Growing Up Saga

3 Different countries 3 different experiences
February 08, 2010
I have been reading retrojunk articles since early 2004, at least I think it was then, either way I have laid in the shadows reading the awesome articles people submitted, thinking... out of all the memories I have which one should I talk about and actually spend time writing.

I was never much of a writer, nor do I have the patience to sit there, stare at a white screen and try very hard to think of something interesting to write, knowing that I would be judged by the same people that entertained me. But I have to develop my skills as I will hopefully be working for the police force and will be writing lots of letters.

Anywayyyys, my first article like many of your articles will revolve around my childhood, which we all love to express here, besides at what point in your life can you get away with murder and not be punished for it?

My childhood spanned over 3 country's, Serbia, Austria and Australia. If this article gets a decent response I will post the next installment which takes place in Austria.

The following is a list, not a fancy list, but a list never the less of the things Enjoyed back in the 90's being born in 84 this is what I remember playing with as a kid.

First period: Priboj, Serbia (My hometown)

Handmade knife

Back when I was around 7 years old, my grandpa used to take me everywhere with him, every time he went for a bike ride he would put me on the bike and ride all over our little country town in Serbia. He would tell me stories about the witches that lived on the mountains overlooking our town and that they knew who the naughty kids were, and if I wasn't careful they would come for me at night. But as long as I was good I was safe. Needless to say this terrified the crap out of me, and I would always stay away from those hills. My grandpa was also big on fishing, he loved it, so one day he called me over, to show me something he had made for me. It was the first time I ever saw a knife that fit perfectly in my hand. The knife itself was made from a combination of melted plastic, with horizontal rips going through it and a small blade, the kind you get from nail clippers at the end of it. My eyes lit up, with this knife I can conquer everything! I wouldn't have to be afraid of the witches any more, it was like when Frodo received the sword that was just the right size for him! Sadly to my disappointment my grandpa said I can only use it when he went fishing. I still have the knife, I recently moved houses so Its packed away somewhere, I remember all the times I used to beg him for it when I was a kid, even tho I knew the answer.

Handmade Sled[/align]

My sled closely resembled this picture, minus the walls, the paint and the 2 part legs, mine was just straight. As a kid in Serbia, I came from a poor family, everything was done 'custom'. Where I come from it is VERY cold, or was at least before the global warning scenario. Every winter all you could see is the top of the heads of kids playing in the snow. On the roads the snow was removed, but the hills had plenty! One funny thing we used to do was wake up early in the morning, pour water in a bucket, empty the bucket infront of the old hag that used to always tell us off for racing our sleds, and watch her come out for her paper, land flat on her ass (water turns to ice)! She would screammmmm at the top of her lungs, but never see us.
Moving along...
I never had a sled, so when my grandpa told me he was making one for me I was over the moon, went to all my friends to tell them that I would be joining them soon. But once the sled was complete it was like nothing I ever saw. It literally looked like a sled that mad max would have. I think if someone saw it today, they would report it to the proper authorities, this thing did not look safe.You could see the weld marks on it, the front of the rails did not go on much of a upwards slope, there was no paint on it just raw metal, and it was heavy as shit.

Rocking up to my friends with my sled wasn't a very nice experience. Ever have one of those moments as a kid where you just want to stay home? Thats exactly what this was. Having 5 kids laugh at you when your young is about the worst thing that can happen. I mean you didn't want girlfriends then so you never experienced rejection, this was the closest thing.
One of them suggested to have a race, and being the arrogant kid I stood my ground and accepted, this kid was the fastest out of all of them, a rich kid, his dad had payed hundreds of dollars to get him the best sled in the shop.
My first time on the sled, top of the hill was nerve wrecking. Side by side with the other kid, looking down a massive slope with added ice from the morning before. The tension, the determination... the scream... go!! I pushed with my little feet as fast as I could, once the sled started moving I just anchored them back, all of a sudden the kid was nowhere to be seen, I was already miles ahead! I was speeding down that hill so fast that I didn't have enough time to think how the hell I was going to stop this thing. I have never been on anything that fast! The next thing I could see was a massive fence in front of me!! The road had ended! I push down with my feet to try and stop! My hands! Nothing!! BANG … straight through the fence. The next thing I remember was laying flat on my back with all my friends around me looking puzzled, as a kid you cant grasp the concept of death or serious injury, as far as we all knew, we were invincible, the only thing they could ask was... how the hell did you do that??? I had no answer, just a overjoyed smile, and a cocky attitude, the other guy didnt have anything to say. I rushed home to tell my grandpa what had happened, he just had a smile on his face, as it turns out, he smothered engine lubricant on the rails of the sled, which turned it into a little rocket, its an old trick he said! I had many many winters fun with this sled, until I left the country, my grandpa died 3 years ago god bless his soul, he stored all my childhood toys he made in the basement in serbia, they lay there in the dark waiting for me to reclaim them. And one day I will. And when I do I will take photo's of them all and post it on this awesome website.

Pedal Cars

Think you had it bad? Not being able to get that Nintendo for Christmas? Well to kids in Serbia back in 1992 this was Nintendo... the mecca of toys. I remember the first time I ever saw one of these things my heart came out of my mouth and instantly I was in love, it was a feeling that you get the first time you get a girlfriend, the mystery, its not a real car but how many features of a real car does it have? Whats the interior like? How fast does it go? How do I drive it? What would she like me to do? How does she look inside without her top? Should I kiss her now? many of you know this feeling, and for the ones that don't what are you doing?. Its not one of those feelings you get going grocery shopping with mum, and you want a toy, its a feeling when you want a Nintendo for a whole year, seeing your friends play it but knowing that you cant afford one.
I fell in love with this thing, but inside I knew I couldn't have one, there was no way in hell my parents would even think about getting it for me. And there's the irony in that... Not getting the Nintendo you always wanted instead, they get you an Atari. Which is what they got me instead of this, a bicycle with training wheels. In my mind these things always went quicker and they offered you protection, I mean, it was a car, just like the adults driver but for kids! I got to ride one of these things later from my friend, and quickly realized it wasn't everything I had hoped for. When you ride it, the mystery and fuss dissapears. Its like when you have fantasize the mystery of sex and finally have it, you finish and think to yourself 'was that it'?

Round baking tray[/align]

Compliments from my grandma, it was the only way she could get me to stop bugging her.
Whats it used for you ask? Not baking thats for sure.
It went a little like this;

Friday night after school, Run to grandmas house
Pour water all over the squashed snow in her long sloped court.
Saturday morning, wake up early call all your friends take your grandmas baking tray, and sit on it.
OK for those of you that have not tried this, I will tell you now, even as adults you must give it a go! Not sure if your asses will fit now, but try and cram them in there somehow!
As you went down the hill on a icy street, you spun at the same time, so here you are trying to avoid hitting the walls on both sides, so your trying your hardest to steer, but how can you steer something thats spinning? This was simply insane! We would spend all day and all night doing this! Yes you would go through quite a few of these trays for the winter but it was hell worth it! And your grandma loved the fact that you didn't annoy her all day! And man were they fast, this was much faster then any sled you had, and once we found out this craze it was all over!

The actual alley where my grandma lives. My cousin and Aunty in the pic.[/align]

Thinking back now it was so dangerous what we were doing, the alley connected straight to a main road, and trying to stop in these things was almost impossible at any point you could have been rocketed to the main street and been collected by a car.

I also had a lot of electric toys in serbia, especially cars, and fire engines etc, but I wont bother mentioning them as I am sure they have been mentioned many times, besides I dissected just about every one of them to see how they 'worked' well after I was done with them thats one thing they never did.

As my conclusion for this article looking at the way kids pass time and have 'fun' nowadays, I cant help but feel sorry for them, I mean to them its the only way they know, and its fun for them, but you cant replace the mischief and the simpler times, when we made use of everything we could, spending hours with a towel... sorry cape, tucked under your shirt, daring your friend to jump of the shed because batman does it. Everything is politically correct now days, there is no mystery and most stuff we did as kids is classified 'dangerous'. I mean don't get me wrong, I played my sega master system as a kid, but it was always limited, and besides I couldn't do it all day, we were too busy thinking of new adventures and wacky ideas like wanting to build a go kart, making sling shots. I go out in my neighborhood now and don't see any kids on the playgrounds, no one is playing marbles, trying to see what burns with a magnifying glass, looking for that playboy stash under dads bed (reference from another article here :) everything is accessible, and everything is online multiplayer, you dont even need to call your friends over to see whos the best in street fighter or mortal kombat, hey why, now just play it online...the worse part of all ... the streets are empty.

Thank you for reading!

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