Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Ade Cirket

The Park

Melancholy, what a good word to describe how she felt, sat on the wooden bench donated to the people, who, like her, enjoyed the Park. The couple remembered on the seat, both now departed this earth for some twenty years, probably knew her mother-in-law, regulars no doubt at Park Road Church.
As she rested a moment, watching her youngest grand-children feeding the ducks with what bread they did not eat themselves, whilst competing with the gulls to make the loudest noise. These ducks may well be the descendants of the birds her own children fed many years ago, long afternoons in the park or after school at St Paul’s, and long before 24-hour TV with wall-to-wall children’s programmes.
Many times the family had crossed Bohemia and walked down into the Park, sons with girl-friends who had become wives, so excited to be with the one they loved, her sons showing off the park as if it was their own magical kingdom. Then the children, first in push-chairs then as toddlers and later as they grew, had all walked this way at one time.
Now the family was spread, would her grand daughter who lived in Lancashire or the grandson in West Sussex ever bring their yet to be born children to the same spot and enjoy the special feeling which had so captivated her family for so many years? Perhaps, if the magic had worked, then a holiday in Hastings and a visit to the park to feed the ducks might just be possible. What memories will it hold for future generations, as we age and sadly ones we love leave us, for nearly sixty years the park had played a part of the family’s life, will it still do so in another sixty years?
The marriages had not stood the test of time, the look on her son’s face as if searching for a distant truth had been seen all too often, each one in turn had sought solace in the park, sometimes alone, sometimes when doing their duty with the children, once or twice a camera had captured forever the joy and sadness of the moment. It was as if the park and its ambiance had taught the children lessons of life, as each one had grown into a young adult, of whom the parents were fiercely proud, their grand-mother smiled.
Always called just the Park, never by its full title, Alexandra Park, summers walking down to the café for an ice cream, in what was always called the middle bit, then perhaps on longer days, walking on down to Queens Road and the adventures the town centre seemed to hold. The children, learning where to find the swings and slides, wanting to stay and play until the very last minute, sons getting back late for dinner with ever more elaborate excuses and equally tired but happy children.
Now as she rested on the seat given so generously in remembrance of Bill and Ivy or was it Bob, she could sense a bond, one which only those who had been in the park and had stopped to watch and listen could ever experience. Her sons had shared in it; the people remembered by the seat she sat on had also experienced it, now hopefully the youngest members of the family were getting the first taste of what would become a passion.
Her thoughts turned to whoever first thought of the park, and she said a little prayer of thanks: ‘You know, life, is perhaps not so bad after all’.

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