I thought I’d post some baby photos of me today, as I am feeling quite nostalgic. I was remembering simpler times in the olden days.
I had an upbringing unlike most people. I was raised in an apartment building right in the city centre. We lived on the 19th floor in one of four penthouses. The elementary school was across the street and the beach was only two blocks away. The building had a pool as well and my best friends lived on the 18th and 9th floors respectively. We had an amazing corner store just kitty corner to the building that had the most wonderful array of penny candy known to mankind. I came by my sweet tooth naturally. We were allowed to walk there ourselves and spend our allowances from a very early age, as it was totally safe. At night the prostitutes would come out and I then needed an escort home from my weekly Brownie meeting.
I would say I had a really great upbringing. We were never bored and there were lots of kids also living in apartments in the area. I had to share a room with my younger brother but didn’t know that this was so terrible as all my friends had to share their rooms with annoying siblings.
With the ocean and the pool so close by I was a good swimmer and loved the water. The park was really close as well with its zoo, petting zoo and aquarium. Are you getting my drift here? We were very engaged kids with always something to do. No, we did not have a backyard swing set but we had the school playground with the jungle bars right out front.
Halloween used to kick ass as we went from building lobby to building lobby where we had our pick from the piles of candy provided by every single tenant heaped on tables. We are talking about full sized candy bars, people! No stairs and measly handouts for us. It was a Land O’ Plenty and we reaped the benefits. Those were the days…
As I got older I was very active at the local community centre that offered great kids’ programs. I joined a pottery class and got quite good on the wheel for a little kid. I did gymnastics and trampoline as well. There was also a skating rink in the centre, which was a favourite wintertime activity. They even had Pre-teen Disco night and I knew all the moves for The Carwash and every dance from Saturday Night Fever. My mom would give me a dollar and that would buy me a donut from the cafeteria and unlimited McDonalds Orange Drink just off the dance floor. My friends and I would boogie the afternoon away. After our dance time was done the teens would come in and I remember being rather fascinated with what they were wearing. Ah! Clothes from the 70’s. I couldn’t wait to be 13 years old and dancing with the big kids.
When I was 10 we moved out of the neighbourhood to the suburbs as the problems with the local ho’s were getting out of hand. Also I was getting a little too old to be sharing a room with my pesky brother.
I remember my first day at the new school. I showed up with my little disco bag and French Cut corduroy pants. I think I had platform shoes. I know I had feathered hair! I looked like a freak amongst all the Holly Hobby print dresses and other frumpy threads. I was a city kid amongst the suburban crowd. I didn’t know how to play Kick The Can. I had never mowed a lawn. Never owned a dog or cat. Never had my own room. But I had been to the Art Gallery and could kick ass on a city bus. Needless to say I was a curiosity for a while.
My whole family lives in the city centre again and I actually live only a couple blocks from the old apartment building. We have all made it back to The Hood over the years. Things are very different now but the candy store is still there exactly as it was 30 years ago and even owned by the same people. The Safeway is in the same place but recently renovated. Kids don’t trick or treat here anymore. Or at least to my house anyway. I wish they would. They must go to the suburbs to do it. I bet the community centre does something for them. It is still a good neighbourhood to live in. It really feels like home to me.