My hometown

Which hometown are we talking about here? The place i was born? The place i grew up, or the place i live now?  Since they are close enough together and none are all that exciting, there is probably space to mention all 3.

i was born in a town within what they now call Greater London, i think this means that it is an urban place that is on the outskirts, a place where red London buses roam, but which was once part of an English County (Middlesex in this case). I don’t remember much about the actual house or street as we left when i was 4, but I do remember the general area. We only moved about about 4 or 5 miles from that house so i remember the shops, the fact we were close to our grandparents and that there was a park nearby. i don’t remember it being the busy urban sprawl it definitely is, but then I was young and  nothing  was as busy as it is now 50 years ago.
We moved to a quieter place, within what is called the ‘home counties’. (Green and pleasant places close to London). We lived in a street with houses on each side of the road, which had little traffic especially during the day. School was at the end of our street and the only people driving to school were the headmaster and one or 2 teachers. Everyone walked to school and we all played out afterwards in the street. i remember playing hopscotch, riding our bikes and i remember the boys playing football. Hubby lived over the road from me, moving in when i was about 8. Secondary school for me was just under 3 miles away (this was important when local councils decided if we got free buses to school or not; i didn’t). My parents chose the better, rather than closer school. I have always been grateful for this since it has made it easier to achieve my ambition to become a nurse at a school of nursing in London. Generally i walked that 3 miles or so to school because i wanted the money provided for fares for other things. The town we grew up in had, what seemed like, a good shopping centre and it had 2 cinemas. Other than that there was little to do. My best friend and i had little trouble with this, since we strolled the streets or went to each others houses. On Monday nights we went to a local disco for teenagers. i guess our expectations were limited!

i started going out with hubby when i was 15; he was 19. He took me to London for the day on my first proper date with him. He belonged to a church group and through that we went on quite a few trips out and about. Later we and our wide circle of friends had an active social life, parties, visits to pubs and days out. When i was 18 i left my home town for the bright lights and cockroach filled nursing accommodation of London. I never lived at home again (though i was frequently home for days off or holidays), before i moved to the first home hubby and i bought together. We married shortly afterwards.

The town i where i now live, and have done for my whole married life, was built shortly after the second world war. It started as an overspill from London, built surrounding an older town originating in the middle ages. It is a mainly nondescript place that has continued to grow. But early developers considered green spaces, local shopping, schools and a hospital. All the infrastructure that seems to be an after thought these days. It has never been affluent, since the people who came here did so to escape the damage sustained during the war and to achieve a more pleasant lifestyle. It isn’t stylish or particularly sought after. But it is spacious, and thoughtfully built. It has a large park, with lakes and it has wide roads. My son was born here, went to school, and it is home. But i do feel sad about it. The town centre is not the best, it has no ‘big’ stores as such. The schools are generally slightly less good than the best. Some parts are in health and social care terms described as ‘deprived’.

We live on the edge of town and because of that crime levels are low, we have the countryside and pubs within walking distance and we are definitely within easy reach of all the main motorways north and south. For that reason i am in no rush to move. The only reason i would easily move would be to be nearer the sea. Otherwise it kind of meets my needs for now.

Your thoughts are always welcome

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