June Munro-Cousens (Liverpool U3A)
When I was ten the days were long
And dreams came true, and men were strong.
I wish that I could live again
Those tender times when I was ten.
Life seemed to take an easier course.
Deliveries came by cart and horse;
Milk, bread and ice, a clothes-line prop,
And groceries from the corner shop.
My darling Dad was home once more,
For six long years he’d been at war.
A house, a job were his new life,
A mortgage, kids and faithful wife.
In our backyard the chooks ran free.
We had a swing, a lemon tree,
A vegie-patch, some flowers too,
And chokos hid the outside loo.
Our meals were plain and simple fare,
But there was always plenty there,
Like bread and dripping, jam on toast,
And ever week a Sunday roast.
No fancy clothes, just school and best,
And someone’s cast-offs for the rest.
We didn’t crave high fashion’s looks,
Our clothes were bought with ration books.
My bicycle was second-hand,
With bell and light, I thought it grand.
Three mouths to feed and one more due,
We never thought of having new.
The holidays did endless reach,
With summer picnics on the beach;
The salty hair, the sandy feet
And curly ice-creams – what a treat.
The booming breakers at high tide,
The carnival, the pony-ride.
The fish we caught the tales we told,
The sunset skies tinged red and gold.
A sixpence saved by Saturday
Meant pictures at the matinee .
We booed the bad guy, cheered the good,
That right was might we understood.
My slate was clean of life’s mistakes,
No broken dreams, no sad heartaches;
Just endless years and visions broad,
My life was new and unexplored.
But passing years distort the truth,
Confusing memories of youth.
Was life as good as it seemed then,
When dreams came true and I was ten?