Number 15….. Number 15 Treweeke Street. When I think of my home when I was twelve I imagine what they say about drowning; that your life flashes before your eyes. Memories of Number 15 are just like this. So many things happened there that I am not sure whether I have an overall feeling of happiness or sadness. I guess it was both. It just was.
I cannot complain about my life. When you hear of childhood memories of other people that were traumatic, it doesn’t give you license to complain at all. I had a good life, wonderful parents and a comfortable home, warm bed.
When I was 12 we moved into Number 15. We moved from my grandmothers house a few blocks away. I still went to the same school and had the same friends but a different outlook. We were at the top of the hill and my walk to school was all downhill this time round. On the reverse though it was a trudge a block from home for the sharp upward gradient to my front door. Life was good. That changed after a few months at Number 15.
Then the worst moment of my life happened. My Dad, my first love, my everything…..died. One day there and the next gone. When I say he was my life I do not mean to dismiss my Mothers importance. Its just he was effectively my mother for an impressionable period of my life. In the 70s it wasn’t trendy then for both parents to work. If both parents worked it meant that you were not well off. My mum had to go to work when I was just rousing from my sleep. Dad would feed me, make sure I was dressed properly, check homework and get me off to school.
I remember it so well, the night before. When I cannot remember what I did last week, the clarity of the night before he died stays with me to this day. We were watching Titantic on TV. I think Mum had already gone to bed as she had to get up quite early for work. He had kissed me on the cheek, we said goodnight and then that was my last memory.
A few months later the next worst moment of my life happened when my Susie, my baby, my dog, that I raised from a pup was run over by a man from a few doors up the road! My life crashed. She was my lifeline after my father died, I think I transferred a lot my feeling over to her. She was funny, playful and made Mum and I laugh when laughing was a luxurious product that we didn’t afford at the time. It took a long time to get over her death. I struggled!
My teenage years were difficult transitioning from two parents to one, rebelling at my losses and the fact that my Mum could not be there at all times to watch me, I went off the rails – not to the extent of drugs, sex and alcohol but I used to wander the streets with my friends, dabbled in smoking and tried to be cool hanging out with the wrong crowd; not the sort of person a mother would be proud of.
Suffice it to say there were a lot of adjustments, not just emotional for Mum and myself during this period of our lives. She had to change jobs to look after me and try and work at the same time. We were not a rich family but Mum was a good budgeter and we made it through.
To think how my Mum had to struggle through this time of her life, which was monumental, and then to have a problem in me is almost too much now for me to dwell on. How selfish! But I try to be kind to myself; I was dealing with the same angst but being a teenager I didn’t know how to deal with it.
There were many, many good times in Number 15 as well but sadly the good times do not stick in my mind when I try to reflect on them. The bad memories scream through saying ‘look at me, look at me’ and the happy memories slink into the background.
I lived at Number 15 until I turned 27.
My last memory of Number 15 is when Mum decided it was time to go into care and have a room just down the hill in a retirement home. I went through each room saying goodbye. It was time for a different phase in each of our lives. Mine now as an adult. I was in my 30s or 40s at the time but when your childhood home is no more then I think that is when you truly become an adult and have to pack up your kid memories in a suitcase and take them to your adult home.
So Number 15 at Twelve……