I borrowed some photos from Mum a couple of weeks ago and have been scanning them. This is one of me in 1958 with my cousin Michelle Snowden.
I look at the photo and I see a little boy who is happy just being. There are no expectations, no aspirations, no knowledge of anything that lies ahead of him. There was a mainly happy childhood in a lower middle class family. We weren’t rich, but we were also not poor. We had TV and a car and enough money to go on holiday each year, usually camping.
The little boy didn’t know he would have two sisters or that he would grow up and have four children of his own. There was no weight of expectation, no fear of failure, nor any knowledge of what success might mean. The future was something of which there was no knowledge. There was no joy at Christmas or birthdays, no knowledge of war or famine, no aversion to affection nor focus on school or career.
There was no inkling of what a friend or a lover was, nor was there any knowledge of how it felt to lose friends, lovers or family. There was no Vietnam War, nor drought, nor understanding of global warming. No 9/11, no terrorism, no idea what a policeman was, let alone a thought that he might one day become one. Man was ten years from walking on the moon, the internet was decades away, petrol was sold in the gallons, milk and bread delivered in horse drawn carts and the postman came twice a day and blew his whistle when he put the mail in the letterbox. So the future was a mystery.
And now I sit here in my 50th year with a wealth of past behind and the future is still a mystery. Sometimes life is very lonely even when you can be surrounded by people. Sometimes the fear of losing things is overwhelming, and often it is very hard to look much further ahead than a day at a time. So I sometimes feel like that little boy but with the fear that innocence did not allow.