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Weird family stuff.

Memoires of a weirdo.

By Karen CavePublished 4 years ago 4 min read
Why were the eighties so weird?

I had strange things happen in my childhood, really odd memories - it seems to be an 80's thing. Maybe you had weirdness too?

I used to look out of my window a lot as a child. Funnily enough, it was a really forbidden thing. My mum used to shout at me every time I reported exciting goings-on from my bedroom window. It's because when I was little, the only way I could reach up to the window was to balance precariously on the radiator that was attached to the wall beneath. Either that or perch on the edge of my bed on tippy-toes, holding onto the window-ledge with my arms and hands...

Ooh the forbidden and yet totally innocent things of childhood. All kinds of exciting things could be found down the back of that radiator. Where the floral wallpaper had peeled away from the wall, it had formed a kind of hammock, perfect for capturing the hundreds of discarded sunflower seeds that my younger sister used to munch on. Bags and bags of the things! It was a veritable seed-fest; I'm surprised there wasn't a row of sunflowers growing along there, reaching up to the sunlight through the window...

Every time I went on a climbing expedition, I'd look down and feel a bit sick when I saw all those stripy black and white casings. To this day I can't stand sunflower seeds. And whenever I look at a radiator I half expect to find sunflower seeds down the back...

I remember being about eight or nine, and seeing the first ever black man with an afro I had ever seen in my life. Oh the excitement - something new to report! To my sweet, innocent brain, he was the man from the Robinson's jam jars! I rushed downstairs: "Mummy, mummy! I've just seen a gollyw*g!"

My young child's mind would never understand why I got smacked and told off severely for what I had said and reported. I had no idea what racism was; I was mixed race myself with no realisation at that young age that I was any different from anyone else. I cried and cried at being told off. The unfairness of it all! I was reprimanded first of all for saying a word I had no idea was offensive, and doubly so when my mum realised that I'd had to clamber up on that dodgy radiator in order to witness the spectacle in the first place.

I'm not quite sure why I used to spend so much time gazing out of windows. Maybe it was the introvert in me; the wannabe writer, watching, observing, noticing, forming opinions, expanding my little brain by seeing what was out there in the big, wide world.

We were all obsessed with the Rocky films in our family; I remember once seeing a man who looked like Sly Stallone out my window once, and running to report that too. And getting told off again. Would I never learn?

Another really fun thing to do was to hide on window ledges to make each other jump. Me and my sister were both little squatting frogs for most of our childhood, all skinny, bendy knees. If I got upstairs first and wanted to scare Trish, I'd either hide in her massive wardrobe, silently sniggering until I heard her getting into bed... wait until she was settled somewhat, then launch myself out into the room, screaming. Oh, the fun. And of course I'd potter across the landing and quietly close my bedroom door first before hiding, so that she'd think I was in my bed. Tee hee.

She'd sometimes manage to get up onto my window ledge, and hide behind the drawn curtains, again, in the classic 'frog squat' position. She'd have to keep her knees in, so that they didn't jut out through the curtain, causing a tell-tale bulge. Anyone out in the street looking up at the window would have been greeted by the strange sight of a little girl in her nightie squatting in a window. When I was settled, she'd shout and leap down. Our window ledges must have been pretty wide, come to think of it.

More 80's childhood strangeness soon...

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Karen Cave

A mum, a friend to many and I love to explore dark themes and taboos in my writing. I am an optimist with

Hope you enjoy! I appreciate all likes, comments - and please share if you'd like more people to see my work.

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