life · reading

Childhood

Children, in all of the books I loved and read countless times when I was a child, had two things in common. First – their own space. Second – a kind of a club or a fellowship…

Pippi was always a category of her own, of course – having a villa all to herself at all times (which was not that desirable at that age, I suppose, but still fun to think about). The rest of the heroes had what always attracted me: the possibility of living in their own worlds for at least a couple of hours a day – not only in their heads but in an actual place to which the access was, more or less, restricted… Jovanče and his friends (Eagles Fly Early) had a camp (and a cave!) in the woods, Boka and company (Paul Street Boys) had a forgotten construction site to play at, Pero and his friends (Pero Kvžica’s Gang) had the mill… It is true that all of them (except for Pippi, of course) lose their playgrounds in the end, but it is hardly the point.

The point is that they had it. They had a place where they could be on their own, where they could act by their own rules, a place they could shape as they wanted. This was very important.

I shared a room with my younger sister, but I would be telling a lie if I would say that the room was really ours – we were barely allowed to stick our drawings on the wall let alone re-imagine it as we wished… Not to mention that parents were able to find us in there any time they wanted to…

I tried ‘having’ some corners in the house but, as one can imagine, they were all too exposed. I longed for a tree house – that would’ve been perfect… I wished for an attic, like Joe (Little Women) had, but ours was dirty, full of roofing tile, tin sheet, timber, varnish, whitewash and whatnot, so there was no way of using it for my purposes… I remember I even tried making a large fridge carton box my second home.

What I also lacked was a group, a fellowship… My younger sister had zero interest in (almost) everything that interested me. Nevertheless, I never stopped struggling to get her into it all. (We still laugh about how I, trying and constantly failing to persuade her to read Eagles Fly Early, started reading it to her one night and she fell asleep.)…

I was eager to go investigating the front yard, as Pippi did, wanted to build a hut somewhere in the back yard – inspired by Jovanče and his classmates, and, more than any other thing in the whole wide world, I wanted to have a secret society, one just like the ‘Pickwick Club’ in Little Women… There was no one to have it with (the youngest sister was still a bit too young, although pretty enthusiastic), so I tried having it by myself. It wasn’t the same, of course… I started a newspaper. My sisters were also enjoying reading (some of) it, looking at the pictures, but felt no desire to really contribute. And I did not want to read my texts only, to only admire the drawings I made. I wanted to learn, to get something new, from someone else. Being the sole editor, author and artist soon became pointless and my newspaper shut after its third issue.

I still long for both my own space and the secret society.

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7 thoughts on “Childhood

  1. If you are going to look for space and fellowship, then you also need a boat, and an island or castle or preferably both. I love that books were so freeing to young minds, it was different in those other days where kids could go places safely.

    I too share your dreams and would love to join you in adventures, but I fear for now we must stick to the literary kind.

    1. Hmm.. I am not very demanding when it comes to that. A nice forest is all I need. But, if we are going for perfection then yes – a boat, a castle and an island!..
      And a nice griffin or a dragon! :D
      Some day, maybe.. Who knows what can happen in this world of ours.. What will be possible in five or ten years from now..

  2. My, my, you really were quite an ‘entreprising’ kid, weren’t you? The large fridge carton box and the ‘one man show’ newspaper…. hahahaha :D
    I suppose you at least have the room to yourself now? I was also sharing room, first with my grandma and later on with my elder sister, while growing up. I only got to finally have a room to myself when we moved house just before I started working. So, even though my room is the smallest in the house and has a slanted roof like an attic, I just love it! Yes, to have a room of one’s own (one’s own personal space, no matter how big or small, or how far from one’s ideal) is still a luxury to be thankful for. :)
    As for secret societies, my friends and I did attempt at forming one when we were ten or eleven, during our primary school days. We called ourselves The SFS (The Secret Famous Six). What an oxymoron, eh? Wanting to be both ‘secret’ and ‘famous’ at the same time! :p It was probably our (unimaginative) way of combining both Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven, I guess. (hahahha…..) I don’t recall whatever secret activities we ever did except that we had a secret password that has to be spoken when asked, or something like that. :)
    The secret society did not survive, as you can guess, but the friendships did. ;)

    1. Yes, you should’ve seen all my ideas. Hahahh.
      I have the room and it’s heaven. And I like your attic room!
      The society sounds pretty hilarious :D What fun – The Secret Famous Six! What a name! But then, if the friendship survived then you still are a society but of other kind :)

      I don’t know if this idea of a secret (or not so secret) a society will ever cease to be highly appealing to me. Maybe I should just gather courage and suggest it again to some people. To think of something fun and engaging and step out with a proposition..

      1. Yeah, why not? :) You probably won’t be short of ideas, seeing how ‘illustrious’ your past records were from young. :p (hahaha….)
        And what would you name your ‘secret or not so secret’ society, may I ask? :D

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