Posts Tagged ‘Memory’

Please Let Me Go Home

August 6, 2013 16 comments

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.

Hoodies, parkas and a change in perception

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Every time I see a group of kids hanging around wearing hoodies, I feel a bit anxious. Why? I don’t know. Mostly, they’re just hanging around, talking and having harmless fun. But it’s not the way we looked when we were kids, I’m sure. And something about that makes me think something sinister’s going on – there’s going to be trouble.

Then I thought back to my childhood days. Yes, we dressed differently to the kids today, but we also dressed differently to the previous generation. And what did that previous generation think of us? The way I remember, we were just mucking about, having fun. Some of us had parkas, some of us those snorkel jackets, those ones where if you zipped up the hood it stuck miles out the front making you look like a reject from Jabba the Hutt’s Tatooine palace. We wore our jackets just by the hoods; they streamed out behind us like capes as we tore around the neighbourhood on our bicycles.

We must have looked like right tearaways, maybe even instilling a little unease. How different were we from the kids of today?

So what’s changed? Me and my perceptions. Before you know it I’ll be prefixing all my complaints with “When I was young…”.

False memories?

August 21, 2011 2 comments

Memories. They’re funny things.

Generally rock solid just after the fact, but they tend to change over time. Eventually they can become less a memory, more a fantasy. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve re-read a book after several years, only to find that I’ve vastly exaggerated the ending in my own head. The same goes for films.

Then there’s old TV series. When I watch them now, they’re not nearly as good as I remember. But then, I’m basing them on a child’s memories.

So now I have to wonder about the weather. I’m firmly convinced that “summers were better when I was a kid”. Of course, being able to constantly moan that the past was better is one of the cool things about getting older. But is it true about the weather? Sure, 1976 was an amazing summer. It was a drought, with associated hosepipe bans and whatnot, but all I remember is fun summer days. Was it always great in August or was is usually like it is now? 20 degrees, raining, occasionally we see the sun. People are wearing coats. Last week it got warm and my flat and I opened a window, wondering what was going on. Then I realised that it’s mid-August – isn’t it supposed to be like this?

I think it did used to be better. But that’s only what I remember.