I was enjoying a weekend lunch recently with a group of friends who are mostly over the age of 60 (one is turning 60 this year) when I asked the question: “What did you do on Saturdays in your early years?” It brought some very interesting, and surprising, stories. One friend had spent her childhood living in Fiji, and remembered going to the outdoor cinema where whites and native Fijians were segregated – I didn’t know that about Fiji before.
Another friend had spent many Saturday afternoons as a “runner” for her mother’s SP booking activities, what a surprise that was! Another had been a marching girl and before the days of mini skirts had turned quite a few heads as she walked to whatever event she was performing at on a Saturday afternoon in her marching girl outfit, which was pretty much a micro-mini skirt.
There were more stories and much laughter, and later the group of friends agreed that it had been one of the nicest lunch gatherings we’d had in quite a while. It got me thinking that by the time we reach our 60s we’ve enjoyed, survived or suffered through thousands of Saturdays.
My own childhood years were filled with Saturdays riding my treasured red Cyclops scooter with my best friend (hers had pump-up tyres and streamers in the handle-bars, very up-market), family days at the beach, or trips to the wood yard with my Dad to get supplies for his latest DIY project – once we got them home it was my job to hold that bit of wood while he tapped nails into it or fitted brackets onto it – that’s where the “suffering” was sometimes felt.
Later when I married quite young, at 21, I found myself within a few years sitting alone in a one-bedroom flat wondering what had happened to my Saturdays while my young husband was out at the pub drinking. As he would take the car (and drink and drive), I had limited choices as to where I could go on my own, so I bought a second-hand Honda 185cc motorbike and gave myself some freedom. One of my best friends also rode a bike and we had some great rides out of the city toward Windsor on various Saturdays.
I didn’t know the signs then of an alcoholic so lived through it for eight years before making a break. That’s when my life, and my Saturdays, took a turn for the better. I took up scuba diving with some friends and had the most fabulous weekends. In the first year I did 48 dives in 52 weeks. I kept a dive journal documenting all the beautiful and wondrous marine life I saw, the places we dived, and so wish I still had the journal now.
Some years later the adventures included doing a tandem jump off Bob’s Peak in Queenstown, New Zealand, where we glided quietly under a thin piece of silk 450 metres above the stunning Lake Wakatipu. The instructor had a film camera on a long pole, really one of the first selfie-sticks ever invented, and shot a role of film of our flight which he gave me once we landed. I still look at those photographs now and it gives me great pleasure to know that I had the courage to actually do the jump.
I have to say that Saturdays are no longer quite as adventurous these days, but still can be fun-filled and I’m never, ever bored.
And now I wonder, what did you do on the Saturdays of your life?