Childhood memories, for some they are good and for some they are bad. I am one of the fortunate ones. My memories of up until I was eleven years old are mostly good. My mother was part of a large family and there was always something going on. I have so many aunts, uncles and cousins, most of them having strong and interesting characters. We have some wonderful get-togethers when there is always so much laughter.
The poem today is a nostalgic one. It is strange how a building can hold so much importance in one’s memory, when it almost becomes a living thing in itself. In my mind, the house has become as important as the people that lived in it, probably because it is the place where we all hold so many fond memories. It was a different way of life then and things move on, for better or for worse. I just hope that the people who live there now are as happy in that house as we were. I hope you enjoy the poem.
My Grandparent’s House
I stand outside the house
lost in my childhood memories.
Remembering Whiskey the dog
who used to sleep in the road
which is now full of parked cars.
Whiskey, who would swim in the river
and come back home soaking wet.
Whiskey, who used to protect me.
I want desperately to knock on the door
and ask them if I can come in.
I want so very much to see inside,
to see if anything remains the same
and to see what has been changed.
I’d like to view the back garden too,
where I used to sit on the door-step.
The garden used to be crazy paved
and edged with pretty flower beds.
It had a large brick coal bunker
and of course, there was Grandad’s shed.
The front of the house looks different,
the door and windows all replaced.
This was the house where I was born.
This was my Grandparents’ house.
My Nanna and Grandad were special
and I loved them both so much.
They’d produced sixteen children
but three had died before I was born.
In this house I’d lived my first three years,
and I’d stayed here in the school holidays.
Nearly every Saturday after shopping
we would come here from Enfield Town for tea.
So many of us gathered here,
everyone mucking in together.
There was always so much going on,
the chattering, teasing and laughter.
Cooking and the smell of home made cakes,
the piano, not to forget the wooden radio.
The huge square table we all sat around,
where I remember us all picking winkles with a pin.
We would come here for Christmas,
fibre glass cobwebs on the Christmas tree.
We thought these days would go on forever,
thought the house would always be here for us,
but, when I was eleven Nanna passed away.
Grandad was still recovering in hospital
after having a terrible motor bike accident.
When he got home he made a decision,
a decision that shocked us all.
He decided to sell the house.
This house so full of memories.
The last Saturday we visited this house,
walking in the dark to catch the bus home,
Mum had tears rolling down her cheeks
and I knew this was the end of an era
If only I had the courage to knock,
but instead, I continue to stand outside,
Photograph by Jacqueline Nash