My Childhood

When I was twelve, I looked forward to Friday nights. I lived in Toronto’s Little Italy where our neighborhood featured markets, shops and cafés specializing in Italian goods and cuisine. Our neighborhood also had a theater featuring movies shipped directly from the old country. It was there my dad would take me every Friday night to enjoy some one on one time away from the family. I believe it is also there my fondness for films emerged.

Movie theater
Movie theater

For today’s Freedom Friday, allow me the liberty to tell you about this part of my life.

Before the age of ten, I grew up in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the city. The school I went to was once voted the worst school in all of Toronto by a group of concerned citizens. My family eventually moved out of there and took up residence in Little Italy. It was a great place to live, school nearby, lots of places to play, and I had plenty of friends.

My dad made it a habit to build traditions in our family as a means to bond us to certain times of the year. Saturday nights were big at our house. It was Hockey Night in Canada night and should there have been a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, God forbid, it would have been the most epic night of the week.

The other big night was Friday night. My favorite. My mom would make something quick for us to eat—typically a soup, a plate of sandwich meats and bread, or simply a bowl of pasta—so that we could leave as soon as we finished eating. The theater was down the street from us and it took about fifteen minutes to walk there.

My mom always made sure I brought a sweater; even if it was during the hot summer months. She always said it would get cold in the theater. She was right. I still remember that to this day where I sometimes bring a sweater with me to the theater—yes, even in the sweltering months of summer.

I loved the walk there with my dad. We talked about silly things a nosey kid like me liked talking about. A thing like where we would sit when we got there was a hot topic. I wanted to sit to the side and he wanted to sit in the middle. So imagine where we sat. Nowadays, I love the middle. It’s the best seat in the theater.

The Spaghetti Western
The Spaghetti Western

Once we arrived, we’d check the movie posters. If any of them were a spaghetti western, I’d be jumping on the spot with excitement. It wasn’t hard for him to figure out which one we’d see.

From there, the other events are a blur. I remember the popcorn he’d buy me, the seats we sat in and the waiting in anticipation. Sometimes the theater would have a cartoon showing before the movie, which made the evening even more exciting.

After the film, and having found our way outside, the fresh air that hit my face was incredible. I can never forget the sensation of walking back home with gunslingers on my mind. My dad always got a kick from seeing me excited talking about the best parts of the film. How can I forget such a memorable evening?

I suppose I should have given this article a title like, “My Dad,” or “Movie Night,” but in actuality, calling it anything else other than “My Childhood” wouldn’t have made sense to me. Although it’s a snippet in time, I think you get a good idea of what my early life was like reading this.

I was an ordinary kid with my whole life ahead of me. Isn’t that the way childhood should be?

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Do you have fond memories of your childhood you’d like to share?

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13 thoughts on “My Childhood

  1. I too spent many an afternoon in the movie theater. My parents thought this was quality time but they never went. They sent me in for a quarter. Two movies and a ton of cartoons. But I had a bag of food with me and sat there alone, eating and watching.

    • I did the same thing when I lived in Italy as a child. Went with my cousin watching old movies. It was an awesome time. All the kids were there for a Sunday afternoon and we were all gorging on popcorn and treats. What an amazing time!

      • I envy you. I was alone. It was not pleasant being sent out to be babysat by the movies. The ushers knew who I was but they did not say anything to me. It was me and Abbot and Costello, and cartoons, one after another.

  2. A very vivid account of your childhood. I find that as I get older the wider picture of childhood fades leaving very vivid specific details.

    Some of the things I remember are the special shopping trip just before Christmas and stocking up on Airfix kits and Top Trumps. The two week fascination with tennis during Wimbledon and all of us piling down to the only grass tennic court in the borough. And the Saturday night sequence on television: The Generation Game (game show), Starsky and Hutch, Match of the Day (football) and finishing off with Parkinson (chat show).

    None of my best childhood memories involve even a minute of school. They’re all evenings, weekends and holidays.

    Chris

    ps now that you mention Little Italy I’ve always meant to ask how your surname is pronounced: ‘Flacho’ or ‘Flacko?’

  3. I just wrote about being an adult and missing that part of my life…that was sometimes rushing to be an adult….what a twisted fate.

  4. Hiking in the mountains, visits to the drug store ( Which had a comic book rack that had the latest adventures of Batman, Superman, Spider – man, as well as Gold Key comics, Classics Illustrated & MAD Magazine ), annual Harlem Globetrotter games which had become something of a thing for my dad & I. My mom, listening to SW radio receiver until the wee hours of the morning, a gazillion other things.

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