We were lining up
for school dinner.

Fay was in
front of me.

Can you go
to the cinema
on Saturday morning?
I said.

Don't know
have to see what
Daddy says
she said
he doesn't like me
going to the cinema
he says it is sinful
stuff shown.

I frowned
and looked at her.

It's only films
I said
kid’s stuff.

I’ll ask him
she said.

After we got
out dinners
we sat
at the same table.

What is sinful
about going
to the pictures?
I asked.

Daddy says
that sometimes
the films show
a wrong side of life
and is against
our Catholic faith.

I go nearly
every week
twice some Saturdays
if my old man
takes me
I said.

Doesn't your father worry
about it being sinful?
she said.

Don't think he does
I said
least he's not said
anything about sin
only who is in it
and if it's any good
I said.

We ate our dinner
I looked
at her blue eyes
and blonde hair
drawn into a ponytail.

Ask him
if you can
I said
it is only
films for kids.

I will
she said.

But I felt
she was reluctant
and would probably wait
until her old man
was away on one
of his religious retreats
or off away on business.  

After dinner
we went into
the playground
she to play skip rope
with other girls
and I with Denis
to play cards.

Denis lost
and I had most
of his cards
which made him moody
but all is fair
in cards and war.

He walked off
and swore.

KIDS IN LONDON IN 1959

Lydia and I
were sitting on the grass
at the side
of Banks House.

We were
playing Snap.

She was wearing
an old dress
which had seen
better days
and grey socks
which were
once white.

A big row
this morning
she said.

What about?
I asked.

Well Dad
came home
late again last night
drunk and was singing
at the top of his voice
some Irish song
and Mum was not pleased.

Anyway it started again
this morning and ended
with Mum throwing
cups and saucers at him
and him ducking
trying to reason with her
but once she off on one
you can't reason with her
so I came out
Lydia said.

Sounds exciting
I said.

Well it wasn't
she said
don't your parents
ever row?

Now and then
I said.

SNAP
Lydia bellowed.

I looked
at the cards.

I wasn't looking
I said.

Well you should have been
she said.

We started again.

Will we row
like that?
she asked.

When?
I said.

If we get married
she said.

We're only 9 and 10  
I said
bit early to ask
that question.

She kept putting
her cards down quick.

But if we did?
she said.

Guess not
I said.

When in fact
it never entered
my boyhood head.

KIDS IN LONDON IN 1958

On our way through winding roads of trees
We have been driving for hours
On our way to sequoia
But we are used to this now
On this trip along the west coast
Driving hours in a day to stop and camp
We see a little sign for Hume lake off to the right
It is an area of big buildings
Adorned with crosses and Jesus’ name
A Christian church camp
We park and step out
Walking across the way
To a small little food shack
Waiting in line among a dozen construction workers
Grateful for their presence
We order two burgers
The only thing on the menu
I take the tray making my way through the maze of workers to step out the doors
We sit at a table with a view of the lake
His brother is a new father
To a baby girl
Lucilla
We sit
Talking about children
What we would name our kids
generic
Or unique
Meaning
Or none
And At what level
We agree the name has to work in both languages
Both of us talking between bites
I tell him I liked having a unique name
Reflecting on how I got to be the only Isabella in a sea of Mollys in grade school
He tells me he liked having a common name
He tells me how his family celebrated the simple names for the three sons
We ponder these two view points
Wrinkled foreheads
As I reach to grab a drink
And a few fries
It seems overwhelming
All of the possibilities
We let names roll off our tongues
Letting them sit in the air
Imagining calling Elena or Juliana in for dinner
Does it feel right?
I close my eyes in the sun and picture a little girl
Bright eyed
With his hair
my lips
Is she a Camila?
Julieta?
What will she be like?
How will her laugh sound?
Will she inherit my jokes?
The sun feels warmer than usual.
Here sitting in front of a deep blue lake
Pine tree reflections
Thinking about names for our children

I took Enid behind
the ABC cinema
on the New Kent Road
(on an adventure
trip of mine).

It was dimly lit.

We passed
the side doors
of the cinema
which were
usually locked
from the inside
but sometimes
were open.

You could get in
for free if you were
careful and quiet.

A rat rushed past
Enid screamed
it disappeared
ahead of us.

She grabbed
my arm
a rat!
she said.

Yes I often
see them
down here
in the evenings.

A woman
in a short dress
was standing
against a wall
ahead of us
beneath a light
from a wall.

Who's she?
Enid said.

Don't know
my old man says
prostitutes
are up here
so maybe she's
one of them.

What's a prostitute?
Enid asked.

Don't know
but my old man said
they men happy
so maybe they're
kind of church women
I said.

Maybe
Enid said
should we say
hello to her?

Best not
I said
my mum said
not to speak to people
you don't know.

Enid nodded
O yes
I think my mum
said that.

Another sleeky animal
went past us

Another rat?
Enid said quietly.

No
I said gently
a cat.

KIDS IN LONDON 1957

The  ice-cream van
drew up
in the Square.

Kids stood
in a queue
to buy an
ice cream or lolly
depending
how much money
they had as to what
they bought.

Once the kids
or adult
had gone
he pulled down
the window
got in front
and started up
the van.

It was then
that us kids
held on
at the sides
out of sight
and held on
as long as
we could
before he
went too fast
or too far
then jump off
at the last minute
on to the tarmac
travelling along
trying to stand up
and not fall down.

Why do you do it?
Janice said
you might
hurt yourself.

Some kids
fell over
I managed
to stand
on my feet.

It's a bit of fun
I said.

But you might
have fallen
underneath
she said.

No way
he's going away
from us
when we jump off
I said
want a cool cola
from the 1d shop?

Ok
she said.

So we walked on
up through the Square
and across
Rockingham Street
and along
to the 1d shop.

It was hot work
hanging on
to the side
of the van
of the ice cream man.

KIDS IN LONDON 1956
Jobira 5d

My sons wanted to touch
The nebula in the galaxy.
So I bought them a telescope.

After they soaked up the stardust,
I witnessed how much their imaginations
Lit up like the sun rays, and by then
Only five minutes were gone by.

On the next ticking minutes,
They broke the telescope into pieces
And frowned in disappointment
For they couldn't find
The treasures hidden in the far planet.

They asked me, “Can we get another telescope?”

I asked them why they broke this one?
They laughed so innocently, together and said,
“We were trying to take Pluto out and hold it.”

I laughed with these clowns. But
Traveled deep into space and saw
What their beautiful imaginations
Saw and painted vividly!

I told them that the next telescope is
In its way for delivery with
“Prime Time.”

Their darkened face shined
like Christmas light
And their imagination began
to run wild again.

Kids break many things in life, until they grow and understand life.

No matter what they break in the process or how long it takes for them to reach that stage, our job is to never break their imaginations.

Helen fell over
in the park
and cut her hand.

I took her
to the first aid lady
in the little hut
at the park entrance.

How did
you do it?

I feel off
the swing.

She dab the cut
with yellow stinky stuff.

Helen winced
screwed up
her face.

Who is he ?
She said
looking at me.

He's my friend Benny
Helen said.

Didn't push her off
I suppose?

No he didn't
Helen said
I fell.

Why would I
push her off?
she's my friend
I said.

You never know
what kids'll do
around here
the woman said
gazing at me sternly.

After dabbing
the cut clean
she wrapped
a bandaged
around it
and stuck it down
with pink plaster.

That should
keep it clean
best show
your mother
when you get home
the woman said
now shoo
I have other things
to do.

We walked
out the hut.

Helen looking at
her bandaged hand.

Shall we go
home now?
she said.

Sure if you like
I said.

We walked out
the park
and along
Bath Terrace.

Helen said
Mrs Knight's new kitten
tried to escape
but it had crept
into Helen's parent's flat
and they took it back.

When we got
to Helen's flat
she showed her mother  
the bandaged hand
and explained
what happened.

Her mother said
good boy Benny
and gave me
a glass of lemonade
and a biscuit or two.

What else
was a 7 year old
boy to do?

KIDS IN LONDON IN 1955

Enid met me
on the bomb site
off Meadow Road.

I had two
of my six
shooter cap guns
in holsters
each side
of my waist
hanging from my
S belt.

I showed her
how to draw
the guns
and shoot straight
BANG BANG
I went.

She jumped
and stared shitless
at me.

Is it loaded?

No just caps
I said
twirling the guns
around my fingers
as I’d seen
the cowboys do
in the cowboy films.

I let them
into the two holsters.

Can I have a go?

I smiled at her
if you like.

I undid the gun belt
and handed it to her.

She did the belt
around her narrow waist
and straightened the guns.

What's the string for?
She said.

It's to keep
the holsters rising
when you go
for the guns
I said
shall I tie it
around your legs?

She nodded.

I knelt down
and tied
the two
pieces of string
around each
of her thighs.

She winced.

What's up?

Nothing
she said.

I tied it gently
and stood back.

I guessed
her old man
had belted her again
hence the pain.

Ready?
I said.

She nodded
and stood
with her hands
at her sides
her thin fingers
moved like spiders
as she waited to go
for the guns.

She seemed nervous
looking down
at her hands.

Each gun
is capped
I said.

She went for guns
and drew quick
and shot
BANG BANG.

I was zapped.

KIDS IN LONDON IN 1957
Daisy Rae Jul 14

lucky are the kids whose parents
are still together...lucky...

don't take for granted what you have
Daisy Rae Jul 13

a perfect day is waking up before 9 o'clock
seeing my husband sleeping next to me with his mouth slightly open
making myself a cup of coffee, or two
waking up my perfect little angels
making breakfast for my sleepy-head husband and little ones
getting my kids dressed and ready for the day
spending the day at the park
teaching my kids how to tie their shoes, ride their bikes, and read books
giving mommy kisses on their boo boos to make it all better
laying my head on my husbands shoulder as we watch our beautiful children that we made
having a picnic with my family of six, or seven
painting a white canvas with vibrant colors
planting flowers around the house
picking vegetables from our garden
putting flowers in my girls hair
wiping dirt off my boys hands
kissing my husband when the kids aren't looking
listening to up-beat music as I take a walk
watching a tv show with my family as we munch on popcorn
read stories to my youngin's as they fall asleep
talk with the love of my life for hours until we start yawning
hold him until we fall asleep
dream about how perfect my day was
and how I want more of these kind of days.

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