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Old 23.09.2011, 14:56
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Magical Garden Memories

Forgive the late intro; file under "The boy that used to dream".




You could always tell if it was going to be nice day by the number of yachts on the Zürisee. Trips to Aunt Lissie were kind of special. It’s not that she had earned any real status in my child’s mind, nor was it the abundance of cake and copious amounts of coffee that kept the adults sat at the table. It wasn’t the free range tortoises munching their way through the vegetable patch enhancing their green safari. The house was average, with a big garden, smells of burnt sugar as old Auntie boiled homegrown fruit to make preserve; raspberries, strawberries and apricots.

No, the attraction of visits to Aunt Lissie were beyond her house, beyond the tortoises and just behind the orchard trees. There was a wall, maybe some 15 feet long; orchard on one side and the attraction on the other. And it was the wall that kept my attention for hours, literally hours at a time throughout the long summer days.

Thalwil, ZH was a major railway town. It was here that the trains outbound from Zürich HB split for central Switzerland or continued towards Chur. The twin tracks ran not ten feet behind the wall where I chose to dream away my hours. The locomotives were still painted their dark green back then, the new Re 4/4s still looking modern and futuristic compared to the “Krokodil” variants that were still pulling Regional coaches up and down the left hand side of the Lake of Zürich. Long freight trains all the way from Chiasso pulled by the Ae 6/6 seemed to go on forever, what seemed like a snake of brown freight wagons and silo-like grain trucks starting or ending their Alpine journeys. On the warm days, the passenger coaches had their windows down and parties of school children waved back at the young boy sitting attentive on the low wall by the cherry tree. Excited by the occasional cream and red colored TEE trains, I dreamt of distant destinations, way beyond the lake, way beyond Ziegelbrücke, the end of my known universe.

And when the headlamps of the approaching Regionalzug illuminated from the gloom of dusk, it was time to collect the bottle of "Syrup" and mineral water and head back to the boredom of the real world, away from my life sized model railway.

Aunt Lissie died decades ago, the property was pulled down and redeveloped, the garden torn up by a compulsory purchase order and the rails went underground in the Zimmerberg tunnel. The wall and the memories are in the past, but the spirit remains when I somehow still get a thrill of seeing an Re 4/4 by itself, with no coaches, speeding alone down a stretch of railroad with the backdrop of lush green fields and orchard trees.
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Old 23.09.2011, 15:00
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

*smile*
thanks,
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Old 23.09.2011, 15:02
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

You ought to be living where I do... railway line immediately below my balcony, 7 passenger trains per hour in each direction, plus a couple of TGVs per day and countless freight trains. A Trenitalia passenger train went past the other day, I have no idea what that was doing here.

It s indeed like having a giant train set... just a bit noisier though
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Old 23.09.2011, 15:06
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

Amazing how a child's mind can memorize so many details, and how an adult's mind can be so quickly triggered by sight, sound, or scent to remember those details, even despite stress, chaos, etc.! It is such a gift to us humans, don't you think?

Thank you so much for sharing!
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Old 23.09.2011, 15:07
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

Thanks Assassin, I really enjoyed reading that.
Will your autobiography be published in time for Christmas?
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Old 23.09.2011, 18:55
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

Bicycles…. Bicycles on a sunny day…. end of Summer.. two, three friends or just the neighborhood kids… we’d take off laughing across the country side’s paths and meadows until we’d reach a large oak tree in the middle of the farmer’s field.
We’d lie on our backs, nose in the clouds guessing shapes, looking for snails and four-leaf clovers and sharing all the things we wanted to be when we grew up.

There was a wood that hid the ruins of a medieval tower near-by and we’d wonder out loud if there were treasures buried amongst the leaves. I just wanted to return many tomorrows from then as an archeologist. Didn’t take much to set our imagination alight with dungeons and secret passages and knights and damsels and… and… fairytales to fill in all the spaces the ruins had left behind.
We’d visit the local farmer to feed the chickens and cuddle kittens in the barn, and then scoot off for a giggling session of “ring the doorbell” and run down our street till we got properly told off.

Rascals, we were, a tomboy I was. Frog searching, collecting conkers, following ants, building forts and tree-houses, dares and double dares….
Everything was to be discovered, and we’d forget the time, for time was ours and so was the world and all was fresh for we were young and new to life.

In my mind,the sun is always shining….

Perhaps it never rained back then.. perhaps
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Last edited by Sky; 23.09.2011 at 19:10.
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Old 23.09.2011, 23:53
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

Who's next ? who is willing to share their childhood thoughts and memories ?
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Old 24.09.2011, 09:10
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

My childhood in the Communist times in Poland of the 70s and 80s was a very happy one. It’s a strange paradox: I have a loving memory of the coarse reality, I have fond memories of the grey and drab socialist architecture that surrounded us and the propaganda that we were fed on TV. I was blissfully ignorant of the political struggle, the empty shops, the long queues for everything. I know now that my father had to queue at nights to get our everyday supplies. I was so oblivious of how much effort it cost him to put food on the table that I even turned my nose at the sight of some foods like some primadonna. I am ashamed of that now. I particulary remember getting food packets from relatives abroad, usually from the UK. Mars bars, Cadbury chocolate and bananas… These were my glimpses into another reality, much more colourful, fairy-tale almost. All we had was compound chocolate in grey wrappers. Oh, and milky ice-cream and puffed colourful sweet rice.

Those were happy times: we played outside a lot: jump rope, hide-and-seek, blind man’s buff, Chinese whispers and I was the queen of hopscotch. Children’s street culture was huge: everyone had a nickname and there was a clear pecking order. All the children ran home at 7 to see a cartoon in black and white, which lasted ten minutes. Teddy Floppy-Ear was my favourite. I buried myself in masses of children’s books: my mum remembers that she had to call me a good few times before I heard her, engrossed in a book, oblivious to everything.

Millions of people grew up during the regime. We will always idealize the past, no matter what the grim truth was and how grey our magical garden was...

Here’s Miś Uszatek (Teddy Floppy-Ear):
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Old 24.09.2011, 13:47
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

what a sweet childhood memories
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Old 28.09.2011, 20:25
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

Wow! Cool thread! There are really some intriguing people on EF! I would have a really hard time trying to recall what it was like as a child (my memory is, sadly, not one of my strongest suits!), but as I was reading about childhood memories, it got me thinking about a game we used to play growing up. So I think I'll share.

When we were young, my Dad built us a couple of really awesome forts in our backyard with a swinging rope bridge in between, and platforms and slides all over the place. The other kids in the neighbourhood used to flock to our backyard to join in on the excitement. We made up tons of games back then (we had a lot of brainstorming power! :P), but our favourite was always a game called Siege. We would have played it day and night if our parents would have let us!!

It was kind of like a hybrid between capture the flag and fencing. Each player had an old ski-pole without the little "baskets" on the ends to use as a sword. Each of us was also equipped with a tennis racket for a shield and an ample supply of bombs (originally golf balls, but the Canadian Siege Federation {a.k.a. Mom :P} changed the ruling on that one, and tennis balls were adopted haha). Death was dealt by tapping an opponents leg with the sword, or by explosion of a tennis ball bomb coming into contact with the body. It was so much fun!! We would usually play until dark or until someone ran inside with a massive wound on their forehead.. :P Lot's of variations and modifications (water balloons/guns, dungeons, etc.) or themes (Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood, Peter Pan etc.)
Hard to not miss those carefree days!!

Oh!, I guess I could quickly grab a picture of our backyard wonderland...

Here it is, in all it's glory,
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Old 28.09.2011, 20:44
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

a big thanks to all GOOD DADS in the world (don't they deserve it sometimes, too?)
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Old 28.09.2011, 21:11
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Re: Magical Garden Memories

I think the thing I remember most was the innocence of childhood. Summers seemed hotter, and during the long sumer school holiday, we would go to the local park everyday and play on the swings and roundabouts. There was never any fear of allowing a child out alone to play. Just before noon, we would all go home for dinner (it was never called lunch), and then in the afternoon we would return to the park, returning around 6 o'clock for tea - jam sandwiches! We would fall into bed, tired but happy. I recall that neighbours would leave their door key in the latch, so anybody could pop in for a "nice cup of tea" if they wanted to, no prior appointment necessary! Money was in short supply, but I remember this as being one of the happiest times of my life.
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