Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
This was the house I grew up in, in one of the poorest areas of London, known as Bethnal Green at the time. Three rooms upstairs were our home. A live-in kitchen and two bedrooms, one mine and one my parents. Granddad lived downstairs, also with three rooms. He never really used his living room (you can see the window downstairs). He was more in his kitchen on his armchair and his bedroom was also downstairs. As the years went by, grandad got older and he moved into the front room. Mum put his bed in this room, so he had a bed sitter. This meant that we had an extra room downstairs which became my bedroom and mum and dad could spread out a more upstairs. The house was built in 1884 and was demolished at the beginning of the seventies – slum clearance. We had no bathroom and the toilet was in the back garden.
My home life was basically a happy one and I find that is important. Material gains and surroundings are not of value when your parents are perhaps arguing all the time, or you are treated physically or mentally in a negative way. Looking back on things, I did it well. I moved out to another country and made my way in life. I had a good schooling, learned my school lessons and always had a thirst for knowledge. Mum and dad could perhaps have changed something. Whilst I was a child it was possible for the British to emigrate to Australia. I had a few friends who suddenly disappeared one day on their way by ship to another country, and another life. Today they are firmly rooted in Australia, New Zealand or Canada, and I know none that have regretted it. Sometimes I wish mum and dad had taken their fate a bit better in their hands and also taken that journey to a new future. My dad worked all his life in a factory, and mum went out to work to make ends meet. Perhaps they could have had a better life. My mum had two sisters, one lived opposite, so it would not have been a problem to leave grandad. He would have been looked after. Mum did all the cooking and my aunt came a few days a week to tidy up for him.
My kids have grown up in Switzerland, in my new country. I am lucky to have a husband that has also many interests. I too am still thirsting for knowledge. Our children have done well and I never stood in their way if they wanted to try something else.My youngest son studied law at the university of Bern and has made his way in his job. My other son is autistic, but I never let this stand in the way. I treated him as far as possible as a normal person. I had a psychiatrist that helped to deal with his problems, and I always bore in mind their future life.
The idea of this daily prompt is OK, but a bit with head in the clouds. Reality cannot be put into a concise sentence about wishing something different in your childhood or wishing something different for your kids. Life takes its turns and twists and you just have to be aware that nothing is perfect. My motto: try it out to see if it works. If not, you have not really lost anything.
Photo: taken by me about forty-five years ago.