Radio 4's Winifred Robinson recalls her own happy childhood in Liverpool's Norris Green estate and returns to investigate how it could have become the scene of a turf war between rival drugs gangs - blamed for the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones.
It was in the early 1960s - when I was just five - that we moved to a wonderful council estate called Norris Green.
Norris Green suburb was built to rehouse tenants from the inner city
It was conceived in the 1920s when the City Fathers of the then Liverpool Corporation had a bold, confident vision of how to improve the lot of the people who were then described not as the underclass but as the working poor.
Thousands of new homes were set out in spacious avenues, each with three and four bedrooms, bathrooms, hot running water and - crucially for young families - gardens front and back where children could play.
I still admire the people who, back then, lived and worked on the estate.
They were hard-working, God-fearing, ambitious for their children and selfless in putting the needs of others first.
So what can have changed things so utterly in such a short time?
White paint was thrown over Linda Bieri's house and garden
Last week, I went to meet a resident whose home had been attacked for the second time in as many nights.
Vandalism doesn't accurately describe what greeted us, the attack was so much more vicious and personal than that word implies.
An immaculately kept front garden with its pots of flowers and beds of lavender and roses had been completely destroyed, drenched in a white gloss paint that indelibly scarred the pretty stone pathway to the door.
The same gloss paint had been hurled against the front window and the door itself had its window smashed.
The tenant, Linda Bieri, a middle-aged woman who lives alone, was standing on the pathway distraught.
Mrs Bieri was one of three residents who gave evidence at a court hearing where a young thug on the estate was given an Asbo, an anti social behaviour order.
Although scores of others gave written statements complaining about threats, abusive behaviour and criminal damage, housing officials had pleaded for witnesses willing to testify in person.
"The Asbo lasted three years," she told me "and we've had some peace because you can go to prison for breaching an Asbo and they know that. But now the Asbo has expired and in their minds, it's payback time."
Linda Bieri's son's car was also vandalised in the attack
The home of the second witness in the case had also had windows smashed. I was told the third witness had left Norris Green long ago.
Mrs Bieri was still shaking with fright when she was visited by the local community policeman who offered advice on how best to remove the paint, suggesting a power hose. There was no hint that anyone was likely to get their collar felt.
'No-one can touch them'
Later we spoke about the case to Councillor Collin Eldridge, the executive member for Community Safety on the Lib-Dem run Liverpool City Council.
He was, he said, heartily sorry for people like Mrs Bieri who are victims of anti social behaviour but the only answer was to try to gather fresh evidence for another Asbo.
He conceded that it could take months and when I asked him why the perpetrators are not evicted, he told me that it is a matter for the judge who takes the circumstances of an offender's whole family into account and will be unwilling to evict if for example, there are other younger children.
Allan Devon was a professional musician in the 60s and has lived all his life in Norris Green, raising two sons who have both done well. He has helped set up an after school art club for local children and worked with Liverpool City Council to try to reduce crime in the area.
"You see what we have to put up with," he said. "Everyone in authority you speak to tells you the same thing, that their hands are tied."
"The thugs have got more rights now than us. They think no one can touch them and they're right. The people who get the Asbos don't get evicted."
"It's the decent people who have to move out, who have to give up homes they have worked hard to do up and it's all wrong."
The causes of the problems today on estates such as Norris Green are complex and include unemployment and fractured families. But the catalyst that has turned misfortune into mayhem is the advent of the drug dealers.
Now every estate has its dealers. They are well-known locally because they have money to splash out on designer goods and top-of-the-range cars, but no legitimate jobs that could bring those rewards.
But it is the recruitment of young teenagers that has made the violence so extreme.
One father I know said people should understand that they were kids running wild, children in the pay of drug dealers, dangerous precisely because they fear no one and are too stupid to understand that when you pull the trigger death is for good.
He was full of praise for the police officers now flooding the area and explained that a big police operation a year ago led to many being jailed but "a younger group has come up to take their place." He wouldn't give me a taped interview, because he was afraid for his own safety and that of his wife and family.
In my childhood, we knew no one who had been to prison and when I left Norris Green in the early 80s, drugs were still something only hippies took. We wouldn't begin to know where to buy them.
My mother would always caution against seeing the past in too rosy a hue. She'd remind us that there were always families who couldn't cope with life's pressures, people who had mental breakdowns, who drank and let their children run amok, people who didn't know how to behave.
Pensioner John Jones was robbed on the street by teenage girls
But in the past, if standards of good behaviour were not set at home, when children stepped outside, a whole host of confident adults were there to impose order; they included neighbours, teachers, police and the local vicars and priests.
An old family friend reminded me how her son Billy had been dragged in off the streets by a bobby and hauled before his parents where he was given a dressing down for being a vandal. He had been caught hitting a lamp post with a stick.
The vast majority of good people in Norris Green are still doing their best for their children despite the horror the drug dealers have wrought.
I spoke to lots of people who long to see authority restored and who want urgent action. They fear that without it, the villains will eventually outnumber the decent people in Norris Green. They long for a radical vision like the one that built the estate all those years ago and they fear that without it there will be many more young casualties.
Winifred Robinson presents Return to Norris Green at 1330BST on Sunday 9 September on Radio 4.