Lately I’ve been spending a little bit of time in the town where I grew up. It isn’t too far away, about 15-20 mins but for me, visiting is a bit like another world. I never feel quite right when I’m there.
See, Midland, whilst a very old town (probably one of Perth’s first) has always been a bit like a teenager about to leave home – one foot in the past, hoping everything stays as you left it, Mum still does a Sunday roast etc; one part in the future, looking forward to new beginnings. Then there’s that awkward phase in the middle that everyone tries to forget happened.
My ties to Midland go back to 1984 when I was 3 and my family moved to a little house in West Midland. Over the next 25+ years I’ve gradually seen the physical side to my memories morph or in some cases disappear completely.
For example, walking nonchalantly down The Crescent, I caught sight of a striped awning between two buildings. And the ramp that I’d always run down in a blur of little legs.
When I was a kid and probably into my early teens, this building was the indoor section of the Midland Markets. We went every Saturday without fail and to this day I could probably draw you a map of all the stalls.
Outside the 50c lemon squash, the pickled onion lady, the sellers yelling out the price of fruit and veg, the honey stall, the lolly shop, the face painters and the little red cars on a track that ran in a circle. Inside “Mum’s Kitchen”, samosas, the lucky dips and the shop selling the purple icecream. And more of course.
The markets backed onto a little park, Tuohy Gardens and it was next to the old library…which really deserves its own post. I’m in the new library as I write this. I should really search for some of my old favourites.
Do the changes upset me? Of course, but what can I do? Can’t really stop progress. If somebody had, then my own memories wouldn’t be what they are.
Re the pictures-
The one with the tree is the location where I took the first photo that won me a prize (1995). There used to be a red phone box around here.
The others are where the markets and library were. The stationery shop was once Sands & Mac which my parents used to frequent when they (like I am now) had a fledgling business.