79 Radcliffe Road – the corner of childhood and youth

20 Apr

Writing 101, Day 11 – Where did you live when you were 12 years old? Use various lengths of sentences to describe it.

I was 12 years old in 1984. Reading Orwell’s version of 1984 in his high school English class was my ‘Big Brother,’ but I was only interested in important issues like, “Who you gonna call?” Ghostbusters; ending child slavery with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; exercising the right to be Footloose and fancy free; and at all costs, not being caught dead in front of the television with my parents present when Madonna sang ‘Like a Virgin.’ Not the ‘V’ word! How embarrassing. She might as well just sing, “SEX, SEX, SEX!”

My parents, older brother, black and white toy poodle Muffy and I lived in a spacious two-storey house on the busy corner of Radcliffe and Oberlin roads in the community of Fort Richmond. The south end of Winnipeg was comprised of quiet suburban neighbourhoods close to the University of Manitoba. It bored me. I wanted to go downtown.

I had a room that many little girls would only dream of. I know, looking back on it, that I was doted on, quite spoiled!

The shag rug in my bedroom was the colour of grass, which was perfect for playing with Smurfs on. I chose wallpaper with a small rosebud motif. The walls were separated into upper and lower sections. The lower half had a secondary wallpaper pattern creating vertical lines and the illusion of wainscoting. I collected plush wall and ceiling hangings – an acrobat, a hot air balloon, a clown sailing into the air with a fist full of balloons – that created three-dimensional texture and fairy tale fantasy that I stared up at from under the bed comforter.

My parents bought me a three-piece bedroom set in all-white wood with gold-coloured knobs. My paternal grandmother embroidered a white linen runner edged with lace with pink, yellow and bright blue flowers that sat on the vanity. In summer, a mourning dove cooed from its nest in a backyard pine tree outside my window.

In 1984, I was transitioning from child to teenager. My parents created a room perfect for a princess but I was a tomboy with a penchant for punk rock and social justice. I tucked a ghetto blaster into the white, wooden headboard so that I could reach up at night and play my mixed tapes through foam ear phones until I fell asleep. Upon the walls and wicker rattan wall unit, two worlds began to collide – little girl knick-knacks and teenage mementos.

Out with Pete’s Dragon, Raggedy Ann and the Muppets. In with Purple Rain, Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go! A child of the 70s becoming a youth in the 80s.


Posted by on April 20, 2015 in PonderQs


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3 responses to “79 Radcliffe Road – the corner of childhood and youth

  1. oneta hayes

    April 20, 2015 at 4:04 am

    I enjoyed your telling of your changing age from little girl to teen. Nice viewpoint from which to write your memories.

  2. Christoph_Orr

    April 20, 2015 at 10:16 am

    The important issues in the first paragraph are brilliant. Nice job!

    • CurlyQ

      April 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you for the feedback! It was fun to remember some of the pop culture from 1984.


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