Before school there was community.
I was fortunate to grow up in a new housing development that had been built upon fields. I was told recently that the land was previously apple orchards. This meant that as I opened the front door I was immediately walking into fields ( we rarely used the front door). Not far away lay the Corcrain River. It wasn’t a huge river but enough of one for us to need stepping stones to cross it.
Most kids like to explore and so we met each other as we explored the fields, the disused Railway banks and the river. I was the youngest in my family which meant that my sisters had already established the community of kids that I was initiated into it.
There is something about connecting with those of a similar age. Somehow you know this person is at the same point of life as you and you relate. This becomes more obvious as life evolves and that person as an adult who looks so sophisticated to everyone else, you remember as a kid just like you hence you never see the sophistication of which everyone else speaks.
Ark was my first friend in life and we spent many of those early years roaming fields and mucking about on the river. It was a time of doing together and not so much talking. I think that came later for me. We joined the Robins (the infant section of the Boys’ Brigade) together at Epworth Methodists. We joined school together Hart Memorial in September 1974 and were in the same class until primary 6 ( age 9).
The Hobbit is a story that reminds me that on a journey many people help you along. At the right time, they were there. It is not for us to choose how long people remain but it is for us to be thankful that at that time they were there.