Is there a therapist in the house?

When I was little I wanted an eye patch.

One of my earliest childhood memories, is of a little girl appearing at my front door with her over -dressed mother  (for some reason when I remember this moment, I always picture the mother wearing a red and white poker-dot ball gown. But I’m sure that can’t be right. Unless her mum was Minnie Mouse… and then wouldnt i just remember the ears? but anyway.. )

I had first noticed this little girl hanging around by the slide at the playground.

I was also aware, little busy -body that I was, (not much changed there, just call me Noris) that she had only just moved in next door with her mummy and daddy. So when the doorbell rang, and there she was stood in all her glory, her mother dancing to ‘hot dog hot dog hot, digetty dog’ in the background (teehee), it wasn’t a huge surprise to me.

It was unscheduled though.

She had turned up out of the blue, as my mother would say. Had she not heard of the phone? Was she born in a barn?

I was a planner as a child. I couldn’t plan a glass of milk in a dairy farm now, but there you go. Back then anything unscheduled threw my whole diary out of whack. I was a pain in the arse, even at the age of five.

Now I remember very distinctly being in a mood on this day. I was ‘huffy’ and ‘puffy’ that this girl should step foot in my house because;

A) I was totally intimidated by her, only the brave and rough kids hung around by the slide!! Anybody reading this who grew up in England during the 1980’s and earlier will understand why. Do you remember those death slides? They were the highest, narrowest, steepest and scariest looking apparatus ever constructed and allowed within 30 feet of a child. With at least a million tiny steps leading up to the tip and only 2 little (wobbly) bars at the top to stop you falling off the side and plummeting 100 feet on to the tarmac below, it really is a wonder any of us made it in to our 30’s. There was no shredded cork in my day! If you fell off that slide it was game over. (Do not pass GO!, do NOT collect £200!) When you were at the top of that slide you could literally see Morocco. Your friends waiting down below looked like jumping fleas. And if you did manage to sit your podgy arse on the narrow slip of metal at the summit without falling to your untimely death, you would usually reach the bottom shaking like a shitting dog and covered from head to toe in heat burns. This would be from attempting to slow yourself down from warp speed to light speed during the shaky, terrifying and usually painful decent.

If those slides were about now, The Department of health and safety would be all over them like a rash. (not unlike the graffiti that was always all over them at that time! Sharon luvs Derek 4eva!.) The children of this decade would (quite rightly) be made to wear harnesses and helmets, and would only be permitted to climb, said death trap under the supervision of the Greater Manchester fire service. They were really scary! Forget a sky dive for cancer research! Come and try this 80’s torture slide! You’ll crap yourself!

And B) She was a big girl. I don’t mean this in the literal sense. I mean, at a whole six months older, she was in the year above me at school and was unattainably cool. I did not want her to see my collection of Care bears and their Care bear friends lined up neatly against the radiator, keeping their bums warm. Or my collection of Polly pockets (which FYI! Were pocket sized then! Have you seen Polly recently? She ain’t pocket sized! They should change her name to Polly -carrier bag!) sitting in a circle having a pocket séance (Did i mention my family may as well have been the Adams Family?) And I definitely did not want her to see my He-Man and She-Ra giving in to some much needed grown up love action, in the barbie house upstairs, while Skeletor watched from his castle of doom. (Joke! I was five for gods sake!) So I was well and truly in a mood. If it had been planned, I could have tidied! (or at the very least shoved them all under my bed!)

But mostly I was in a mood because I was jealous.

I recall she was dressed to kill in a neon pink pair of cycling shorts with a matching neon pink and black tank top.

ALL THE RAGE!

On her feet she had some pink glittery slip on’s (which I wasn’t allowed until I was six! Bitch!) and some neon pink pop socks! And it got worse! When she turned around, to hug her mum goodbye, (clearly on purpose to show off – I may have been five but what was I stupid?) she had the most perfect, baby blonde, soft and flowing curls stretching out all the way down her back, complimented perfectly with the most divine pair of plastic, shimmering fairy wings! (Double bitch!) She was perfect!!

Except for the eye patch.

Did I covet the neon cycling shorts? (Im ashamed to say) Yes.

Did I covet the perfect, plastic shimmery fairy wings? Definitely.

Did I covet her perfect bonce? Maybe…

But did I covet the pale peach, fraying, NHS standard issue, slightly lifted on one side, leaves a dirty grey sticky mess on the side of your face, eye patch? More than anything in the world!!

I remember standing, frozen to the spot, glaring at her (with my perfectly healthy eyes) and thinking lucky cow. She’s got a dodgy eye.

Here is one for the psychologists.

I was a lucky child.

I had a loving mother, a loving father and the best big brother in the whole world.

I did not feel unloved or jealous or forgotten.

I was spoilt but grateful (most of the time) and I was deliriously happy. (My family life was great until the age of 13. Then all hell broke loose. But that’s another post altogether! A password protected one!)

My only worries were; Could I push bedtime back another half an hour if I sat here quietly? Maybe they would forget I existed? And how many times can I whine ‘pleeeaase’ to my dad for a another bag of crisps, before he goes mental. So what gives?

All I know is, that was my first experience of lusting after some sort of medical badge of honour. An eye patch showed you were different! An Inhaler said you were cutting edge!

(A couple of years later, I moved on to wanting an inhaler. All the cool kids had them and if you remember, they were pretty funky back then. The 80’s equivalent of an Iphone. But better. Because it helps you breathe! You missed a trick there Apple.)

A cast said you were popular!! (A few years later I went through a stage of trying to break my own leg, I wanted a signed cast. They was cool!)

Braces gave you a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi!’  (I also wanted a retainer I could gently manoeuvre in to my mouth in front of the teachers, that would clearly show I wasn’t able to answer any questions in class, but meant I could sit with a knowing look while others struggled…AND If you were cool enough, you could have little red stars melted on to it! Ooooo!) and the list continues…

It was only last week, after having endured numerous broken bones, with casts that are bloody fibre-glass so cant be signed!!! And having grown bugs bunny teeth (I knew I needed a retainer!) And after having finally being diagnosed with Asthma, (meaning I finally got my inhaler! 27 years later!)that I remembered my somewhat random and strange childhood ambitions of being, well, poorly? Most kids dream of a holiday to Walt Disney World. Not me. I dreamt of spending a week in Hope Hospital.

It took me back. It made me smile. It made me bloody think, that perhaps I should be a little more careful about what I wish for. (Especially after having to use my boring, brown square inhaler in front of a load of snowboarders! So not cool!) It made me shudder remembering the 80’s dress sense but most of all it made me feel excited that Addison has all this to come!!

You can buy child size, funky eye patches now you know?

He is going to look SO cool! (AND SO AM I!!)

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8 Comments on “Is there a therapist in the house?

  1. Pingback: A Million more minutes. | Mammywoo

  2. OMG how funny!! I remember the death slides – I always ended up nearly turning backwards on it – so scary. I’m not sure I could remember any of my childhood in such detail like you have!

  3. Oh we had 2 scary death slides in my neighbourhood. They were nicknamed ‘the volcano’ & imaginatively ‘the volcano 2’.
    Nina fell off & cracked her head open on the pavement.
    My brother tried to ride his bike down the side of it (my brother was & still is an idiot lol).
    I’m so glad they knocked those volcano’s down, I have heart attacks when my son plays on the 3ft high slide surrounded by padding!

  4. Well I had an eye patch as a kid so nah dee dah….oh yes and the really bad squiffy squint, not so nah dee dah now are we Angie……you should see my drunk party trick I can do with my eyes….

    I do have an inhaler too…and watery eyes and a snotty nose…still.

  5. Ey ey ey, I needed to read this today! You have a gift, the gift of making someone who’s sat down for a quick coffee and a little web browsing- laugh thier head off-luckily the 2 yr old in my lap is a deep sleeper. Those slides? We had them too! And I was brain dead and clumsy enough to get talked into using them and usually break something because of it. So I never envyed casts- but I envyed glasses, til I had to get some. Yea I’m mote careful for what I wish for these days….

  6. I love you I do. This could of been me that wrote this and if you ever do write that password protected post you’ll have to share with me, cos I bet our history is the same. Anyway bloody brilliant post and our most local park only took away the 80’s death slide just before the summer holidays. I cried a little.

  7. As per usual, a wonderful blog.

    I too have recently discovered an 80’s death slide still in existance in my home town (city-private joke) and me and Isla actually went on it! Yes, it was surrounded by spongey soft stuff and a multitude of ‘warning’ signs’. I was bricking it, seriously, I was proper scared but obviously had to hide my fear from my 2 year old as she sat on my knee and we veared towards certain death (although I mouthed to my mate at the bottom, ‘I am f***ing sh**ing it!’). My Daughters’s not usually that brave but her playmate had just gone down it (on his own I might add) and this set the precedent (for her and for me).

    But this is even freakier, there was a girl in my primary school class who wore and eye patch too and I was also envious of her. She got so much special attention for it, she ALWAYS got to sit on the teachers knee at story time. And I have a theory as to why we would be envious of such an affliction. As kids, we crave love and attention, which like you, I had oodles of, but when you see other kids geting special attention because of physical ailments, you wanna slice of it too! I remember when I got my first inhaler, it was like, great, the PE teacher will defo have to notice me now.
    Plus, the other reason why inhalers were uber cool in the 80’s was because that kid of the Goonies had one!

  8. Lol This made me smile all the way through. I remember those death slides! The park in the village where I graew up still has theirs! And it’s not even had any wood chips added to make it safer.

    I won’t let Anna play on that slide. Not that she’s brave (read: mental!) enough to want to. She’s perfetly content to ride the slides of the 21st century. You know – 3 foot high, completely surrounded with soft bark shavings, 4 perfect steps with hand rails either side, 2 seconds of pure bliss and excitement on the way down – just enough time to yell, “weeeeee!” at the top of her voice before reaching the bottom. On reaching the bottom Anna usually claps at her sensible self for using the safe slide and then squeels in delight and runs around to the steps declairing, “Again!”. My little girl isn’t daft, she knows her limits!

    Although I have caught her glancing over at the big kids using the “80s death slide” (that must have somehow been overlooked in the massive health and safety operation to irradicate this sort of dangerous apperatous. Saying that, it does have a sign at the bottom that reads :”Children must be supervised at all times. Use at your own risk.”) with a sort of admiration and a hint of envy in her eyes… Still, she seems quite content with the modern slides at the parks. She’s never attempted to climb the stairs on the 80s slide (not that I’d let her if she did!). She gets her thrills out at soft play, where the bigger slides are perfectly safe and her landing is completely cushioned.

    It made me giggle thinking of you wishing for these health problems. I must confess to the same yearning as a child, strange as it is! Now that I’m older I know through experience that broken bones are no fun, eye operations leading to eye pathces are scary and sore and the eye patch itself is irritating and disorientating! I’ve had my share of poor health, operations and plaster casts – they just came about 10 years too late! And by then they were totally useless, not in any way cool, and turned out to be painful / irritating and depressing!

    What a fun blog post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading x

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