I remember once when life was much simpler. We lived on a street where we knew our neighbours; we didn’t always get on with them all, but that was how life was.
Home was mum and dad, my brothers and sister and our knowledge of the world came through the daily newspaper and radio news.
Our circle of friends rotated around school friends and the relatives who lived near to us. If you had an overseas pen friend that was as close to the bigger world as you ever got.
I remember once when I came out for breakfast, it was in the winter and mum would have a pot of porridge cooking on the fuel stove and serve it up as the morning news came on the radio. Porridge was always followed by something on toast usually left overs from the previous night’s dinner. My mother was very good at manufacturing left overs which in hindsight was remarkable considering she had my dad and three boys to feed each night.
I remember once when we were approaching our teenage years and trying to find some sense of identity, we older boys decided we had had enough of dad’s haircutting methods and wanted to grow our hair in the emerging fashion at the time. Let’s say it was a battle for some time to convince dad the world would not end if he didn’t cut our hair.
I remember once when our weekends would consist of the Saturday morning shopping. Mum would go off to do whatever it was she did, and I would accompany my father in a walk along High Street. My dad was a carpenter, and he would find the only shop in the street selling hardware and stand in front of it looking at the multitude of tools on display. It used to drive me nuts!
There is so much to remember now; life is more and more full of memories, like our Sunday mornings, being roused at 6.30 for 7am Mass and of our reluctance to drag ourselves out of bed on winter mornings.
Life was much different then, it was our world, one in which we played and grew into the people we are today.
I remember once thinking that a lot of years would have to pass before I grew old, like my parents. Now I’m here, and it’s not so bad, it could be worse, I have a quality of life, food to eat and a roof over my head, albeit the same one I lived under as a kid.