I was hardly me (as the poem goes).
I was thinking about this thing (only 37 more posts to go) and I’d better clear up the fact that this will be about how many years I’ve been around as opposed to my actual age – this is mainly because I started this whole thing by saying ‘When I was 1’ as opposed to ‘When I was 0’. So, when you’re reading about me behaving like a little baby when the post title is ‘when I was 15’ don’t forget that I was actually only 14.
So I was only 2 during this post.
Again, I have very few memories of this year. I also realise that I won’t be able to use this excuse when I’m talking about my teen, twenties or thirties.
This is 1973 and I get another new brother. This one is called Arthur. For some reason we all pronounce his name as ‘Orthur’. Probably something to do with the elocution we were sent to in a few years time.
I think the family car around now was a VW beetle but soon it would change to a Renault 16.
I was now one of 4 children and it was the typical Catholic family of the time. A child every year. Four of us under four. Think about it. How our parents didn’t resort to the bottle is beyond me. I remember the wooden spoon and the slipper being in used for ‘crowd control’. the most effective weapon for crowd control was a length of matchbox track – with raised edges – very effective.
So, no pre-school for us. My sister did get to go to pre-school but not us boys. We just hung out at home playing with our dinkies and messing about outside.
I remember at the time the cul-de-sac we lived on wasn’t fully surfaced so there were muddy puddles outside that we used to play around in. I remember we used to drink the water from the puddles and pick chewing gum off the road. Obviously this was done without the permission of our parents and didn’t do us the slightest bit of harm. Still, if I saw my kids doing the same I’d freak out. I suppose it shows you how much more risk averse we’ve all become these days. Always expecting the worst outcome.
Around about now we start to have friends. The cul-de-sac has about 10 houses on each side. Most have kids who are around our age. We were generally a group with no clear sense of identity so most of our adventures were a team effort (great for avoiding blame).
I’ll save the friends for another post as there were loads of them.
In terms of deaths I had an uncle who died suddenly in late June 1973. He left behind a one year old son and a pregnant wife. These two kids would grow up to be my cousins John and Michael. To of the regular members of our summer family adventures. From what I can gather this was a big shock to the family as he was only in his 40′s. It would become an all to familiar pattern in my larger family in the 1970′s and 1980′s.
But I was blissfully ignorant of this and all other things. My world revolved around my mother and my brothers and sister.
Tomorrow is Christmas Day so Happy Christmas to all (If you happen to be ‘digging with the other foot’ then ‘Happy Holidays’ ) I hope you get all you wanted – even if that is just a lie in or a swim in the sea.
For me, the ideal Christmas day involves getting mass out of the way the previous night. Waking early with a hangover, finding out what Santa has brought, having breakfast and then heading our to the beach for a swim (and an Irish Coffee (mainly Jameson with very little coffee))- we generally run into the sea shouting ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS’ . Then home, dinner with family, a bit of booze and then some time after the kids have gone to bed playing with that one toy you really wanted – a small trinket for me these days. then a bit more booze, a spiced beef and mustard sandwich and bed. As you climb into bed you realise that you never showered after the swim and have a sandy crack and sac.
Anyway, enjoy your day and I hope Santa brings you what you want.