Mitchell Street Memories

POEM: Mitchell Street Memories by Steven Taylor from Bury

by Northern Life

Running up Mitchell Street cobbles
After school, my Granddad and me
A race to get home to a roaring fire
And granddad making our tea

Mum and Dad got home much later
They both worked at factories nearby
And when they got in we’d all sit together
And tuck into Grandad’s meat pie.

There were twenty houses on our street
All facing a big factory wall
And we’d play every night until dark
On our bikes or kicking a ball

There wasn’t much on the streets back then
So it was safe to play out there alone
There were only two houses had cars at that time
And only one house with a phone

My school was just at the end of our block
That suited me just fine
Cos every morning I didn’t set off
Till the clock said one minute to nine

There was plenty to do after school
I’d go out with my mate and his dogs
We’d go looking around in the nearby ponds
For newts and tadpoles and frogs

In summer we’d be out on the fields
For hours on end playing cricket
With a bat and a ball that I got off my dad
And an oil drum we used as a wicket.

As time went on things changed
And we changed somewhat too
No cricket or football after school now
We had much better things to do

There was fashion and music and youth clubs
Buying records and playing them loud
Going out in your flares and Ben Sherman shirt
Trying to stand out from the crowd.

Wednesdays and Fridays at Elton Youth Club
Smoking and having a dance
Chatting to any girl that would listen
While trying to find some romance.

The lad who looked the oldest
Would get us some booze from the pub
And we’d all sit around in a gang with the girls
In the dark at the back of the club

I went back to that Mitchell Street house
And everything had changed
There were two cars outside every door
And the factory was all rearranged

Everyone now had telephones
And dishes out on the wall
It wasn’t safe to ride a bike
And no one played out at all

The park was locked up and no one could play
No balls being kicked around
And on the corner to break my heart
The youth club had been knocked down

Black and white images transform into colour
As new buildings replace all the old.
And memories play lots of tricks with the mind
And those endless hot summers now seemed cold

Hang on to your childhood memories
Cos things tend to change too fast
And always remember the fun that you had
Cos they’ll take away your past.

They were times that were fondly remembered
And always bring a tear to the eye
And if I close my eyes and think really hard
I can still smell Grandad’s meat pie.