My favourite childhood gift is linked to my favourite holiday destination and family holiday memories. Rottnest Island is my happy place. I’ve been lucky enough to visit there almost every year since I was 2 years old. I have wonderful memories of family, friends, swimming at pristine bays, learning to ride my bike, cream buns at the bakery, lemon squash at the pub and night time quokka spotting with torches in my pyjamas and ugg boots.
The tradition continues today as Handy Hubby and I create new Rottnest holiday memories with Miss TT and Mr TT plus a bundle of our closest friends and their kids. We still swim at the bays, ride our bikes, eat treats from the bakery and quokka spot in our ugg boots. The lemon squash however has been replaced with wine, especially after 7pm bedtime for the kids.
I spent a few of my early birthdays on the island and it was in 1985 as a 7 year old that I received my most memorable gift, given to me by my parents. I even remember what wrapping paper it came in (little yellow chicks). I thought I was the coolest 7 year old on the island with my first and very own radio cassette player. It wasn’t a boombox that I could carry on my shoulder like the Rock Steady Crew but it was close enough.
To top it all off my 2 older sisters gave me my first cassette tape – an 80s mix compilation called 1985 Hottest On Record. I learnt every word to Power of Love (Huey Lewis and the News), Freeway of Love (Aretha Franklin) and Heaven (Bryan Adams). And there was even more gold from Tina Turner, The Pointer Sisters, Hoodoo Gurus, Uncanny X-Men and Eurthymics.
I would spend years playing tapes, listening to top 40 countdowns on the radio and creating mix tapes on that machine until CDs came along and changed the game.
Every time I visit Rottnest I remember my 7th birthday and that summer of 1985. It’s amazing how one gift and holiday memory can still make me feel so happy. I hope my kids relish these island holidays as much as I did and manage to create their own happy memories.
What was your favourite childhood gift?