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
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.