I saw two of these today and I remembered…
I stand on the corner, excitement growing.
I lick my pencil, turn to a clean page in my red, lined notebook.
And the waiting begins.
I’m about eight years old and I’m collecting coach names and numbers.
We’re all doing it, cheering as a new one comes into view, one we haven’t got.
There were so many coaches on our roads back then. We hardly had time to scribble down the name and number before another took its place. We’d compare notes later, arranging to do it all again tomorrow.
We collected lots of things in the 50’s –
- pictures of film stars, carefully cut from mum’s magazines
- shells from our annual holidays, complete with the smell of the sea
- stones with holes in – they were lucky
- caterpillars in a jam jar with some leaves
- wild flowers to press under a heavy book
- tiddlers caught in the stream
- four leaf clovers
- flower petals to make ‘perfume’ (yuk…)
I can’t remember what we did with the coach names and numbers – and as for those poor caterpillars…
It was the fun in the act of ‘collecting’, adding to the list, finding another lucky stone.
We’d hang on to our collection until another one caught our imaginations.
‘How quaint!’ I hear you cry. ‘Children don’t do that any more!’
Oh yes they do!
What about these?
- games to play on their X-box
- invitations to ever more elaborate birthday parties
- football stickers at great expense to their parents
- designer trainers
- the latest games for their Wii
- designer sweatshirts
- the latest phone
Until the novelty wears off and a new ‘must have’ comes along.
All these cost money. Lots of it.
Can you think of anything that children collect nowadays that’s free?
I’m lucky to live near a lane where there are many wild flowers.
This evening I shall go and pick some for the kitchen table.
The Beatles sang about the best things in life being free.
What do you think?
Are they right?