It was my sister's 40th birthday party last weekend at St Martin's College in Lancaster. She asked me to say a few words, so I adapted this well worn classic and read it out at the party - I died on my arse to be honest, but I like it and hope she did too.
Close your eyes and go back in time...
Before the Internet...
Before Facebook, Twitter
Before Sony PlayStation or Super Nintendo Wii...
I`m talking about Hide and Seek in the park.
The woods at the top of
Noons corner shop.
Hopscotch. Butterscotch. Midget Gems and Sports Mixtures.
Games of football that took all day
Robbing my Joanne’s copy of Jackie, Just Seventeen and Smash Hits
Jumping the stream, building dams on Barton Road Beck.
The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.
Bazooka Joe bubble gum.
An ice cream cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune; chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or Mint Chock Chip. Or maybe even a screwball.
Watching Saturday morning cartoons, short adverts or going to the flicks.
The Children’s Film Foundation, The Double Deckers, Red Hand Gang, The Tomorrow People, Kizzie, The Changes and those annoying idiots from Rentaghost
Were you Tiswas or Swapshop?,
Blue Peter? Or Magpie?
And who can forget `Why Don`t You`? - or staying up for Doctor Who and hiding behind our red vinyl sofa.
When around the corner seemed far far away and going into town seemed like really going somewhere.
Holidays at Butlins at
And Gramps and Auntie Jean.
And Nana Betty.
And Uncle Doug and Auntie Joan
Our Family. Gone, but never forgotten.
We’re not going on holiday this year, we’re having days out…
Days out at special places: The Dub, The Crook, Wray, Roberndale, Littledale.
And our places that we gave names to: The
Skimmers and dams, earwigs and wasps, stinging nettles and bee stings.
Do you all remember playing out on the street? And in fields
Grass stains on your knees.
White dog poo.
Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians
And Japs and Commandos.
Knock a door run (they just call it Parcelforce now).
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.
Being tired from just playing out....remember that?
The worst embarrasment was being picked last for a team.
Choppers and Grifters.
Eating raw jelly. Orange squash ice pops.
Things you had at your house that no-one else had: Weetabix with butter on, Chicken baked in crushed crisps.
There were two types of trainers - girls and boys, and Dunlop Green Flash - and the only time you wore them at school was for P.E.
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 25p was decent pocket money.
Curly Whirlys. Space Dust. Toffo`s.
When you would reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
When nearly everyone`s mum was at home when the kids got there.
When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn`t because of scrotes or drive-by shootings or gangs, but embarrassing your Mum and Dad.
Didn`t that actually feel good?
Just go back and say, Yeah, I remember that! Remember when....
Decisions were made by going "Ip Dip Dog Sh*t"
"A race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
Money issues were handled by whoever was banker in "Monopoly".
The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs.
And the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one.
Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.
Taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable aspirin.
Ice cream was considered a basic food group.
Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.
Do you remember?
We can. Happy times. Happy days.
Happy birthday Jo