We grew up in a cherry tree â€” the biggest we’ve ever seen. We knew it by heart, each shiny hand- or foothold on its banded, silver limbs. Its base was a receptacle for children. You pulled yourself up on the shallow stump always leaking amber gum. Then you climbed your chosen route, to the roof, the tyre swing, or simply up. In spring petals snowed over the lawn.
We waited until the cherries were densely freckled with pink before we ate them. They were best nibbled lying on a sunny bed with a roll of ten June and Schoolfriends from the church fair sorted into chronological order.
Before we and the birds had taken them all, our father climbed the tree with a handful of our mother’s stockings.
One evening a week or two later when the stockings had turned greenish, he harvested the cherries.
Talking of stockings, I made my first pony, Sandy Bay. Beige sock, two buttons, brown wool, and a bridle of bias binding.
As you can see, he lived. My heart gave a leap when I thought of him waiting for me in the corner of the bedroom.
Talking of socks, one hot day after school, Jillian and I filled the barrel with water and climbed in.
My brother and his French horn-playing friend John Maurice took away our clothes. John turned up on FB recently. His daughter Renee is a truly remarkable singer.