Home > My Life Musings > Please Let Me Go Home

Please Let Me Go Home

Weekly Writing ChallengeYour earliest memory. Capture every detail. Document the quality of the memory — is it as sharp as HDTV or hazy and ethereal, enveloped in fog? Write for 10 minutes. Go.

I must have been around four years old. We were living at the first house I ever lived in and we left when I was five so that sounds about right.

Mum left my little brother and I with a good friend of hers to play, as she occasionally did. I’m sure we’d been there before, though everything from so long ago is pretty hazy.

I don’t remember anything about that visit apart from the very end – that is etched into my memory as if carved in stone.

My memory tells me that Mum’s friend held a cup of tea – it could have been coffee but I think it was tea – out to each of us. She said “Drink this or you can’t go home.” I was terrified. I wanted to go home to Mum.

I drank the tea. It was foul. I was only a toddler. Toddlers don’t drink tea. Toddlers drink juice or milk (I never drank milk and still don’t – it makes me sick).

We never went back to that house. Not ever.

Cup Of Tea Little Boy?

“Cup of tea, little boy?” by DraliDoodles
It’s a witch’s hat, OK? Shut Up. I don’t do hats.

Is this how it really happened? Probably not. This woman was a kind woman, a friend of the family. More than likely she said “Have some tea to drink before you go home.” I misconstrued.

Only now, as I write this, do I feel terribly guilty for the poor woman. Imagine inadvertently scaring a toddler so much that they refused to see you ever again?

Memories are tricky things. Although I am convinced that “I heard what I heard”, I have been similarly convinced that a film ended this way, or a book ended that way only to watch or read it decades later and discover that my mind has altered the ending. In my mind it ended the way I always wanted it to – now that I’ve rediscovered it I find that the ending is completely different. Disappointingly different.

My mind very probably twisted this innocent encounter into something sinister.

What can we trust if not our own minds?

Stop the clock…
Time to write: 8 minutes.
Proof-reading/editing: 4 minutes.
Draw/scan/format/upload doodle: 5 minutes.
Confession: I didn’t let this sit for a day as per the instructions. I didn’t want to spoil the thoughtless spontaneity.

  1. August 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t drink milk either. Neither does Garry. I used to drink tea, but not when I was 4. Maybe she should have offered coffee?


    • August 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      To be honest coffee might have made matters worse :-). Though I live on it now.
      I don’t know what it is with me and milk. Fine if it’s in cheese or something but on its own, or indeed in anything where I can taste it – no way!


  2. August 6, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    That witch looks like a Yankees player. Judging by the questionable substance in its hand, I’d say A-Rod, specifically.


    • August 6, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      I just Googled “Yankees” and it’s a baseball team I think, judging by the big glove the man in the picture is wearing, is that right?
      The first hit showed this “A-Rod” chap – he seems to be currently suspended for drugs violations – now I understand the “questionable substance”!

      Please forgive my English ignorance 🙂


      • August 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        Hahaha! I actually thought you may need to research that comment once I finished typing it! Oops – sorry!


        • August 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm

          No worries – I have heard of the “Yankees” but assumed they were an American Football team 🙂
          Now I know a new fact, and that’s a good thing!


  3. August 7, 2013 at 2:43 am

    Love this, Dr Ali! It’s interesting how we think we hear and see things when we’re little without the layers growing up gives us. Then we start questioning it and go, hmm…I’m sure she meant this instead of that…


    • August 7, 2013 at 6:20 am

      Glad you liked it!
      It’s a bit scary when you start to realise that some of the memories you’ve clung to all your life might have been a little bit very slightly made up, or at least blurred.


  4. August 8, 2013 at 8:35 am

    What did your mom think of it? Did she think you understood her friend wrong?


    • August 8, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I think she did think I misunderstood, but she never made us go back there because she knew we were frightened.
      I still feel sorry for the poor woman.


  5. August 8, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Is that the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?


    • August 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

      Yes, it could be! It certainly has a strong resemblance. It was going to be the Devil but I decided I couldn’t draw that. Then it was going to be a woman with horns but that sounded a bit hard as well. Now I don’t know what it is 🙂
      I forgot that hats go over the top of the head, they don’t perch right on top. It’s like I’m in infant school again. I’ll be drawing aeroplanes with the wings sticking out top and bottom next 🙂


  6. August 9, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Good story, good grief poor tortured childhood. Good doodle too. The striped shirt is also similar to the striped Yankee uniform.
    When my youngest was staying with Grandparents he wasted if he was homesick, he replied no. My parents later told me that and my feelings were hurt.
    Last year my son brought up that vacation and recalled being asked that question. He told me he thought they meant if he was sick of home. He remembered that question years later when I had forgotten. All he wanted was to come home. Childhood memories are confusing.


    • August 9, 2013 at 6:27 am

      It’s a shame you were hurt by what turned out to be a misunderstanding but it must be nice for it to have been sorted out! When you think about it, your youngest understood “homesick” very literally – it makes a lot of sense, but unfortunately English isn’t always that logical 🙂
      I always assumed my childhood memories to be completely accurate until I watched one of the TV programmes I mentioned and the ending I was so sure of was completely different. At least now I know that if my parents remember something differently, they’re not necessarily wrong!


  7. August 9, 2013 at 2:04 am

    *was asked v. wasted
    Apologies for long reply


    • August 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

      No apologies necessary – I always enjoy reading what you have written, and thank you for continuing to read my blog 🙂


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