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Monday, February 11, 2013

Am I Walking In My Childhood?

The Norwegians have a saying about a person who’s getting a bit senile. They say ”Han går i barndommen”, which means “he walks in his childhood”.  In Norwegian this has the meaning that the person we are talking about is not in possession of all his adult senses anymore. Translating stuff like that is tricky. The intended meaning of it can go lost. Same thing goes for jokes. Rarely, if ever, you can translate a joke. Either because local knowledge is essential to understand it (F.ex. political jokes) or because it is based on a saying or expression.

So when I choose this headline I’m not saying that it is time for me to take up residence in a nursing home.


I rather thought of my many memories from my happy childhood in Germany, which formed my customs and habits and my life agenda.

Habits? Sure, we all got habits, some good ones and some…well not so good ones. One of those good “habits” is to take in food after a regular daily schedule. I was never a guy who could be satisfied with just coffee in the morning. I always needed a full breakfast. And we always sat down around the table to eat. There was no “on-the run” food.
We also ate our main meal at noon and not during some late hour at night or, worse, …in the afternoon. The afternoon held coffee and some pastries for us. And then at 6.30pm we had our evening meal: Dark rye bread sandwiches, with either tea or a glass of milk. And that was the last meal of the day.
Even though the contents of these meals have changed (we now eat lunch at 12.00 noon) the times have not.

Every day when I came from school, mom had our supper waiting for us. That was at 1.15pm as our school day was over at 1pm. My school route was really short. After supper we did our homework. First after that was done we were allowed to go outside and play. We went to school 6 days a week.

We played outside when the weather was good. We did NOT hang out in front of any TV. TV-channels had not yet discovered the kids “market”. Kids TV did not start before 5pm. And hey – it was over one hour later. TV watching did not happen in the summer. First when the winds of fall got too strong and the days were getting shorter we some times “stole” an hour in front of the black/white TV, dad had purchased.

So where did we play? And what did we play with? We played mostly in area’s where no houses were build like in nearby woods and wastelands. We rode our bicycles and were together with kids from the neighbors.  We mostly did that every day…and were never bored. We were outside during the winter too, when the sun was shining. We came home cold and tired and loved it. I had good days out there, and not a problem in the whole world.

Nobody worked on a Sunday. Dad was home, maybe he had a little project in his cellar (he liked to make wine of berries) or he was just building our first travel trailer. Mom often played the Grand Piano on a Sunday. She was pretty good at that.

But I had also “chores”. When big enough I helped mom in the kitchen. I remember I dried the dishes. It was a great time to have a conversation going with mom. I also mowed the lawn for granny…and raked leaves. Grandma and Grandpa lived in the same house. We were all together. So I took a broom and swept the yard. I picked apples and weeded flower beds. I loved that. Grandma rewarded me with my own little garden. I learned where berries and potatoes were coming from. I had them in my own

When Grandpa got in his black VW-bug to visit a customer I asked permission to come along. There was nothing better than being on a car ride with him. Later, it led to working with my dad who took over after Grandpa was retired.

Of course I did some mischief as well. But mercifully, except for the worst episodes, I have forgotten most of it.

And that’s what I mean by “walking in my childhood”. It comes with the age. When we are still young we don’t think of our childhood. There is too much else we are busy with.

Thanks for walking along!


  1. So many good memories of my childhood too. So much fun to go back and relive them on occasion.

  2. I had good childhood memories. It's nice to take a moment and think back at times. It was a great time and it certainly makes you realize how much you miss those who are no longer here with us. Enjoy your time now because as we get older some of our now memories may fade with us. Oh oh ... don't want that.

  3. Just this morning, we were talking about bowling alleys with pin boys! That's an old memory.

    Doesn't sound like your childhood was much different than our except of the eating times.

  4. I, too, had a wonderful childhood filled with lots of playing outdoor times. Thanks for the memories.

  5. Thanks for sharing that great story. I really enjoyed it.

  6. Thought that was a good reflective post Peter....

  7. I really enjoyed reading the memories of your childhood. Thanks for sharing them with us.


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