A big home. A large family. The backyard was home to cricket matches and an above-ground 12-foot diameter 3-foot deep pool with no filter (no fancy Creepy Crawly automatic filters back then). With a few friends you could run around the inside edge and make a brief whirlpool, or if someone pushed hard enough against the outside edge the pool would collapse and lose a whole lot of water.
Trees tall enough to build platforms in. Unsupervised access to all the tools and things in Dad’s shed. I once made a dodgy pinball machine out of an old wooden chair seat, pegs, nails, rubber bands and a marble.
On the black and white TV one show in particular held my attention. It was about a large family. I was eight years old and, became, yes, a bit obsessed with the show’s star.
There were two milk bars within 100 metres. The closer one sold little fan magazines of various popstars.
I’d like to say I saved up my pocket money but I borrowed – okay, stole – some money from Mum’s purse (or was it the old Kool Mints jar in the kitchen cupboard?) and bought a few fanzines and filled a couple of scrap books with pictures of the beautiful pop singer/actor/teen idol.
The teenage girl across the road was pretty keen on David too. Together we pored over my scrapbooks. The girl probably had different reasons, different impulses, than mine. She was a teenager, after all. And what’s an eight year old know about adulation? About obsession? Plenty, I reckon. The world is new, and exciting and still innocent.
I won a bet with my eldest brother so he bought me one of David’s albums. More images to pore over. And songs to hear.
I wanted hair like David, not the daggy side part my dear Mum inflicted on me.
I wanted to wear clothes like David, not my grey and green school uniform.
And, somewhere I guess, the eight year old wanted to sing. And play guitar.
Our house had its very own ‘Sound Lounge’ . The front verandah/entrance hall had floor to ceiling windows, with a turntable on a desk and music posters on the walls.
I didn’t realize anyone could see me dancing in there until that one night.
There I was, having a carefree dance enjoying the company of my reflection in the full length windows.
Next thing I know there’s a face laughing at me from the other side, a mate of one of my brother’s was visiting. A guy who thought it was hilarious that an eight year old was dancing and having a great time.
I never danced as freely again.