one of my best friends was a girl called Anna Chapman, we were in primary school together and I loved her. she had blond hair and she smelt nice, but they moved away when I was about 6, I remember she came to my house to have tea before they left and I remember cuddling her in my back garden when her mum came to take her away. I was gutted, I have never seen her since. I miss her to this day.
Another friend was called Sonia Francis, I remember the first day we met, my brother and I were out playing and we met Sonia and her sister we played and the next day they came and knocked for us to play out. she was the first Jamaican friend I had, I loved her mums food and I would stay over, One day their house caught fire and her mum got burnt throwing the paraffin heater out of the window, the fire brigade came,it was so exciting. I remember in school assembly Sonia and her sister had to stand up and the headmaster said they were brave girls, I was very jealous, I wished it was my house. The down side her father used to abuse me. I never told a soul. it stopped when I was 13, I shouted at him. Sonia and her family emigrated to Canada in the 70's and I never saw them again either.
It was an era where there were a lot of abandoned buildings and bomb sites, we would go scrumping and fighting and laughing, my friends had big untidy gardens where we would play hide and seek. One of my friends lived in a big Victorian house on Recreation Road,next to the park. It was a little untidy which I loved. We would play in the top rooms with the sun streaming in the windows, and the sound of birds in the trees.
My friend Pamela Headley and her sisters were others I hung out with, she had a horrid time at home, her father was a bully and used to beat her very badly,I remember the school getting involved on one occasion. I went to her birthday recently and she is still angry about it.
Of course there were some homes I couldn't go into because I was mixed race, that used to annoy me because I used to think "you don't even know me" I was a smart kid. Faith was another friend who lived in a beautiful house, they had glass door knobs and I thought they were the height of luxury, she also had a large Child's Romany caravan in her garden where we would play for hours.it was the best.
It was a proper playing outside childhood and I was lucky to have some good best friends.