Sunday, 16 January 2022


The house with the lit-up windows and dark door was mine

I was in a local chip shop one night around a year or so ago, waiting on a fish being freshly fried, and the woman who served me lived in the very same neighbourhood that my family moved to from Glasgow back in 1960.  She'd been there since 1959 - 60 years, even though she's younger than me, and only just flitted to a nearby flat last November.  My family stayed in our house for about 4 years, before moving down the road to another street, and then we moved to another neighbourhood around 15 months later.  The assistant and me fell to mentioning a few names that used to live in 'our' street, and there's a couple who still inhabit the same house as they did back then, though their kids flew the nest years ago.

That set me thinking to what it must be like for grown up children to visit the family home where they grew up and from which their parents have never moved, and it made me a little envious.  It must surely be like revisiting the past, seeing familiar ornaments and pictures, etc.  My history in my current house only goes back 47 years (but seems nowhere near as long as that), and I began to wonder (as I've done before) what it would've been like had we never flitted in 1964 and I was yet living in that first house instead of my present one.  My pre-teenage childhood is spread over three houses, but what would it have been like if it had only ever been one?

Would my perceptions be different because every toy and comic I ever bought growing up would be associated with one house and neighbourhood as opposed to three?  (And same goes for TV programmes.)  As I've said before in another post, it somehow seems that I had three childhoods instead of just one, and though I'd be loath to have to relinquish that feeling (and the memories of the accompanying experiences, as well as friends I might never have met), the idea of one single childhood appeals to me in some indefinable way.

Is it because that, as a mere five year-old child, I thought I'd live in that first house forever (which, in my youthful ignorance, is what I unconsciously assumed) and resented being prematurely plucked from it?  Could it be a desire to finally fulfil a then-unfolding fate that was denied to me by moving, or is it something else entirely?  Is it because I want to again set my step upon 'the road not taken' due to detours in other directions cropping up along the way and leading me off-track? Did my life unfold the way it was intended to (for those who believe in predestination), or was it flung to the winds, to fall where it will?

Who can say?  Not me, as I have difficulty even articulating my nebulous thoughts in a precise way, but hopefully I've managed to convey at least a sense of what I was aiming at.  Got any thoughts on the matter, fellow Mellows?  Ever wonder how your life might've turned out had you never moved elsewhere as a kid, or changed schools, or this or that had never happened - or something else had?  Express yourselves in the comments section.


Incidentally, the assistant told me her family had moved into the house when she was only around 3 months old, the scheme having been only recently completed, so it's likely that my family were also the first tenants in our house.  It gives me a good feeling to know that we were the first family to live in what was our first house in a New Town, having lived in a tenement in Glasgow's West End prior to that, and I feel even more 'connected' to the house than previously.  Every other house - bar the one we lived in from 1983-'87, where we were also the first residents - we were the second family to live there.  (Not that I feel they were any less 'mine' for that.)

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