Lately I've been doing a lot of writing / thinking / reflecting on my childhood and the places I grew up. I mean, I always do that anyway but I've been working on a project that requires me to really dig down into all the details of it and while it's disturbing to revisit some stuff, it's been pretty delightful remembering some of the fun(ny) things that happen when you're a kid.
My very first job was delivering newspapers. The Toronto Sun. I had about 125 houses to deliver to on Saturday morning - I would wake up at 5am to assemble the papers - my mom, such a sport, would get up with me to help fold the entertainment section and the best part - the comics - into the outer shell. I would hurriedly read the comics before heading out the door with my cart and my dog Sooner.
I was about 10 years old - a hard worker, always happy to have more customers added to my route. I had a great memory and carried my chit book around with me, able to pop by and "collect" on my way to my best friend Priscilla's house, surprising my hard-to-catch houses that were always behind in payment. My boss, Mark, really thought I was great - he even gave me a bird at one point, a budgie. He seemed so old at the time but I wonder if he wasn't actually 20.
The pay was minimal, arriving in the form of a cheque every 2 weeks - that went straight into the bank. But it was the tips that I was working for. I gathered up to $200 a month in tips, splitting my earnings with my dog.
Things were different back then - kids were free. All of us from the neighbourhood went to the school nearby - Gordon Graydon. We all played together after school, in a huge gang, staying outside til dark, when our parents would start yelling in a chorus for us to come in. We played Hide and go Tag, hiding under parked cars and hopping fences to evade those who were "it." We played hockey in the middle of the street, moving the nets only when cars passed by.
I wonder if my kids will remember their childhoods as so free when they are older. I hope so.