There are many who believe that kids who grow up in cities, grow up without the luxury of wide open spaces to run and jump and play in. I did'nt. Strangely, even in the city-that-doesnt-sleep, are these oases of green (so far, so good - I'd say!) and we had one of those just over the wall! The folks call it the golf club - but for us, it was picnic spot, beach and park all combined. We were serial trespassers - and we enjoyed EVERY minute! We honed our athletic prowess on their grass! Slipping and sliding with no fear of hurting ourselves, jumping through sprinklers... Part of the thrill was running away from watchmen and vigilant members who tried to run us off. We called one of them Street Hawk (after an 80s - 90s TV series character) because he usually came after us on a motorcycle!
We had pot-luck picnics and long jump competitions into the sand traps of the 8th hole! We believed in "finders keepers" when it came to stray golf balls. For some reason, we believed they cost a ton of money! There are no pictures of those glory days - nobody had cameras their folks would let them take along, but they're so fondly remembered... We had races to see who'd get over the wall first when Street Hawk came along... and the last one was always the 'rotten egg'.... We sure were lucky - where else would a bunch of kids find endless acres of green fresh lawn to run and jump and tumble on?
The Three Musketeers plus One was us - born the same year, three girls and a boy - June, August, September and October. Today, one's in Australia, one's in Germany, I'm here and the boy is sailing the seas and seeing the world. He was a monkey - skinny and climbed to ridiculous heights to escape getting caught when we played cops and robbers (he actually scaled a coconut tree to the height of the second floor while we stood around beneath the tree screaming at him, and my mum and sisters having hysterics while watching from the third floor!)
The two girls moved away while we were still in school, but the monkey and I grew up together, going to school together and laughing about our respective schools and their 'sex education' classes. One fine day, the scrawny monkey suddenly ended up wayyy taller than me (big blah - I was always the tallest of the group!) and then he realised his dream of being a sailor. He's first engineer (I think!) now and we always catch up whenever we end up being home at the same time... All of us are married now and scattered all over, but in my head, this is how we'll always be - one curly-headed tomboy, one quiet girl, one chatterbox and one monkey.