I was tagged by John James to write about the street I grew up in.
Only I don’t know where to start. I don’t remember the house I lived in for the first few years of my life in Adelaide. I was too young, and have only seen it (if you know what I mean) in photos.
We then moved to QLD and lived in a rental while our house was being built. The only thing I can remember from that rental was going out one night to pick up my sister from Brownies/Girl Guides and it’s my earliest memory of being outside at dark.
This is the house I remember most as my “growing up in” house, even though we probably lived other places for longer.
It was a brand new house when we moved in. From memory, it has 4 bedrooms upstairs, an ensuite and a bathroom. Downstairs was the kitchen, dining room, lounge, formal dining room, rumpus room, laundry and another bathroom. The garden was on two levels and both stairs and a ramp (for the mower etc) were put in. It felt giant to me as a kid. It has cemented in me what a “normal” house should be, so anything smaller than this (basically every other house I’ve ever lived in) is officially tiny.
I think my parents were friends with the next door neighbours, though I can’t remember which side. I have a feeling they babysat me when my parents and sister went to their citizenship ceremony one night. They got some kind of gold thing in a container and I was too young to understand why I didn’t get one – because I was born in Australia.
There was an alleyway a few houses up (to the left) where you could hang out and play pranks on people. I think there were some kids half a dozen houses up because I thought that was too far to walk on my own one time and I demanded they walked me home to be safe.
When we lived on this street, it was thick, undeveloped bush opposite. Now it’s houses. I think that is why the children’s picture book Window by Jeanie Miller means a lot to me. I rode my bike over the dirt bikers jumps in the bush. On boxing day it was always so quiet on the street that kangaroos would come out and bounce up the road.
The house behind us was some kind of business owner – I can’t remember them having any kids my age. Possibly older?
What I remember the most about this house were the summer storms. You knew there was about to be a huge lightning strike when the doorbell went off.
After this, we moved to somewhere in London/Surrey border area for a year ish. I don’t remember that house. I remember a friends house because she lived on a street with giant trees and I thought that was cool. I guess it would have reminded me of movie type streets. I think the street had a cool name too, but I don’t know what it was.
We moved back to Adelaide after that, and again I can’t remember where we lived. It wasn’t for long though, three school terms later and we were back in Brisbane.
I’m not sure how long it took us to find a place to live. I think it was at this point that we stayed in a caravan park for a little while. I remember thinking it was cool because we had bunk beds and I could make my cabbage patch doll do flips on the bunk bed ladder like she was in gymnastics class.
The next house we lived in was the longest I’ve lived in any one place – about 6 or 7 years. It was a 4 bedroom, single story house. When we moved in, you really noticed that we were close to a train line – probably only a few hundred metres. I remember hearing a train and jumping around until I found a spot in my bedroom where I could see a glimpse of it. That passed quickly and then I barely ever noticed the trains again.
Again, there weren’t a great deal of kids my age at first. But there were some kids. On either side of this house were military rentals. I don’t remember who was in one side, but they moved out so then the family on the other side moved to the other house – I think one was 3 bed and the other was 4. They had 3 kids – 2 boys and a girl – and so they moved from the 3 bed to the 4 bed. It was funny watching them move house – they had a giant flatbed trolley and just wheeled their belongings from one side of us to the other.
The two boys were hilarious to live next door to. The best way I’ve ever described it is like living next door to a real life Malcolm In The Middle family. They were always in trouble. They would steal things from their pantry like chocolate biscuits and go eat them on the roof. They were always on the roof of their house. It wasn’t unusual to look out of your bedroom window and see some legs. They would get sent to their rooms but then would cut or remove the fly screens and climb out onto the roof.
Another military family moved in the other side of us and they had kids. A boy and a girl. I think the boy was my age and the girl a year or two younger. I have a feeling between the three houses that we did all play together, but again, I don’t know how much or how often.
The house next to the Malcolm In The Middle family ended up having a Canadian family from Vancouver in it who were in Australia on a teacher swap or something. They were friends with my parents but their kids were too young for me to play with. I was jealous of them because they would pack up their car and go away nearly every weekend – clearly making the most of their time in Australia. We later stayed with them for a few days in Vancouver.
I think the Malcolm In The Middle family saved and bought their own house, so they moved out and it stopped being a military rental. A Russian family moved in who had a girl quite a few years younger than me, but I think I became some kind of mix of friend/babysitter.
We moved after a long time and rented a house a few km away while I finished high school. I don’t ever remember meeting neighbours at this place. It had tiny roads. One car that lived near us had the rego plate “TAX SUX”.
After I finished school we did another bounce – to the UK again (Bournemouth this time), where we lived in a ground floor flat. My room was miniature. It fitted my single bed and not much else. It was strange because you had to go through another room to get to my room. That room was kind of a study. I think I was told the bigger room could be my room, but I said no way in hell if it means you’re always walking through it. It was a very isolating place for me because I was temping and didn’t meet anyone my own age for the 9 ish months we lived there. I wasn’t allowed out on my own and so I just stayed at home unless I had work. This is when I was very active in the Harry Potter fandom and wrote a lot of fan fiction. Escapism?
We then moved back to Adelaide, where we lived in a townhouse with elderly people next door who cut their grass with scissors and a nice park opposite. I did my first year of uni there and then we moved again to the London/Surrey border area. After working and travelling I left home and moved back to Australia, I was 19.
This is just what I can remember offhand of the places I grew up.
I’m being bad and tagging people without asking them – so a) you don’t have to do it and b) if you want to do it, then post away! Share your link in the comments and/or on social media.