The poem Close Your Eyes…. by Pat Yoeman first appeared in a publication called District Diggings, from the Snake Valley & District Historical Society. It was reprinted in the MDHS Journal in March 2002.
So many of the games and activities celebrated in this poem resonate with me. It could be a description of my early childhood in Lismore, NSW in the 1950s and then in Brisbane, Qld in the early 1960s. Australia – as it was in those ancient days – seems a foreign country.
As children I think many of us played very similar games, ate the same types of food, worshipped the same heroes and had the same dreams – irrespective of our backgrounds.
Life was relatively simple and very certain for most children then.
Today this certainty, this simplicity just isn’t a ‘given’ for many children.
What childhood memories do you have?
Close Your Eyes and Go Back In Time
I’m talking about hide and seek in the park,
The corner milk bar, hopscotch, billy carts, cricket in front of the garbage bin.
Footy on the best lawn in the street,
Jumping in enormous puddles, mud pies and
Building dams in the gutter.
The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.
When 20 cents worth of mixed Iollies was a meal
and smoking fags was really cool.
When around the corner seemed far away. and going into town
seemed like going somewhere,
Sticky fingers. Cops and robbers. cowboys and lndians.
Riding bikes and catching tadpoles.
Climbing trees and building cubbies out of every sheet
Mum had in the cupboard.
Walking to school, no matter what the weather.
Running till you were out of breath.
Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt.
Jumping on the bed, pillow fights.
Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for the giggles.
Being tired from playing…
The worst embarassment was being picked last for the team.
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon
Cigarette cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle…
Eating jelly crystals. making homemade lemonade and
sticking on a funny face.
Remember when… there were two types of sneakers: boys and girls.
Dunlop Volleys wilh the green‘n’gold or blue,
And the only time you wore them at school was for ”sportsday”.
You knew everyone in your street and so did your parents!
It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best friends’,
You didn t sleep a wink on Christmas Eve.
When nobody owned a pure-bred dog.
When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for 10c.
When nearly everyone’s Mum was at home when the kids got
there from school.
Our parcnts and grandparents were a much bigger threat:
And some of us are still afraid of them!!!
Just go back and say,. “Yeah. I remember that!
Decisions were made by “eeny-meeny miney mo”.
Race Issue meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly.
The worst thing you could catch
from the opposite sex was boy/girl germs,
and the worst thing in your day was having to sit nex! to one.
Having a weapon at school meant being caught with a sling-shot.
Nobody was prettier than your Mum.
Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.
OIder siblings were the worst tormentors.
but also the fiercest protectors
lf you can remember these things
then you have LIVED !!!