a garden of childhood


Daughter gave me a book full of writing prompts. So sweet. She does most of her shopping online these days while she’s home, near the bathroom, waiting out the dreaded UC and hoping for remission. When the boxes arrive she gets all excited. Opened one yesterday and with so much joy said ‘oh I bought this one for you mum’.

I open it randomly and think about the suggestions. One said to think about the trees in your childhood neighbourhood. That just set me off thinking about our backyard.


That wonderful proud, tall gum bang in the middle of the yard. Jacaranda down by the incinerator. The paddock full of gums all planted by my father. Crepe myrtle up near the Salters’ fence – interesting texture. And what was that one next to the laundry that I climbed? All those other magnificent ones in the front yard, screening the highway from my bedroom. Hear the trucks roll by all night but don’t inhale the fumes.

My father was the champion of trees.

Remember the coal chute of childhood, down the path at the side of the house leading to the laundry and tack room. The path lined with geraniums in old school terracotta pots. Wally the strange garden statue – strange that my parents would have a statue. The chalkboard in the garage, ping pong table on the front verandah – amazing childhood, amazing garden.

Frogs in the back loo. Smoking behind the pool equipment room. So grown up. So Not.

Teenage evenings by the pool enjoying Tim in his speedos, loving his every word, glance, smile. The scent of jasmine, the sound of cicadas..

And then really growing up.




24 thoughts on “a garden of childhood

  1. This got me straight in the heart.

  2. You took me with you, Annie. Thank you! xoxoM

  3. This memoir captivated me and held me breathless in its arms. Thanks.

  4. Very well written, Annie. Trees. 🙂

  5. Paradise revisited, thank you 🙂

  6. Beautiful piece–so vivid I felt like I was there. I have fond memories of several trees in my life as well.

  7. ahh-h you paint a beautiful picture!

  8. This was beautiful! You are such a beautiful, descriptive writer!

  9. What a great prompt, and you answered it so well. I’m sitting here with a big smile at your ending. We spent so many afternoons sitting high in the trees and chatting – brothers, sister, and a neighbor kid or two. Our ping-pong table was in the basement, and we had tournaments with the entire family. I never had a guy in a speedo to watch. 😉

  10. It appears that the book of prompts worked. 😉

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