It would have been an evening just like this. Sunshine and the evening would have lasted for hours. Finish your tea then head to the park to see who was out. Didn’t matter who was there you just sat on the swings forever talking about whatever eight and nine-year olds talk about. And singing silly songs at the top of your voice.
Occasionally you would get competitive and decide to have a jumping contest off the swings – who could get the furthest wasn’t bound by health and safety, just by our complete lack of fear. Boxy Park was where we went – nowhere else as far as our parents knew. Okay occasionally we wandered through the school grounds down to the nursery – mostly because it was really good for playing hide and seek.
Since the nights were getting longer and we didn’t have to get home until later we would sit until no-one else was left. Mums and dads would appear and shout us in at various points because we’d been out longer than we were supposed to. No major panics we all chanced our arms.
It would be the summer holidays soon and we’d spend a silly amount of time at the park. All afternoon and most evenings unless we were away on holiday. It really is true that days and weeks and summer holidays lasted forever – the digital watch on your wrist that played random songs was largely ignored as time moved so slowly.
Life was simple. No big worries or questions or pressures, you just got to be a kid. Our biggest worry was how far we could push the time limit. One time I remember vividly from my childhood was sitting until nearly nine o’clock talking to one friend. Dad appeared and dragged me off home – well it was nearly dark and the two of us were just sitting there yapping. She was always at the park and was a big part of my childhood.
Her back gate opened straight on to the park so we used to stand on tiptoes looking to see if she was coming out to play. Sometimes her sister came and sometimes her dog Bess came out for a run around.
Marsha was a great friend while we were at primary school and during those long summer evenings and school holidays we had a good laugh. She was one of the cool kids though and by the time we got to secondary we’d grown apart. We always said hi, but you think that bond you have when you’re growing up gets lost with time.
I saw what happened to her as we both stayed in Bucksburn for a long time after school – our lives had taken two very different paths and I couldn’t help wondering where that beautiful, cheeky blonde girl had gone. We all make decisions in life – sometimes life takes decisions for us and I moved away from where I grew up and didn’t see her for years.
Then Facebook came along and we reconnected – like so many people you went to school with you “friend” them even though you probably have nothing in common. But Marsha would send little messages occasionally. The last one I remember was about a Winnie the Pooh book I had given her as a present when we were young and how it was still one of her favourites. Something I had forgotten but Marsha remembered. That bond from childhood still there in the back of the memory.
I bumped into her several times when I was working at the college when she was doing her Social Work course. It was a bit awkward – I was a lecturer and she was a student. We did chat sometimes and she always said hi. She seemed to have sorted herself out and was back on the straight and narrow.
It was through Facebook I got the news she’d passed away. Today I stood with other school friends and said goodbye to her.
You forget sometimes that those people you grew up with were your constant companions both at school and in the evenings, and they made you the person you are today. Thirty years just dropped away as I remembered her and who we were all those years ago. The bond is still there and will never go – no matter what happens in your life you still have those memories, thoughts, laughs and tears in your character that are the foundation of who you are.
Thank you for reminding me of all those great memories Marsha. Sweet Dreams.