Childhood Memories – Little Town by the Sea

Drawn am I to childhood haunts,
Memories of country dance on the lawns,
Long afternoons on the sand.
Nets and shrimps and boiling them in someone’s holiday kitchen by the sea;
We went with people we hardly knew back then;
Days were long and carefree;
How many times have I walked that smart promenade and ,tired and hot, climbed the steep steps to the cliff path?
Just that the grassy path has gone-
Fallen to the sea
And the gardens we walked behind- which always smelt of fermenting grass clippings-
Now tumble over the edge
Of the Jurassic coast-
The compost heaps long gone;
The coast has a fancy name
Fossils drop when the gardens slide.
Now we turn left at the top
And Granny and Grandad’s cottage (one row back) are now on the official route- the path goes up their lane;
The breathless walk by Grandad out to his favourite view has shortened-
He’d like that!
We always wished they had one of the houses opposite with the sea view,
But now those have shrinking gardens
And will one day be condemned;
Yet Marley Cottage
Is just the same-
Black paintwork and wonky tiles,
And Granny’s kitchen garden built into the bank at the back
By the wooden gate,still there;
The lawn is still square but
Without Grandad’s stripes;
How I loved to watch him roll the hand mower back and forth
And bounce on the red space- hopper
Up and down like a horse in the Grand National
Did they ever dream like I do?
Memories that take me back
Like yesterday
And pull me
To the little town by the sea
With emotion so strong that it scares me- a sense that I belong
Even though I never lived there
Just holidays till I was 8.

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