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When I Was Young

When I Was Young Blogging Tag

I found this 'geneameme' over at the Lonetester HQ genealogy blog. I just had to give it a whirl!

1. Do you (or your parents) have any memorabilia from when you were a baby? (ie. baby book, lock of hair, first shoes etc.)

My mum kept everything she could, uncaring of the fact we lived in a tiny house with no attic, garage or basement. Cards, baby stuff, schoolwork - all kinds of stuff. I try to remember how I didn't want it every time I'm tempted to keep everything of Marianna's. I mean, I enjoyed looking through the things she had kept but I didn't want to keep it. Hopefully saving the bulk of it digitally will be the best of both worlds.

2. Do you know if you were named after anyone?

I know that I wasn't. My mum just liked the name from the time she was in secondary school, and decided she would name her future daughter Jessica. She has often complained to me that it got really popular in 1987/88, and how annoyed she was that there were so many other Jessicas in my year at school.

3. And do you know of any other names your parents might have named you?

I think I was going to be Robert if I were a boy, but my mum was convinced I'd be a girl and didn't give it much thought. Rhys' name was more contentious, and if he was a girl he was going to be called Stacey.

4. What is your earliest memory? 

Watching a spider in the corner of the room when I was about two, and trying to be brave and not scream for someone to come and get it. That phobia runs deep.

Baby Me
My nan (mum's mum), mum, and me. (1988)

5. Did your parent/s (or older siblings) read, sing or tell stories to you? Do you remember any of these?

I was the eldest, but my mum was always reading, singing, etc to me. Even at a really early age I liked quiet play and learning, and my mum was really proud that I could read my name, count, and so on, by the time I turned three.

6. When you were young, do you remember what it was that you wanted to grow up to be? 

It changed all the time. At various points I wanted to be a teacher, an author, an illustrator, a journalist, a translator, a police officer, and probably dozens of other things.

7. Did you have a favourite teacher at school?

My history teacher. I had always liked history, but it soon became my favourite subject and I went on to study it at Cambridge which was a big thing for me. I was the first one in the family to go to university, so I was pleased I had managed to set the bar pretty high for all my younger cousins!

8. How did you get to school? 

I walked. For a few years I lived right next to the school and that was awesome, we didn't have to get up until the last minute. It was a shock to the system when I started secondary school and had a half hour walk every morning.

School Uniform
Me and Rhys on my first day at secondary school, 1999.

9. What games did playtime involve?

The usual - skipping, hand clap games, dancing, yo-yos, etc. My brother and I used to play dolls and armies too, which usually meant a war was on, or sometimes a natural disaster, and we'd get to choose which of the other toys were saved and which were going to die horrible, horrible deaths. Like, getting pecked to death by birds or starving to death on a life raft. These were probably the occasions when our mum and dad stuck their heads around the door and thought to themselves, aw, our children are so adorable, playing nicely together, not realising the dark realities at play.

10. Did you have a cubby house? 

No. We did use the shed as a playhouse for a bit, as I remember, and we had a series of spectacularly naff dens around the local neighbourhood.

11. What was something you remember from an early family holiday? 

My granddad winning a bunch of teddy bears from the crane machines for me, and then me insisting they share the bed with me and my brother. There were way too many and I was just like, well, he can sleep on the floor, it's no problem!

12. What is a memory from one of your childhood birthday’s or Christmas? 

New pyjamas at Christmas! It always made everything more special somehow.

Me and Rhys at Christmas
Me and Rhys, c. 1997.

13. What childhood injuries do you remember?

I remember falling off my bike and cutting all my knee open. That was probably the last time I rode a bike, come to think of it. I was about ten or so.

14. What was your first pet? 

Ariel, the goldfish. She went to that great toilet bowl in the sky.

15. Did your grandparents, or older relatives tell you stories of “when I was young ..?”

Of course, we got to hear all about the 'good old days'. ;)

16. What was entertainment when you were young?

Reading. I did so much reading as a kid, and then I'd write my own stories or act them out with my toys. I liked spending time alone, but I'd also go out and play with other kids. My dad would take us to historical sites - castles, ruins, churches - at the weekends before he got ill too, so I have lots of memories of searching these places for ghosts or 'artefacts' which would obviously just be left lying around for us to find, just like they were in my favourite kids' books.

out and about

17. Do you remember what it was it like when your family got a new fangled invention? (ie. telephone, TV, VCR, microwave, computer?)

I remember getting our first PC, and playing a demo disc of Worms over and over again.

18. Did your family have a TV? Was it b&w or colour? And how many channels did you get? 

We always had a TV - a big colour telly in the living room, and I had my mum's old black and white portable in my room when I was still pretty young. That one when in the dining room when we moved to the house we grew up in, and Rhys and I both had TVs in our bedrooms. We had Sky on the main TV, which was primarily used for Cartoon Network, but for the most part there were four channels - four and a half if you count S4C - and I remember watching the launch night for Channel 5 in 1997.

19. Did your family move house when you were young? Do you remember it? 

Yeah, a few times, but we moved for the last time when I was about 5 or 6. I remember changing schools, but I don't remember anything about the move itself.

20. Was your family involved in any natural disasters happening during your childhood (i.e. fire, flood, cyclone, earthquake, etc)?

Nope. Wales is a pretty safe part of the world in that respect.

me sat in the garden

21. Is there any particular music that when you hear it, sparks a childhood memory?

So many terrible pop songs take me right back to childhood birthday parties. Like Mr Blobby, the Macarena, and anything by Black Lace. I only just remembered this as I wrote that but, and this is so cringy, we used to have our own little parties with a portable tape player and a Black Lace cassette out in the street. There would be like 5 kids just dancing around to Black Lace for an hour.

22. What is something that an older family member taught you to do? 

My nan taught me to knit; I made some shockingly bad scarves for my teddy bears.

23. What are brands that you remember from when you were a kid?

They're mostly the same as they are now, though a few changed names. Jif became Cif, for example, and Opal Fruits are now Starburst.

24. Did you used to collect anything? (ie. rocks, shells, stickers … etc.)

I loved to collect stuff. Anything and everything, it was all fair game. I had collections of shells, thimbles, trolls, crystals, trading cards, Kinder Egg toys, coins, stamps, stickers, Tazos... Seriously, anything!

25. Share your favourite childhood memory.

Just chilled days at home playing. No pressure, no drama, just being a kid and enjoying it.

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