Postaday 2011: The Town I Grew Up In
“I remember when this was all farmland, as far as the eye can see. Old Man Peabody had this strange idea, about breeding… pine trees”
My hometown was never a town as such, in my lifetime. It is suburbia. Row upon bungaloid row. I love the bungalows. Especially the symmetrical ones. The lounge and dining room windows so large they give a friendly puppy-dog look to the house. With the front step being the smile.
There used to be a field between one church and the row of shops, and in my primary school years, they filled it in with housing, creating places where there used to be spaces.
We used to walk home through this area- “the building site” – picking hot tar off the roads and leaping over piles of tiles and pipes and general junk. Then towards the end of primary school, people moved in and lived there – like it was a real place to live, rather than a place where there used to be a field. We used to wonder if the houses would stretch as far as the high school – and eventually they did.
As a place to live it was great until I was twelve. There were lovely and interesting gardens to play in. There were trees to climb, burns to leap over. We had bikes, rollerskates, walls to climb and dens to hide in. I was in almost every house and garden at some point for some random reason – walking someone’s dog, looking for a fictional cat in their garden, putting on a show…
After I was twelve, it became apparent that there was nothing to do. Apart from sit in the park. Which I didn’t want to do.
Now there are homes of every shape size and price – not just the original bunglaows. Every bit of wild land is being built on – although there is still a small field at the bottom of my original road – looking a bit overgrown and a bit vulnerable these days.
I find it hard to think of the streets I remember being built as being real places that people live in. To me they are really fields that people have built on – not streets at all. “The building site” is still “the building site” to me. The fact that people have lived in houses on it since the early eighties is just incidental.