As you read this blog, I must warn that you will find, honest thoughts, ambitions, and hopes from my mind.
The British Army posts soldiers to various different countries for work during their service. Whilst my father was serving, we were posted to Germany in 2001 until we left in 2004. This may not sound like a very long period of time, but those 3 years in Germany were an amazing and important part of my life.
But you know how the memory is. The younger you were when it happened, the easier it is to forget. Sometimes you don’t forget things though… Sometimes these memories just stay so far in the back of your mind until something triggers it, like a photo or maybe revisiting the place the memory was made. So that’s exactly what we did. We went back to our old house to see what we could remember.
Pulling up to the first house, I was overwhelmed with the memories that flooded back to me. I saw the huge back garden that I’d played in as a little girl in the summer. I could see the basketball court that I had dragged my Father to play in all those years ago which was just behind the house, although it was a lot smaller than I had remembered. I stared down the street to the small bus stop where I’d waited for the school bus at, eager for school.
It was lovely to go back, but sad too. The back garden used to have huge trees in which we hung our hammock from; now, the trees lay on the ground, cut down and covering the entire garden. Peering through a window, I could just see an empty living room, with a window smashed at the back. After posing for photos outside the door and by the street sign just like we had when we first moved there, we turned to go back to the car. That’s when we looked up to the tree in the front garden and saw them. That tree had been there since before we had arrived in Germany, before I was even born, and it was the only one by our home that hadn’t been destroyed. Our first Christmas in Germany, my parents had set about hanging decorations everywhere, making it all wonderfully festive. They had strung lights along the gutter all the way over to the tree, turning it into our very own Christmas tree. Unfortunately, when the season was over, my parents had been unable to actually get them down again. And now, 12 years later, as we stared up at the massive tree, we discovered that the lights had still not been touched. There they were, strewn across a branch, the only thing left that proved the Penketh-Kings had ever lived there. Our legacy in Germany.
Walking down to the park, my parents chatted away, telling us tales of what we had been like as children in the park. We heard of my brother hiding completely from view, causing much panic, and of how I had fallen off of something and made such a fuss that everybody thought I’d broken my arm, yet I barely had a bruise. My brother and I climbed onto a weird multi-person swing, and for a couple of seconds I felt like a child again as I relived the fun of the park. Alas, it was only for a moment, before reality hit home again and we reluctantly got off and returned to the car.
Driving around the town, it was sad to see it was now like a ghost town. We barely saw anybody walking around, and so much had changed. The ice cream parlour, next door to the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ shop, had gone, as had Aladdin’s Cave. The YMCA Cafe where I had sat many an afternoon reading the first few Harry Potter books in the series for the first time with a milkshake had disappeared too, as had the post office where my father and I had eagerly awaited the delivery of our pre-ordered copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix’. Memories were rushing back and crashing against my mind like tidal waves, but the more I remembered, the more sad I became as I looked around at the place I once called home and barely recognised it…
We reunited with my parents’ old friends, Jill and Ellis, whilst we were there, and spent a wonderful evening at their house, reminiscing about the times in Germany. Jill told me many stories and I learnt more about my mother in those couple of hours than I had in the past month! The things those women used to get up to! The evening was lovely, filled with lots of laughter and plenty of memories, and I was sad to call it a night. They had organised for us to have rooms nearby, so we wandered back to them, despite the fact that I had completely forgotten where those rooms were – everything looks so different in the dark! I collapsed into my bed in my room that I was sharing with my mother and fell asleep straight away, exhausted from the merriment of the night. Ahhh…
Well, my dear friends, do you remember much of your childhood days? Comment below! Much love to you all. Goodnight.