Remembering How To Play: PATH Newsletter.


So. I went into this meeting, right. The office was very efficient and clean, almost sterile. The furniture was exactly what you would expect, slightly rickety wood laminate desk with chairs and carpet in colours that you couldn’t quite name.
She was polite and charming and settled down to business at once. She took names and dates and contact numbers and facts and figures. But I knew she hadn’t understood what I was trying to communicate to her. She hadn’t understood the project I was planning at all, even though she had all the facts at her fingertips, neatly appearing on the page of her notebook.
‘so,’ she said. ‘You are going to design play areas on our housing estates.’
‘no, not at all. What we are going to do is meet with residents and have conversations about our memories of playing when we were children, wherever we grew up. Remember how it felt, how playing felt like the most important thing in the world. How the time stretched out around you the places we used to play and the things that we got up to….’
She was quiet. Slowly she did a dissolve fade and her eyes focused on a time and space that were not in the room with us now, that were inside her mind, and hers only. I could see that the memories of playing that had been buried for so long under the business of being an adult, had bubble back to the surface of her thoughts.
Time for me to be quiet and still and listen.
A gentle voice, a different tone.
‘We all used to meet up and go off together in a mad rush as soon as we could in the morning. The older kids looked after the younger ones. We sometimes went to the ‘venture down the road. It was great there we could do anything… sometimes we just played out on the streets or the bombsites. We made dens and fires and pretend food and we chased and and.. we all knew each other because we played out together. We knew each others families and bigger brothers and sisters. We knew the grandparents of our mates and where we could go if we needed anything. sometimes we used to hang out in the space in the middle of our estate. We could just nip in to one of our houses if we got hungry or thirsty or needed the loo. There would always be some-one around looking out for us. We could play until it got dark and then just tumble in home.’
Her eyes focused back onto me and this time and space rather than the one she had just slipped into. ‘my kids don’t do that… that’s so sad…’
I picked up my thread..
‘so when we have spoken to people about their memories, we can begin to see that children now are not having that same rich experience, and we can work with each residents group to find ways…’
‘..that they can make it possible for their children to play again! When can we start?’

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  One Response to “Remembering How To Play: PATH Newsletter.”

  1. A completely wonderful story. And an education. Thank you.

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