‘When I was growing up’

Sheikh Rashaad Abrahams, right, with his parents, Mogamat Yusuf Abrahams, 82, and Janap Abrahams, 75, and their house in Steenberg.

Sheikh Rashaad Abrahams, Hillview

I grew up in Beethoven Street, in Steenberg, and I walked to primary and high school regardless of the weather and dinner time was at 6pm and bed time was at 7.30pm.

Eating out at a restaurant was a huge deal, that only really happened when it was a birthday or a very special occasion.

Fast food was Friday night, fish ’n chips nights and having a bottle of Coke from the café was a real treat.

You took your school clothes off as soon as you got home and put on your “home” clothes. There was no taking or picking you up in the car, you caught a public bus, you walked or rode your bike! You got home, did your chores and your homework before dinner.

Our house phone had a cord attached, so there were no such things as private conversations or mobile phones.

We didn’t have DStv, Neon, Light box or Netflix, – we had only a radio, and we listened to stories like The Creaking Door, Squad Cars, Taxi, Top 20 and sports over weekends only.

We played marbles, hopscotch, hide-and-seek, soccer, skateboarded and suntanned by the (public) pool. Suntan lotion was only used when at the beach on a holiday.

Staying in the house was a punishment and the only thing we knew about “bored” was: “You better find something to do before I find it for you!”

We played music via a record or tape player.

We went to the corner café for bread and milk and a Chappie was half cent.

We ate what mom made for dinner or we ate nothing at all and if we didn’t eat our vegetables there was no ice cream or pudding.

Bottled water was a luxury, we didn’t know, we drank from the tap and the hosepipe.

We read cartoons on Sunday mornings in the newspaper, and rode our bikes for hours and ran around the neighbourhood.

We bought ice cream from the “ice cream man”.

We weren’t afraid of anything. We played until dark, sunset was our alarm, when the street lights came on.

Day or night, street football barefoot was a daily thing, and played seriously. We lay on the warm tar roads for fun.

If someone had a fight, that was what it was, one-on-one, and we were friends again a week later, if not sooner.

We watched our mouths around our elders because all our aunts, uncles, grandpas, grandmas, and our parents’ best friends were all extensions of our parents and you didn’t want them telling your parents if you misbehaved!

Or they would give you something to cry

We respected the police, firemen, ambulance workers, teachers, doctors and nurses.

We never answered back – ever!

Wooden spoons, hairbrushes, tomato box sides and feather dusters were the cane of choice and we got detention at school for not doing homework, being late to class or being naughty.

These were the good days.

So many kids today will never know how it feels to be a real kid. I loved my childhood
and all the friends I hung around with.

Good times and
special memories last a lifetime.