The Long Walk to School

'Mind the roads!

Each week day morning I had a long way to walk to school. It was in the early sixties and things were more relaxed then unlike now. It began by sitting on the back step putting my school shoes on and tying the laces very tightly. I took my meat sandwiches and some of my reading cards and started my daily journey.

It began with a walk up our alley picking up anything that was needed then out on to the street. Cars parked on the curb and by the side of each car was a paraffin lamp. If a car was left overnight without a lamp a policeman would pay you a visit, then the owner would pay a fine. My brother put it out at night and I blew it out in the morning and took it back to the shed.

Walking down my road there was  a bully who used to live on the corner. As I passed the bullies house all is very very quiet, and I rushed past the house bending down so I could not be seen out of his front window.

Suddenly the front door smashes open and a big kid chases me down the road. At the end of my road was a large piece of wasteland called The Logs. Huge trees had been cut down hundreds of years ago. They were grey split trees surrounded by stinging nettles and dumped cars a perfect playground for children.

Leaving my road I turned into a posh road, it was a street full of bungalows, curtains twitched as the council children went by. About a mile down this road was a bungalow that had a massive black dog sitting, loose, in the driveway. The dog would lick himself and pretent he was too busy to worry about me. When I got near the drive it went bananas. It woofed, ran after me, snarled, dribbled and had foam and spit all around its face.

After a while it got bored and went back to its licking of important places to wait for me to walk home later in the day. Sometimes that beast would pin me up against a tree and snarl at me for ages. The owner would come out of his house and tell me off for upsetting the dog, I hated that dog.

Next was more wasteland a muddy shortcut to the station. My shoes by then were covered in mud and I would try to clean them with a piece of paper that made them worse. Out of the short cut and under the station tunnel. Just up some steps bought me to a sweet shop. I would look through the window at the huge jars of sweets but most days I had no money. After looking through the window for some time the shop keeper would tell me to sling my hook. I did not know what it meant, but I knew it was a signal to leave.

I was now in Station Approach walking towards Prestwick Road. In them days it was just long grass fenced with nothing on it. Prestwick Road was a very busy road and there had been many accidents outside the station and residents used to march up and down demanding a Zebra crossing. After looking left and right, then left again as we were told at school I crossed into Fairfield Avenue. Another short cut took me through some more wasteland with a cinder path. There were some crab apple trees here and I would pick some red ones and take tiny little bites out of them because they were so sour. It was the grounds of an old knocked down big house near the little old church.

They had started to build two high rise flats, the ugliest building I had ever seen. But it did not stop children playing in the lifts. They were eight storeys high, in the winter there were icicles dangling down from the roof. The longest icicles I had ever seen or have have ever seen. The lifts smelled of public toilets and the stairs were worse. Then it was across Ainsdale Road to St. Joe’s and onto the playground where we would play football until it was time to go in.

It was the same in reverse on my way back home again in the afternoon. It was a long walk but as it was done five times a week it was just part of your life. Not like now where children, where I now live, travel everywhere by car.

This page was added on 14/03/2012.

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