Goodbyes: A favourite childhood memory

I have so many lovely memories of my childhood. As a child, my family moved a lot but I loved that, the chance to explore new areas, make new friends, have a new bedroom, get a bigger bedroom than my siblings! I always remember the sunshine, being outside on my bike, or roaming the neighbourhood, disappearing for hours on end (or at least that’s what it felt like, perhaps it wasn’t long at all), coming home only when it got dark or I got hungry. I remember being with my brother and a group of friends aged about seven and jumping off a very high cricket scoreboard platform. It’s a wonder no-one broke anything. I remember making dens, playing games of ‘It’, riding my bike for hours and hours nowhere in particular, whizzing down hills, feeling the breeze on my face and through my hair. I would love to have that feeling of freedom these days, I wonder how little it would actually take?

This week my eldest went out to play on the street with the other local children. We live in a very safe area – the biggest danger are some of the cars driven by local residents who drive much too fast through our own village – so it is one of my greatest hopes that my children can experience some of the freedom that I had as a child. I used to walk to school with my brother, helped across the busy street by a Lollipop lady, although I was pretty responsible and probably didn’t even need her to help us. I’m sure I was much more mature than my children are now! I can’t imagine my boys crossing the road safely, they would just run across without a second thought despite (or maybe because of!) my constant teaching/nagging.

When I was nine my family moved to America and so I went to boarding school. I went with some trepidation and a great deal of excitement. The downside was that I would only see my parents at Christmas, Easter and for the long summer holidays. The upside is that I got to spend some of my exeat weekends and half terms with my grandparents and I have many lovely memories of time with them: their house, being in their garden, shelling peas, my grandpa’s vegetable plot, him cooking Sunday evening supper (always scrambled egg on toast) so my grandma could have an evening out of the kitchen, shivering in front of a two-bar fire in their cold bathroom, the smell of the quilts on their guest beds. My grandfather taught me the patience card game Windows so that I could play it when I felt lonely and homesick at school and it’s a game I still love to this day.

For the long holidays I got to fly home. Oh the excitement leading up to this! Every term we would make ourselves calendars to count off the days to the end of term – it would be ‘this time next week’ I’ll be on the plane, ‘this time tomorrow’ I’ll be arriving at the airport and so on. I still count my days like that. The holidays were always too short and I dreaded the return to school. Even though school wasn’t too bad, it was School and therefore Not Home. I was always terribly homesick at school, missing my family, my dog, my home. So, for the last week of every holiday, I would have that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

On the last night of the holidays we always had The Last Supper. Either my brother or I would be allowed to choose our favourite meal and then the following day I would bid farewell to my beloved dog and then, at the airport, my family. I would give my sister a box of ‘treasures’ that I had made for her. And then my brother and I would get on a shuttle bus and he would attempt to stop me crying by cracking stupid jokes. Really silly small-boy jokes.

It was a ritual I hated because of the circumstances but a ritual I loved because my family would do everything they could to make leaving them easier for me. And the memory of my brother trying to cheer me up (and he has done so all of our adult lives when needed) has stayed with me and makes me smile whenever I think of it, and of him.

He still tells terrible jokes. And I’m still not very good at goodbyes.

Photo: Kossy@FINEDAYS

Welcome to the Friday Club Carnival, a weekly carnival held here. This week’s Carnival is all about a favourite childhood memory, please click through and read these other lovely posts:

Domino Trails from Mummy From The Heart. A Favourite Childhood Memory from Patch of Puddles. My Mum was the best storyteller from Baby Budgeting. My Friend Next Door from QWERTY Mum. Freedom from Live Otherwise. A Favourite Childhood Memory from The Gingerbread House. Please Turn Over from Bibsey. Birthday Memories from The Diary of a Frugal Family. Freedom from Little Legends. Not Tonight Josephine from Cheeky Wipes. Holidays from Seasider In The City. A Favourite Childhood Memory from Who Teaches Whom. Remembering a Fishpond from Mymumdom. Canada from South of the River Mum. Making Paper Boats from Red Ted Art.

27 thoughts on “Goodbyes: A favourite childhood memory

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  5. maggy, red ted art

    Ah, wow, what a post about your childhood – I feel I got a real glimpse into you growing up. Wow. It really can’t have been easy spending so much time away from your family, but it is lovely how some great memories still came from it? (I think)…

    My childhood post is much simpler than yours… but isn’t it funny, what things stick with us forever??

    Maggy x

  6. southoftherivermum

    Lovely post. I remember that sick feeling as well on a Sunday afternoon before going back to boarding school. We had fun times there and made some great friends. I still remember the names of their brothers and sisters and their birthdays as we knew each other so well.

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  8. Bibsey Mama

    I used to shell peas with my Granny too!

    Lovely post. Thanks again for the writing prompt. Just writing about my Grandpa brought back things to me about him that I don’t think I have thought of for years and years.


  9. Jacq

    What a lovely memories you have of boarding school. Would you consider sending your children away to school? I have always said I’d never send my kids but thats because I was sent away to school at age 13 and hated every moment of it.

  10. midlifesinglemum

    I grew up reading Mallory Towers and other stories about boarding school. It sounded so exciting and I begged my parents to let me go to boarding school. I had a lovely life at home but for a child I guess the grass is always greener… And, of course, Enid Blyton boarding school was not real life boarding school.

    1. ella

      I don’t know if I speak for most boarders but boarding school is definitely nothing like Mallory Towers!

  11. PippaD

    I don’t think any brothers can tell jokes ;0) Thanks for sharing these memories though, it sounds sad and happy all at the same time.

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  13. Cherished By Me

    Oh that is so young to go to boarding school but I’m very envious. I always wanted to go to boarding school. My daughter is like that too. Lovely memories though. X

    1. ella

      I think the idea of boarding school is often better than the reality though so you were probably better off not going!

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  15. Cheeky Wipes Helen

    I had a lump in my throat by the end of your post, it makes me feel such mixed emotions. Small boys can be so lovely sometimes – even nicer to hear they grow up to be lovely men too!

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