I’m not sure this happens to others in my age group, but suspect it might. I’m in my 79th year and find my mind often travels back to the past. To my childhood and those mixed memories of what might have been different. Of the days in Belfast, going to the cinema at least once a week. Selling the Belfast Telegraph on Saturday nights. Afterwards eating fish and chips with the money I earned selling the papers. The importance of going dancing, the most reliable way to meet girls. Spending hours grooming before the mirror, hair slicked back with brylcreem, clean white shirt and colourful tie. Making sure the Windsor knot in the tie was just right. However, before going to dances I had to learn how to dance. Once a week I attended a school of dancing, my aim was to learn the waltz, quickstep and foxtrot, wasn’t too worried about the tango or the more difficult steps. The three basic ones would get me around the floor with a girl. Indeed it was the only dance steps most of the boys my age knew, girls too. I remember the great excitement when the band announced the next dance would be lady’s choice. Sitting trying to look nonchalant while hopefully awaiting a pretty girl to approach and ask me to dance. Or my destroyed confidence when no one ask me, which happened more often that not. On those happy successful nights when I hit it off with a girl, and she allowed me to walk her home. Sometimes, a kiss and a cuddle at the end of the street where she lived. We never walked all the way to the girls front door, the fear her father might see us. On a few occasions after leaving a girl home who lived at the opposite side of the city. I had the long walk home, it was either too late and the buses had stopped running, or I didn’t have enough money for bus fare. But who cared! tomorrow was Sunday and I could sleep in. Sunday too, was a special day or perhaps I should say evening. Many girls attended the evening church services after which usually in pairs they’d walk up the Crumlin Road. Of course, we boys, also in pairs walked the same roads, usually with a couple of girls we knew in our sights. Grand times indeed, but just a long ago memory now. Nevertheless they are good memories that I enjoy thinking about. Unfortunately, not all of my childhood memories were happy ones. I will perhaps write more on this subject in a later blog.
God Bless and keep reading