GROWING UP IN AUSTRALIA Remember when ....... I'm talking about hide and seek in the park. The corner milk bar, hopscotch, billy carts, cricket in front of the garbage bin and inviting everyone on your street to join in, Skipping, handball, handstands, elastics, bullrush, kiss chasey, rounders, footy on the best lawn in the street, slip'n'slide, the trampoline with water on it, garden sprinklers, best friend's pool, hula hoops, stepping in puddles, mud pies and building dams in the gutter. The smell of the sun and fresh cut grass. 'Big bubbles no troubles' with Hubba Bubba bubble gum. A choc-top, barney banana, Mr Whippy cone on a warm summer night after you've chased him round the block. 20 cents worth of mixed lollies lasted a week and pretending to smoke "fags" (the lollies) was really cool & Maison would get you pissed! Or so we were told. A dollars' worth of chips from the corner take-away fed two people (AND the sauce was free!!). Being upset when you botched putting on the temporary tattoo from the bubblegum packet, but still wearing it proudly. Snap and crackle bars, mates, milk bottles, strawberries and cream, big boss cigars... Watching Saturday morning cartoons: 'The Smurfs', 'AstroBoy', 'He-Man', 'Captain Caveman', 'Archie', 'Jem' (truly outrageous!!), 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Banana Man' and 'Heeeey heeeeey heeeeeeey it's faaaaaaat Albert'. Or staying up late and sneaking a look at the "AO" on the second telly. When 'Monkey Magic' with fish face & pigsy had a cult following. Miraculous Mellops. & who could ever forget Degrassi Jnr High? When around the corner seemed a long way, and going into town seemed like going somewhere. Where running away meant you did laps of the block because you weren't allowed to cross the road?? A million mozzie bites, wasp and bee stings. Sticky fingers, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, riding bikes and catching tadpoles, drawing all over the road and driveway with chalk. Climbing trees and building cubbies out of every sheet your mum had in the cupboard. Walking to school, no matter what the weather. When writing 'I love ...?..' on your pencil case, really did mean it was true love. "he loves me? He loves me not?" Running till you were out of breath. Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt. Pitching the tent in the back/front yard. Jumping on the bed. Ghosts stories with the next door neighbours. Pillowfights, spinning round, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for the giggles. The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon. Spokey dokey's were the coolest bike accessory. Eating raw jelly, making homemade lemonade and sucking on a Funny Face, Paddle Pop or red Icy Pole. Remember when there were only two types of sneakers - girls and boys. Dunlop volleys with the green 'n' gold or blue and the only time you wore them at school was for "sports day." Bloomers in primary school & Scungies under netball skirts. You knew everyone in your street and so did your parents! It wasn't odd to have two or three "best friends" & you would ask them by sending a note asking them to be your best friend. You didn't sleep a wink on Christmas eve and pretended to sleep for the tooth fairy. When nobody owned a pure-bred dog. When 50c was decent pocket money. When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for 10c. When nearly everyone's mum was there when the kids got home from school. It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb. When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at the local Chinese restaurant with your family. When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed her or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it. When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically, we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! Some of us are still afraid of them!!! Remember when decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" or dib dib's-scissors, paper, rock. "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly". Terrorism was when the older kids were at the end of your street with pea-shooters waiting to ambush you. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was boy/girl germs, and the worst thing in your day was having to sit next to one. Where bluelight disco's were the equivilent to a Rave, and asking a boy out meant writing a 'polite' note getting them to tick 'yes' or 'no'. When there was always that one 'HOT' guy/girl. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot. Your biggest danger at school was accidentally walking through the middle of a heated game of "brandies". Nobody was prettier than your Mum. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant scoffing orange-flavoured chewable vitamin C's, or swallowing half a Panadol. Ice cream was considered a basic food group. Going to the beach and catching a wave was a dream come true. If you actually lived there boogie boarding in the white wash made you the next Kelly Slater. Abilities were discovered because of a 'double-dare". Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.