The following describes EXACTLY what being a kid in New Zealand was like for me, it was amazing. I intend to print this out to remind me of all the things that Ethan needs to learn to grow up a proper kiwi;
I’m talking about hide and seek/spotlight in the park.
The corner dairy, hopscotch, four square, go carts, cricket in front
of the garbage binand inviting everyone on your street to join in, skipping
(double dutch), gutterball, handstands, elastics, bullrush, catch and kiss,
footy on the best lawn in the street, slip’n’slides, the trampoline with
water on it (or a sprinkler under it), hula hoops, jumping in puddles
with gumboots on, mud pies and building dams in the gutter. The smell of
the sun and fresh cut grass.
‘Big bubbles no troubles’ with Hubba Bubba bubble gum. A topsy. Mr
Whippy cones on a warm summer night after you’ve chased him round
the block. 20 cents worth of mixed lollies lasted a week and pretending to
smoke “smokes” (the lollies) was really cool!.. A dollars’ worth of chips
from the corner take-away fed two people (AND the sauce was free!!).
Being upset when you botched putting on the temporary tattoo from the
bubblegum packet, but still wearing it proudly. Watching Saturday
morning cartoons: ‘The Smurfs’, ‘AstroBoy’, ‘He-man’, ‘Captain Caveman’,
‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’, ‘Jem’ (truly outrageous!!), ‘Super d’, and
‘Heeeey heeeeey heeeeeeey it’s faaaaaaat Albert’. Or staying up late and
sneaking a look at the “AO” on the second telly, being amazed when you
watched TV right up until the ‘Goodnight Kiwi!’
When After School with Jason Gunn & Thingie had a cult following and
What Now was on Saturday mornings! When around the corner seemed a
long way, and going into town seemed like going somewhere. Where running
away meant you did laps of the block because you weren’t allowed to cross
the road?? A million mozzie bites, wasp and bee stings (stee bings!).
Sticky fingers, goodies & baddies, cops and robbers, cowboys and
indians, riding bikes til the streetlights came on and catching tadpoles
in horse troughs.
Going down to the school swimming pool when you didn’t have a key and
your friends letting you in, drawing all over the road and driveway with
chalk. Climbing trees and building huts out of every sheet your mum had
in the cupboard (and never putting them back folded). Walking to school
in bare feet, no matter what the weather.
When writing ‘I love….? on your pencil case, really did mean it was
true love. “he loves me? he loves me not?” and daisy chains on the front
lawn. Stealing other people’s flowers from their gardens and then
selling them back to them…
Running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach
hurt. Pitching the tent in the back/front yard (and never being able to
find all the pegs). Jumping on the bed. Singing into your hair brush in
front of the mirror, making mix tapes…
Sleep overs and ghosts stories with the next door neighbours.
Pillowfights, spinning round, getting dizzy and falling down was cause
for the giggles. The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a
team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon. Weetbix cards pegged
on the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle. Collecting WWF
and garbage pail kids cards.
Eating raw jelly and raro, making homemade lemonade and sucking on a
Rad, a traffic light popsicle, or a Paddle Pop… blurple, yollange and
You knew everyone in your street – and so did your parents! It wasn’t
odd to have two or three “best friends” and you would ask them by
sending a note asking them to be your best friend.
You didn’t sleep a wink on Christmas eve and tried (and failed) to wait
up for the tooth fairy. When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When 50c
was decent pocket money. When you’d reach into a muddy gutter for 10c.
When nearly everyone’s mum was there when the kids got home from school.
When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at
the local Chinese restaurant (or Cobb’n’Co.) with your family.
When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed her or use him to
carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
When being sent to the principal’s office was nothing compared to the
fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.
Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of
drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were
a much bigger threat! Some of us are still afraid of them!!!
Remember when decisions were made by going “eeny-meeny-miney-mo” or
dib dib’s-scissors, paper, rock. “Race issue” meant arguing about who ran
the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly.
Terrorism was when the older kids were at the end of your street with
pea-shooters waiting to ambush you, or the neighbourhood rottie chased
you up a tree!
The worst thing you could catch from the opposite gender was boy/girl
germs, and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one.
Where bluelight disco’s were the equivalent to a Rave, and asking a boy
out meant writing a ‘polite’ note getting them to tick ‘yes’ or ‘no’. When
there was always that one ‘HOT’ guy/girl.
Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot. Your
biggest danger at school was accidentally walking through the middle of
a heated game of “brandies”.
Birthday beats meant you didn’t want to go to school on your birthday!
Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.
Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant
scoffing orange-flavoured chewable vitamin C’s, or swallowing half a
Panadol. Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Going to the
beachand catching a wave was a dream come true. Boogie boarding in
the white wash made you the next Kelly Slater. Abilities were discovered
because of a “double- dare”.