Monday, 5 October 2015

Memories

Writing yesterday about memories and how times have changed set me off thinking during the evening.  I also remembered a very unhappy memory that John (Going Gently) had written about the other week concerning his childhood.

Did I have any unhappy memories I asked myself?  Well I do remember a walloping I got for running round next door when I was about four and reporting something my mother had remarked about them to my father.  Luckily the lady concerned was quite amused by it; but she did tell my mother, who was most embarrassed and gave me a real walloping for doing it (I never did such a thing again and I can't say it hurt my feelings all that much).
Some years later, when I was about nine or ten, a really terrible thing happened - and with hindsight I was so grateful that my mother shielded me from the worst of it.

Our neighbour (yes, the same one) was by this time a widow and lived with her sister, who was blind.   Both were approaching ninety.   One day when my mother and I were both upstairs for some reason we heard the sister calling us.  She had felt her way round, being unable to see and she asked us to come quickly as 'Lizzie had had an accident'.   My mother ran down the path with me in hot pursuit.   As my mother rounded the corner she turned and shouted to me to go back home, go indoors and shut the door and not to come out for any reason whatsoever.  Her command was so stern that I did as I was told immediately.

What had happened was that Lizzie had over-pumped the Primus stove and it had blown up in her face.   Her hair caught fire and she ran outside into a breezy day.   Within second her clothes were well alight.   My mother, seeing this as she rounded the corner, obviously    wanted to shield me from the worst sight you could imagine.   Although mother wrapped Lizzie in a rug and smothered the flames, she died later in the day.

My mother was a strong woman and a wonderful mother to me - my father also adored me and spent hours playing pencil and paper games with me, or walking in the countryside looking for birds' nests or finding wild flowers.

But there was one occasion which, after all these years, still hurts when I think about it.  When I was around nine, and a terrible chatterbox, always being told to talk less, the 'craze' of the moment was Autograph Albums.   You got all your friends to write little verses in them and took them to school to pass around.

I wanted one for my birthday - and I was thrilled to get one - a dark green one with gold-edged pages.  That evening, when my brother and his wife and my sister and her husband were there for my party cake, I asked everyone to write in it.   It was such an exciting moment until I saw what they had all written.   I can't remember all the poems/rhymes/sayings - but I remember two, which cut me to the quick.  Somebody had written 'Give thy thoughts no tongue' and somebody else had written, 'Silence is golden, speech is silvern'.  There were more, all along the same lines.   I never took that book to school; I hid it at the back of the drawer - and it still hurts a little.

18 comments:

jinxxxygirl said...

You know sometimes people just don't realize what will cut you to the core. I'll bet your family thought they were being clever and never dreamed it would hurt you so much. I did not have a pleasant childhood... but i find it best not to dwell. There are happy moments and those are the ones i cling to. Hugs! deb

donna baker said...

Altogether, it sounds like a wonderful childhood. I don't know why the negative memories are the ones that seem to stick, but that is a common occurrence I believe.

Terry and Linda said...

I don't know WHY people have to be mean...it breaks my heart. When I grew up I was the victim of bullying...and by my Mother's very best friend (an adult) and her oldest daughter, the other daughter was my best friend and sister of my heart for all her life. Anyway the bullying went on always, even after I was married (if I were to run into any of them and of course sometimes I did.) I try very hard now to never be in the same area (knowingly). Bullying is a very real thing and does tremendous damage.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Dawn McHugh said...

Unfortunately there are more bad than good from my childhood, but I don't let it hang round my neck and dwell on it, whats happened has happened there is nothing can be done to change it. I know a few people who have allowed a bad childhood to ruin there adult life carrying a chip around on there shoulders.

Heather said...

I can't remember anything really bad happening in my childhood apart from the time when we had turned a bike upside down to fix something and someone rotated the pedal by hand making the back wheel spin, not realising one of my cousins had poked his finger too near the spokes and thus lost half the said finger. I can't remember how old we were but possibly only about 9 or 10.

Doc said...

I only have one bad memory and that was when the doctor grabbed me by the head and pulled me out into the bright light. There were a whole lot of loud frightening noises and then they wrapped me in a nice warm blanket and life has been wonderful ever since. My twin brother can’t remember any of it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What sensible answers you have all given. I do so agree - no point in dwelling on the bad. I did once read somewhere that all parents make mistakes and their children will probably not make the same mistakes when bringing up the next generation - but they will make others.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I had a lovely childhood too. Ahh Autograph books. They were so the rage. Do you remember hoping to be the first in someone's book so that you could write "By hook or by crook I'll be first in this book ( or "Last" if you were beaten to it!) or "Roses are red, violets are blue, elastic flirts, and so do you" They are all coming back to me! Thanks for the memories Weave.

Rachel said...

Such is life.

Joanne Noragon said...

I like your synopsis of the remarks. I remember conscientiously trying not to repeat my parents' mistakes--physical punishment, fat shaming (as we call it now), belittleing. So, of course, I made my own.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

It's so easy to be callous, even with no intent in mind

Tom Stephenson said...

Oh Weave - children can be so unintentionally cruel. For what it's worth, I and many others love your golden words. Those kids were wrong.

Terra said...

That is a dramatic story of your mother protecting you from the burned neighbor. My mom and dad were great and protective parents, I am fortunate to say.

Mac n' Janet said...

Grown-ups often don't realize how cutting their words can be to a child or at least I hope they don't know. I have several bad memories and always tried to be a better parent to my child, though in retrospect I was less than perfect.

Cro Magnon said...

My sister had an Autograph Book, and she asked one of the nuns at her convent school to write something. The nun kept the book for about two weeks, then returned it with the most amazing Fairy watercolour painting in it. I wonder if she still has it.

The History Anorak said...

Health problems meant that I spent a lot of time in and out of hospital as a child. Some of my treatments were very painful, and my school mates could be very cruel, but oddly I remember my childhood as being happy. I know for a fact that some parts were awful and I have clear memories of a few particularly frightening hospital events. But the worst thing was adult pity.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have so enjoyed reading your comments here. I do love it so when a post generates a lot of interesting facts, so thank you for contributing.

Beverley said...
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