Monday, 22 February 2016

Headfull of hometown...

As I get older I become more addicted to the past, my past that is. Perhaps it’s because I have more days behind me than in front of me so there’s more to consider or maybe it’s just the ‘Good Old Days’ effect.

I’ve recently joined a closed group on Facebook, nothing dodgy or even swinging. It’s just a group that mumbles on about the town that they once lived or still live in, a nostalgia group sharing memories about the town where I was born, Thame in Oxfordshire.

It’s wonderful to see the pictures of the place that I lived in until I was eighteen and then moved out of to seek my fortune; wonderful and at times a little saddening. I am a man full of retrospective regrets. Of course, at the time I didn’t regret leaving, but then I didn’t really understand that Thame was a very special place in a special time and that the rest of the world wasn’t as special as the little market town I left. Of course the Thame I lived in is long gone now. The shops I wander around in my mind are shut, the open spaces of my early years are now housing estates, many of the people I know so well in my head are changed or unfortunately no more.

It must be that way for everyone that moves away from their hometowns never to return. Those in their nineties are living in a childhood memory town where there are very few cars, horse drawn milk carts, no McDonalds, man-made fibres don’t exist, and spaghetti hoops aren’t even a food. My 'in my mind' hometown has more pubs than you can shake a stick at, almost no restaurants or takeaways, a sweet shop on every street, and enough eccentrics to fill an asylum. Sometimes I wonder what and who I would be if I’d stuck around and lived my whole life there. Of course I’ll never know, but I find myself drawn back to it in my mind more and more.

They say that the past is a dangerous place to live, but I’m really enjoying wandering around my childhood home even if I am surprised sometimes by what has gone and what I didn’t even notice in the first place. For years I walked down Moorhen Lane to walk in the countryside only to find out a few weeks ago that it was called Moorend Lane not Moor Hen at all. Much of that that countryside is now houses. I know because sometimes I go for Google Earth walks in Thame and, whilst much of what I remember is still there, I can hardly recognise some of it, even the house where I was born on Wellington Street.

I guess that I can count myself lucky to have been brought up in such a lovely place and my Thame is even lovelier because I can leave out the people and places I really don’t want to remember. They have no place in my Thame or my good old days.

1 comment:

  1. Sharon Taylor
    you are not alone Andrew Height, I am a member of both the local group to where I live now and to the one where I grew up, I love the local history and especially the photos, as well as learning titbits from other people on the page. Hmm and I guess it must have something to do with getting older, but in a good way, taking more interest and finding out new things can't be bad?

    Andrew Height
    Depends what you find out and about whom Sharron.

    Tim Preston
    There always seems to be an underlying sadness to your posts these days - what's fundamentally up chuck? Personally I don't want to live in my past because it was so horrific for me. My life was ruled by varying amounts of fear and feeling that I could...See more
    Tim Preston's photo.

    Andrew Height
    It's just me working through stuff Tim. No big deal, I'll get there someday.

    Tim Preston
    So long as you're working through it and you're not lost that's OK

    Tim Preston
    Kenneth Moore didn't go with me. He was in the film

    Lindsey Messenger
    It still is a lovely town to live , even with all the changes. X

    Andrew Height
    Last time I was there (about 8 years ago passing through on my way to Reading) I could see that, but it was so much more built up and glossy than I remember. It looks really lovely but very manicured. Mind you I live in t'North in a dark satanic mill.

    Pete Wright
    Yes, completely agree Lindsey, always feels like I'm going home when I visit Thame. x

    Andrew Height
    I've live in a few places Pete, in the UK and for a while in the US. I thought I'd lost that sense of home, but it appears not.

    Kathryn Taylor
    Salthouse Thame is a beautiful place x

    Andrew Height
    Yes Kath, it is. I was lucky to spend all of my childhood and teens there. I'm thinking of writing it all down.