It was quite a walk down the High Street, situated as it was on the hill. You could really struggle to keep your step and not land in the race at the Old Water Mill. But on summer days it was so very fine, it was the place that we all longed to be. Weaving in and out of the tourists, from countries as far away as could be.
Old Mr Castle kept the toy shop, it was so crammed full with such amazing toys. There was a train which he ran all day long, which kept the attention of all us young boys. There were knights and soldiers and pirates, and there were Dinky cars of every single sort. But though thousands of children passed through his shop, Mr Castle closed down as so little was bought.
It was like that in those days so very long ago, such wonders to amaze and astound. But it wasn’t that long after the Second World War, and it wasn’t on toys that parents spent their pound. But we ran and we played and we had great fun. We also had bikes or we walked. People grew spuds in their garden back then, and we listened to the radio or talked.
Then one day my Dad died and it all fell to bits. It wasn’t such fun playing after that. On the day of his funeral he was put in the front room, while I sat on the stairs with his old trilby hat. Mum never remarried and she struggled, there were six of us each needing care. And somehow a few of us have made it. But not all, which brings me despair.
The good old days is only an expression. They were happy but also quite sad. And for some folks they were pretty awful, so I guess mine were not all that bad. When people look back and remember, it’s not nostalgia is my firm belief. For those days were filled with trepidation, and to have made it is such a relief.
©Joe Wilson – Were they the good old days…2016