only a mum can give.  Later Mum actually found the money in one of the tricky side pockets on the leg, and Disneyland was back on!! 

Cut to last night when I took the dogs for a walk to the local pet shop Zac’s to buy some creepy dried kangaroo offal that they seem to love.  I put the change in my pocket and we legged it to the park.  There we met a lovely, very exuberant puppy called Junior and they all chased each other madly in circles while his owner Kim and I chatted.   It was great as they were tiring each other out and we were just standing still until it was time to head home.  It wasn’t until I reached into said pocket to get the front door key that I realised my $45 change was gone.  Thinking back to when I was 6 I frantically searched every pocket on me in case I was mistaken but alas, no.  I dropped the dogs home and went back to the park with a torch.  I think I spent about 40 minutes combing the off-leash area like they do on the cop shows on tv, slowly sweeping in long parallel lines.  All I got for my troubles was numb toes and a cold nose!  I just hope whomever finds my money either puts it to good use or that it went to someone who could use it.  Reckon MacGyver might be safe after all…