"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Monday, 27 June 2011

Take care of all your memories.

Its really too hot to work, so have been chatting on Facebook and I happened to remark how depressing I found a comment just heard on the radio:

Windchimes always remind me of my Nan

Being a great windchime lover [yes I have them all over the house and garden] I always thought they expresed our hippy past rather than our increasing seniority! Although I do remember when first putting up a bamboo chime in the garden nderneath our bedroom window just before going to bed one hot night, Other Half getting up in a temper at about 3am as its lovely tones were keeping him awake...

I went on to comment that Yardleys Old English Lavender Water reminded me of my two Nans - and I have also been searching the net ever since to try and find pictures of those fly traps that were cardboard pictures of things like budgerigars or kittens in a basket which hung from the ceiling [we are talking circa 1955 btw!]

So a thread developed about what sparks off memories. A smell can take one back years. My mother wasn't a great one for cosmetics, but there was a certain face cream my mother used which I have very rarely smelt since a child - but if I ever catch a whiff of it - wow! And my Dad - well there was the smell of the wood in his wardrobe mixed with the sort of moth balls they used way back then - that sounds awful but was actually rather nice!

I am not a foody person so cooking smells don't do a lot for me - but that smell of candy floss at the sea side or fair, or better still - toffee apples. My mother used to make these and I do remember one batch she made and when we came down the next morning they were covered with ants who had also been unable to resist the smell..

My two grandfathers: the English one was 'Granfer' and had whiskery stubble on his cheeks which I laughed to rub my cheeks against. I think that began my love of bearded men! [Other Half, Brian Blessed...] My Welsh one: Granfa [note spelling difference] had such a round face and smile and used to talk to me about piano playing. Both passed over too soon.

Strawberry smells remind of the day I got home from school and found the house empty but smelling deliciously of strawberries. I couldn't find a relative or a strawberry - but to be honest I was most worried about the latter. I was in the fortunate position in those days to live next door to more family and it eventually turned out that a new baby had just been born and thus everyone had left my house for next door. So the smell of strawberries reminds me of that cousin! [The strawberries were eventually found in our house, neatly turned into pots of jam. And I can't stand jam!]

My father died when I was a teenager so I never really got to know him as a person rather than a 'Dad'. But when I find an old book with his signature in it I feel close to him, finding a little bit of his character in his choice of books. And his writing was so appalling because he was a lobby correspondent and never learnt shorthand - used his own system and wrote very quickly! I have always loved seeing Eldest Son doing jig-saws because it reminded me that as a child if I left a jig-saw unfinished overnight, when my father got home from reporting on parliamentary matters he would finish it!

When my mother died and we cleared out the loft and emptied the house two things that had to go to the tip upset me . One was the old electric radiator that used to get wheeled into my bedroom every time that I was ill - very often in the 1950s as I was asthmatic! - and the other was the suitcase that came down from the loft at holiday time. It still had some of the stickers on it from when we sent it on ahead by train [before the years of the car!] The suitcase was old and tatty, although Other Half offered to keep it I couldn't inflict it on him!

The last thing that we took out of that house was one of my mother's evening dresses that had somehow survived from the 1960s/70s. Eldest Daughter had worn it to a legal ball when at uni and I couldn't send it to the charity shop somehow. A couple of years later Youngest Daughter decided that she would like to wear it to her school prom. Youngest Daughter being shorter than Eldest Daughter and my mother meant considerable work had to be done by me to get it to fit but I managed somehow. I bought Youngest Daughter a pair of smart sandals to go with the dress - but being ever the individul she decided to wear a pair of pink converse boots with it! I must admit she looked good, but since I worked in the school at the time I got fed up with other teachers telling me the following week what a good idea that had been and threatened to put a note on the staff room notice board with the receipt for the sandals on it!

My children never seemed to remember the things/outings/events we thought that they would - the trips to places of interest, educational visits etc etc. But they do remember me turning a film off before the end and telling them the [false] happy ending. And Youngest Daughter embarassed herself in front of her driving instructor when she refused a wine gum because she thought it contained alcohol. [That was one of Other Half's jokes when she was very young] Plus the driving instructor was his best friend so that was a double embarassment for him]

My grandchildren [eldest aged nine] are already savouring memories - and what odd things they remember - never what one hopes! Eldest grandaughter remembers 'the lovely meal' I cooked on holiday once - my sphag bol which is one of the only things I can cook and really doesn't rate that highly in culinary terms! Eldest grandson on visiting the holiday town we hadn't visited for nearly a year remembered exactly the position of the shop which sold delicious fudge. Are children's memories always food induced?

Funny what things spark our memories isn't it! As Bob Dylan said:

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them

I am not on my usual computer so can't access my photos. I hope I have downloaded a link to 'Memories' from the musical 'Cats'.

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