The art of child's play

16:00, Oct 27 2012

My wife, Zanta, is 31 years old. I think she's too young to be trying to recapture her youth but it hasn't stopped her. Now, she hasn't gone for hair extensions, hem elevations, plastic surgery or shoulder pads. It's not her appearance, it's more she's trying to live a life that closely resembles her childhood.

She grew up near the beach in New Plymouth. We now live near the beach in New Plymouth. Her mother would wheel her around town on a bike with a seat on the back. We now own a similar bike although it's not seen out and about with the same frequency.

Her first car was a 1965 Hillman Superminx, snifter green. Her mother scribbled an eight over the three on the warrant of fitness sticker to get another five months out of it. We probably need a second car and that's the one she wants. I think we should get something boring and reliable like a Toyota Corolla but Zanta values nostalgia over silly things like reliability and running costs.

Zanta grew up with a golden retriever called Sandy. It may have been her best friend. They did everything together, even retrieving rocks with their mouths. When Sandy died Zanta never replaced her, never wanted to, until last week when I did a story on the telly about another golden retriever, called Finn.

Finn lives in Otaki and flats with Viv Klasseen. Viv has muscular dystrophy so Finn does all the things she can't, like grabbing the phone, turning on the lights, opening the gate and answering the door. Viv says Finn is the part of her that works. Thing is, Finn is getting a bit deaf and should really retire.

My wife wants Finn to use our new house as his retirement pad. I'm not so keen. Zanta thinks I'm cold hearted. I think I'm practical. It's the Toyota Corolla coming out in me.


In quiet moments of reflection I guess I too could be guilty of trying to recreate my childhood or even worse, create the one my mother couldn't afford. My mum raised me, my brother and my sister on the widow's benefit. She did a great job and we didn't go without anything except a trampoline and a BMX.

She would argue they weren't a necessity. They were all I wanted, especially as half my street had a BMX and spent Friday nights at the Gore BMX club. I rolled in on a Raleigh 20 and spent Friday nights alone.

So although my daughter is 3, she already owns a trampoline and a train set. She doesn't know how good she has it and I'm loving it too. I spend more time on the trampoline than her and I'm already thinking she will get more pieces for her train set at Christmas so I can extend the track through our lounge to the kitchen.

Childhood memories are difficult to shake off, they shape our lives forever.

This means I'm probably going to get my boy a BMX. We can spend Friday nights at the track erasing my painful childhood.

As for the dog, I'm sure my wife will eventually wear me down but I'm having no part of it. They can head to the beach and collect rocks by themselves. I'm sure our dentist will be pleased.

Hadyn Jones is a pragmatist and sometime nostalgic. He writes a fortnightly column.

The Dominion Post