Memories fond and true

An article in which Barry and Caz reflect on the modern era and the olden days – portrayed in inimitable Barry Edge style.

In a recent telephone chat with Caz – well known OVF moderator, and lover of fine trifles – we briefly discussed the 24/7 social media’s impact on society in general and young people in particular.

Later that same evening I poured myself a glass of the finest Italian Chianti, made my way to the rear patio, sat for a while to enjoy the warm breezes of our Australian mid-summer and watched the sun set in the west. Then, without further ado, took a generous sip of Chianti before putting pen to paper to scribble down the one-liners that gives rise to the following poem.



Memories Fond and True

I’m sitting here and thinking
In a sentimental way
Of things I did when just a lad
Compared to boys today,
And if you have the time
I’d like to share with you
My rambling composition
Of memories fond and true


We did not have Nintendo
X-Boxes or the like
Or multi channelled TV
And internet with Skype,
For us it was meccano
And a solid Tonka truck
And for a wide screen movie
We’d go up Hanley ‘Duck

The only fast food known back then
Was good old fish and chips
Mostly on a Friday night
And on our seaside trips,
No pizzas, Big Macs, Nando’s
Or the ‘Colonel’s recipe,
Or foot-long food from Subway
Was known to folk like me

At six o’clock the shops were closed –
On Saturdays midday
And you would hear across the land
‘Away the Lads, away’,
Sunday was a day of rest
For prayer and songs of praise
Followed by our favourite food
Of oatcakes filled with chayse

Most mums were at home
When we rushed in from school
And the smell of kitchen fare
Would fairly make us drool,
But just to keep us going
We’d have a little snack
Of a doorstep ‘piece’ of jam
Plus water from the tap

We ate sugar laden cupcakes
And bread and dripping cobs
Plus pastry made with lard
Drank stewed tea from the hobs,
And in the modern context
We’d be heavy in our stride
But we were fit and trim
‘Cus we always played outside

We’d leave home early morning
And far and wide would roam
But when the street lights were turned on
We’d quick smart head back home,
And as we roamed the countryside
No danger did we feel
‘Cus the smiles of many strangers
Were plentiful and real

We’d take our empty bottles
Back to the corner store
And swap them for some toffees,
Penny fireworks and much more,
Then off we’d go to Banky Brook
And sit beneath the Yews
To eat our sherbet fountains
And lots of penny chews

We’d play down in the river beds
With our Dinky Matchbox toys
And talk about the wenches –
As was the want of boys,
And those of us with go-carts
That we built from cast off prams
Would ride at speed down nearby hills
And crash them into dams

We got soaked doing doffers
Climbed almost every tree
Built secret little hide-outs
Big enough for two or three,
And when we cut ourselves
Chipped a tooth or broke a bone
We did not blame each other –
The fault was ours alone

Our teachers sometimes punished us
With a gym shoe or a cane
Or gave us extra lines
To make us think again,
We rote learned math and English
Read books in ‘Quiet Time’
Plus learned the rules of syntax
And a conversational line

Now if the local plod
Came calling at our door
To tell our mums and dads
That we had breached the law
You could bet your weekly shilling
With the ‘Bobby they would side
And after he had gone
We would nurse a wounded pride

Our freedom was our failure –
‘Twas also our success,
Nor did we blame each other
If we were in a mess,
For no matter what we did,
Or the pickle we were in,
Most of us learned quickly
To take it on the chin


This ends my composition
From my deep and dreamy way
Of the times that I remember –
Or was that yesterday?
But before I say goodnight
Two questions just for you –
Did you find yourself reflecting?
Were they memories fond and true?

Barry Edge
Western Australia
February 17, 2013


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