Memory - at least short-term memory - seems to go the older one gets - but I understand begins to fade around the age of sixty. I will hazard a guess that all of you over sixty can relate to the idea of going into the kitchen, sitting room or somewhere and then standing in the doorway and thinking 'what have I come for?' Yet the self-same people can usually recall events that happened in their childhood (but maybe not with the accuracy they think - if they ask another person involved in the same incident memories are often very different.) We remember what we want to remember really - or what we particularly notice at the time.
I love clothes - always have done - and can remember outfits from very early in my childhood.
But memories are precious aren't they - even if they are not altogether accurate - and especially precious if the people involved are no longer with us. They may not be altogether accurate but they are like mental photographs and do recall precious moments. Here are a few of mine - many only perhaps a couple of seconds long.
My mother: always slightly in awe of her inlaws, her father in law (my Grandad Smithson) died and his funeral service and burial took place in our village. I was too young to go to the funeral so stayed with a neighbour and she provided me with a stool so that I could stand by the window and watch the funeral procession go by. The coffin with the flowers all round went past on the hearse and then came the mourners in the funeral cars. As the car carrying my parents passed my mother looked out of the back window of the car. I waved frantically - she gave me a very disapproving look. I can still remember that look.
My father: Loved poetry and knew a lot of it by heart having gone to school in the days when it was 'fashionable' to learn poems by heart. One of his favourites was Robert Southey's 'The Battle of Blenheim' and I can still clearly hear his voice saying ''tis some poor fellows skull said he, who died in the great victory."
My sister: twenty two years older than me (same parents) lived in the same village. Even at a very young age I played the piano. I remember sitting at her piano in the sitting room one day. My favourite fruit in those days (sound, healthy teeth of course) was apples and their Cox's Orange Pippin tree in their newly planted orchard had fruited (8 apples) for the first time that year. All eight sat in an orange Shelley bowl on the small table by the piano. As I played away I also ate my way through all eight apples, leaving just the cores in the bowl. I was not popular.
My brother: For a time my brother and I worked for the same company in different offices but easily contacted by phone. One day, when my first husband and I had been married for five years , he rang me from his office to say that the family had been talking and that he had been asked to ring me on their behalf to suggest that they thought it was time we 'produced a family'. I was already pregnant at the time but had no thought of telling him until we were ready to do so. From then on he always assumed that his 'pep talk' had produced results.
My first husband. One of our favourite places to visit and not all that far from our home in Wolverhampton for many years, was Stokesay Castle in Shropshire. On one visit we admired a plant in full flower in the small but perfectly formed garden. My husband asked the curator what it was but he didn't know. When we got home my husband looked it up in one of our many gardening books - it was Osteospermum and I wrote a postcard telling him. Several years later we visited the Castle again and my husband asked him if he had got the postcard - he was delighted to at last know who had sent it. Since then I always have an Osteospermum in my garden - it reminds me of the occasion.
The farmer. One very bad winter when there had been a lot of snow we went round the fields one afternoon, walking along the side of the stone walls a feature of The Yorkshire Dales, to see if any of our sheep had been sheltering during the snowstorm and had got buried where the snow had drifted against the wall. We didn't find any but as we walked along, close to the wall, we saw a stoat - not its usual brown colour but the pure white - ermine - the colour a stoat's coat changes to during very snowy weather. It was the first - and indeed - the only time the farmer had ever experienced this and he never forgot it.
Just a few snippets of memories - can you recall any to share with us?