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I was 3 years of age when we first moved from New Zealand to our new residence on the corner of Binowee and Arcola Streets, Aspley.
Nestled on a quaint 24 perches, my backyard consisted of all 4 sides of my house. In my mind this was so. There was no real front yard, therefore, no real backyard for that matter. I, at the tender age of 6, presumed that in this case, it was all classed as a backyard. My sister Kim who was 4 years my senior tried to convince me that there was in fact a front yard and a backyard to the house. I took that with a grain of salt, just like when she insisted that I was not really part of the family but was adopted!
The yard on the north side of the house was a small, slated terrace forted by a rock wall. Stairs from the terrace lead up to an in-ground swimming pool, which had a tropical theme, with large rocks, palm trees and a small waterfall. A paved edging between the house and the pool lead to a thin slate path along the west side, which joined the north and south yards together. The south yard consisted of a clothesline, a cubby-house, a basketball hoop and a large Umbrella tree. From the laundry door on the second level, a large ramp descended down beside the house to the south yard. Along side the ramp stood the clothesline that unwound from the side of the house to a pole, about 4 metres away. Extended vertically on top of the pole was a piece of wood that held the basketball hoop. Situated in the very end corner of the south yard was the cubby-house, made of western red cedar, with a pitched colour bond roof. Inside, was covered by unpainted chipboard walls and furnished with a table, 2 chairs and a cupboard. On the wall beside the doorway there was a light switch and a chandelier hung from the centre of the roof. Beside the cubby was a small, slated area that was my garage when my sister and I played House . Heading towards the east side of the house the south yard becomes a small walkway about 2 metres wide. Part of the east side was adjacent to the north terrace, stepping down to a small grassy area about 5 by 7 metres, which is also surrounded by the large rock wall. The other half of the east yard is the two driveways that lead to the double garage on the first level.
Come my 7th birthday I awoke with great anticipation. I ran to my doorway to find the beginning of the string trails that would lead me to my birthday presents. Having found all of my other presents, I excitedly reached for the final string and wondered what was at the end. The trail ended in the garage, by which time my mind had already narrowed down the possibilities of what lay beyond the door. I was thrilled to find a new orange BMX bike standing in the middle of the garage. That morning I took off to see my friend Matt, who lived directly across the road from me. I ventured off across the road with my new bike and mother in hand. As we were not of the proper age to ride on the road according to mother! We rode around Matt s house instead. Noon came and we had lunch back at my place, peanut-butter and sultana sandwiches, our favourite, which resulted from one of Matt s experiments one day, when we were bored but it turned out pretty nice, so we always had that for lunch.
Afterwards we continued riding, around my house. We decided that we would race against each other on our bikes and mark out a course to follow. There was just one problem, only the south side and the east side weren t obstructed by gates. This was all right though, because the south yard was on a slight westerly incline and added some terrain differences. The track started in the south yard at the top of the incline and came down the side to a sharp left turn. It then went along the east side, going over both the driveways and then turning around in the small grass area adjoining the north terrace. To finish the course we agreed to do down and back 10 times, making sure we didn t go inside the markers when turning around.
This was fun for a while but the urge for something more exciting and dangerous got hold of me. The first thing that jumped into our heads was just that, a jump. We scrounged around under the house for something that might resemble a jump and finally found a piece of board and a few bricks. We placed the flimsy piece of plywood on top of 2 bricks stacked together. Using part of the racecourse we positioned the jump in the east side yard on the grass area.
We finished preparing the jump; crunch time came as we slowly pedalled our bikes around the side of my house to the top of the incline. It was my turn first, my heart was pounding, every beat could be heard a mile away, well, at least that s what I thought. Encouraged by Matt I slowly began to push down on my pedals, my brand new bike gained speed fast and before I knew it I had careered around the corner and was dead in line with the jump. The adrenalin rushed through my body as I lifted off the jump, I felt like I was suspended in air drifting for metres, tens of metres, 100 of metres even. In fact it was just 2 metres, but it seemed so far. The bike landed with a gentle thud, my mind exploded with success, but before I had time to come back down to reality, I had already plowed into the garden behind the jump. I had forgotten to brake!
I staggered out of the garden a little worse for wear, but determined, next time to stop in time! Matt and I spent the remainder of the day flying over the jump, again and again.
I think why I remember this day so clearly or most of my days between the ages of 4 and 9 for that matter, is because it was a time of innocence, a time where we lived in an insulated world without the worries without the frenzy and without the evil.
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