Friday, April 17, 2009

You cain't go back...

Yes, you can! The other day Bryan and I went to meet a pal from about 25 years ago - a musician. A while back we met Fang again, after about 20 years. And yesterday, I went right back - to my childhood.

No, I didn't start sucking my thumb again (I know where it's been!) but I did drive to the Norfolk town of Diss and surprise my ex-neighbour on his 87th birthday! Thankfully the shock wasn't too much. That had worried me - his son (Paul) and I arranged that we would meet up after finding each otheron Facebook just a few months ago.

Funny really - you think of someone from the past, stick the name in Facebook and up come all these entries and you wonder ... but I saw Paul's photo and knew it was him. He still has the same cheeky look from 30 years back!

So for Maurice's birthday we arranged a meal in Diss which was also attended - as a surprise - by my mum, myself and another neighbour from those days, Daphne.

Backstory: from aged 3-16 I lived in Athenaeum Road, Whetstone, London N20. We lived in a nice house, but by the time we left it was in sore need of serious (and expensive) repair. Opposite us lived Maurice, Beryl, Paul and Anne. Beryl (Paul's mum) died in 1971, my dad died in 1973. So our parents were, respectively, Widow and Widower. Friends, but never anything more. Paul and I - though I am four years his senior - were best buddies for most of those years. We would play in his huge garden or in our houses; we set fire to his shed once (only a little bit) and would play with our Action Men and invented many imaginative games. I was - ahem - probably a bit bossy. No, actually, I was VERY bossy! Poor lad already had an older sister too!

It was a friendship that lasted right up until we lost touch some time after Bryan and I got married and we moved away from Barnet (both families had moved away from Athenaeum Road by then).

Daphne lived further up the Road with her family and she and my mother Sally remained friends through all the intervening years. She now lives in Ely - so Sally and Daphne drove across from Ely and I drove from home to meet Paul and Maurice in their home town of Diss.

Seeing them both last night was a pleasure - they say you can't go back, but sometimes you don't need to go back, you can just look back and laugh together.
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