Being the youngest of two siblings meant I didn't have anyone to really hang out with except my big brother. So, we did everything together. From riding our bikes, hanging out with the neighbours kids and trick-or-treating (yes, we did that around here when I was young), Gabe and I did lots of things together because our area was quite young.
It wasn't long after I was born that Dennis Road was still a dirt track and in the mid-70's it was properly fixed up with bitumen. Our street was always the way is it - minus the massive amounts of traffic it now has. I remember the massive amount of lawn we had to play on out the front and out the back and how we could see the so much of the street while we ran around with the other kids around the place without our shoes on; and we all arrived home with grass stains on our clothes and our feet black, exhausted, ready for our baths at around 4pm.
Up the road from us was the Springwood Library. It was literally a five minute walk for me to get up there and after I taught myself to read with my brother's 'I Can Read' series of book from his school port, I went up there on Saturday mornings to continue the fun of reading my way through the Childrens' Section of the Springwood Library. Soon enough, though, I was offered my own library card and found out I could take home books to read and bring them back. This is where my absolute passion for reading began; aged 4 or so. And I read anywhere. This library was moved when I was in high school to the IKEA Centre because it needed more room. And what a place! It was closer to the schools, public transport and many other things that made it more popular for people to access it. It even underwent a new name: The Logan North Library. Pity. The Springwood Library has such a lovely ring to it. Then, this library was moved again; this time it was moved to Sports Drive next to the public pool. Now, it's good library, but it's so far away from public transport, schools and anything else, it's not all that popular, unless you've got a car. And the building where it was originally? Well, that has been turned into the Springwood Community Centre.
What I loved about where I lived when I was young was the forest behind our house. The block of land it was on extended to the Service Road next to the South East Freeway, lined the back of the houses on Cinderella Drive, Vanessa Boulevard and the shopping district (what they called it in those days) on Fitzgerald Avenue. It was a lovely place to run around in, search and enjoy. We had bon-fires, climbed trees, made a tree house (with the help of a couple of Dads from the neighbourhood kids) and enjoyed the privacy this forest gave us). I loved the wild birds, lizards and Pheasants that wandered into our yard at odd times during the year; and we learnt their calls too to bring them out of the garden beds so we could see them. It was wonderful to see the wild life so close to our homes.
However, as with everything, that type of lifestyle wasn't going to last forever. We were informed by the Logan City Council that something might be on the cards for that lot of land soon... and so we went on holidays when I was around 11 years old thinking we had time to see what it was going to be when we returned. However, we came home from Brunswick Heads to a dreadful shock. The block of land behind us was cleared completely - right down to the Service Road from our back fence! It was awful! I remember Gabe elbowing me in the car and I looked up to see the red dirt there, no trees guarding the privacy to our house and then we saw it... the back of our house! I felt so violated. I felt as though the whole world could look in on our private world we had created for ourselves over the time we had lived there. It was terrible; and even worse was when we drove through our garage and into the back yard, after we opened the back garage door, and saw the view we were going to have to put up with for years to come.
I never liked changed... and this was a big one. But when the shopping centre - Mall At Springwood - was built, I didn't like going there. It was my own little way of boycotting it; of hating it being there in my own way. Then, parts of the car park began to buckle as the pressure of the creek the council had pushed underground began to bubble to the surface. To me, this was hilariously funny - a show that nature couldn't be controlled by us humans - and never will be. However, they fixed the problem, resurfaced the damaged parts of the car park and it never happened again.Now, I still look out on that shopping centre and sigh; remembering what was once there... my childhood playground. It may have just been a small piece of forest to some, but to me, it was something bigger. When you're little kid growing up in a new suburb, everything means something to you; and you become so attached to it all. So, when it's taken away and you have no control, it's the hardest thing to deal with. I'm sure, there's a part of your childhood that was taken away from you - something you had no control over no matter what you said or did - and yet, you still wish it was there all these years later. Until my next installment... remember your history. Take care, keep warm and safe and remember, I'm always here.