Growing up, there were always certain places that I loved the most. To escape school was the best feeling, and where I went next was always an adventure. There was my attic, dark and full of terrors at night; but by day it was an African plains filled with plastic animals, or a doll house village full of drama. If not there, then my front garden – home of the Olympic tree jumping track, or bicycle taxi route. But if it was a Monday, I went to Morag’s.
Morag’s was where I met my best friend Sarah. This is Sarah, the cool kid with the sunglasses:
At Morag’s, we were the ‘big kids’ – meaning the older ones. We were Morag’s first kids, arriving at one year old, and staying friends ever since. Later, we would come in from our different schools, pick up where we had left off (being teachers, dentists, or seeing who could go highest on the swing); then after what felt like hours and hours , we’d sit down to dinner with all the kids and Morag. The pizza was always my favourite.
Now I can’t say much for nurseries – I never went. But I can say that some of my happiest childhood memories come from days spent playing at Morag’s. We went on daytrips to farms and to the swimming pool with the wave machine – and sometimes we would go to soft play centres and Morag would have the best sing-along tape cassettes in the car!
It’s funny, because there are pictures of me on one of the first days my Mum left me at Morag’s. I wasn’t happy, and I knocked Morag’s glasses off her face in a small child’s tantrum. Fast forward a decade and I cried the night I was told it might be time to stop going to Morag’s, even though I could always visit. I never wanted to stop going.
Yesterday, something unexpected happened. It felt like being in a time capsule – and I loved it and hated it at the same time. Morag retired this summer, and as a surprise Sarah organised a party at her house with as many of the kids as we could find. We didn’t quite catch ’em all (it was a lot harder than finding Pokemon, believe me), but lots of us turned up to say thank you to one of our favourite people.
I heard Morag’s familiar laugh as she walked into the house, and then I had to hold back the tears as I saw her expression as she spotted each of her kids one by one. It was odd seeing the youngest generation of kids who I had never met before. It was even stranger seeing the young adults who were just babies when I saw them last. I even overheard one of the Mums saying she had been trying frantically to find another Morag. Well I’m sorry, it just isn’t possible.
A Morag comes once in a lifetime, and I’m so lucky that I had one.