Sunday, 9 March 2014

Childhood Memories

A post I read via Feedly this morning got me thinking about photographs.

They talked a bit about the modern technology of today, where, via Google Maps street view, you can revisit places that have special memories for you.  Via this medium, you can revisit childhood homes, old schools, the houses of old friends, and every other place that was once important to you, and the centres of your very existence.

This led me to thinking about photographs.

Children today live in a different world, when it comes to photography.  With pocket cameras, and decent phone cameras, every moment is “snap-able” in an instant.  This wasn’t the case in my childhood.  Even 20 years ago, photos were reserved for “occasions”.  Birthdays, holidays, family get-togethers, Christmases.  There aren’t that many of the “every day” moments that children today get snapped doing.  That being said, Mum was pretty snap-happy, and there are some.  And we are extremely lucky to have quite a large collection of video clips from big sister aged approx. 6 months, up to me about age 8 (which continued on and off until I was about 12, before stopping completely for unknown reasons).  I love to watch those videos and have done for many, many years.  I have also observed with interest how MY interest in them has changed and evolved as I’ve gotten older.

Anyway, I found myself today, thinking of the things that don’t exist in photographs.


^ This was my first childhood home. 

Things that aren’t photographed:

  • In my mind, it is always sunny in Combwich.  In virtually every memory of the place, it is warm and sunny.  In the two times I have visited since moving away 25 years ago, it has been blazing sun, so I have no reason to think it is anything BUT sunny in that little Somerset village.
  • The day I “ran away”, got about 200 feet down the road with my pink cotton-lined straw basket, only to turn and see Dad meandering down the opposite side of the road behind me.  He suggested I “play running away in the back garden”, to which I enthusiastically agreed.
  • Being in the house of an old woman down the road, who dressed Hazel and I in old fashioned outfits to sell lavender sachets at church events.
  • Walking to the local shop, over the bridge, with my 20p pocket money, to buy penny sweets.
  • Keeping my pocket money in an old Boots prescription paper bag.
  • Being pulled across the school playground in a hurricane by an 11 year old, to go to the toilets.
  • Getting my foot stuck under a cupboard at school, and being too embarrassed to ask the teacher for help.
  • Not being able to spell the word “a”.  Getting confused, crying, and being told to go and play with the Barbies instead.
  • Failing to work out how to put on a t-shirt so that the logo was on the front.
  • The cheesy biscuits they would occasionally serve in the home corner at playgroup.
  • My weekly bag of Monster Munch to eat in the car on the way home from shopping. 
  • One week, instead of my usual Monster Munch, I got a Double Decker chocolate bar, and didn’t much like it.  Regretted the purchase.
  • Seeing Pound Puppy for the first time in a shop in Bridgwater.  Wanted it immediately.  Got it for my birthday some time later.  Still have Pound Puppy today.  She’s asleep in my bedroom.
  • Enjoyed playing a game that consisted of wrapping up my toys in scarves, like they were presents.  Being confused that mum didn’t seem to enjoy the game as much as me, very quickly getting bored and making excuses to go elsewhere.  One of the first times I realised that people might not always like the same things as me.
  • Dancing in the dining room to my nursery rhymes record.
  • Using the cassette tape flap as a home for my playmobil people, and getting a shoe stuck in there.
  • Dad spilling gravy on my head.
  • Sitting on the loo, thinking that I’d been 3 for a really long time.
  • Visiting “the maze” at the bottom of the road.  I liked it there, even though there was a bit where you had to step over a bit of water, which made me nervous.
  • Running ahead one day during a trip to the maze, and falling over.  Regretted running ahead when mum wasn’t immediately there to pick me up.
  • At the park, trying to swing as high as possible to see over the bank.  Never quite got mum to push hard enough.
  • Being jealous that Zoe at playgroup’s hair was long enough to fit through the toy bridal veil we had.
  • Taking my cup of apple squash to playgroup, because I didn’t much care for milk OR water.
  • Standing on the bank at the back of our house, nervous because it seemed to slope into the water very steeply, so clinging tightly to the chain-link fence, but not wanting to miss seeing the ducklings/goslings.  Always a little relieved to get back into our mercifully flat garden.
  • Winning at races at the playgroup we had to drive to.  Because all the other children were disabled.  I did indeed go to a playgroup for children with special needs.  And it never once dawned on me that the other kids there had anything different about them.  The same goes for Jack, who lived in our village.  A year older than me, and badly burnt in a barbeque explosion.  To us kids, he was just “Jack”.  Yes, he looked different, but not “bad different”.  Just different.  So innocent.
  • Getting bored during Sports Day and wandering off with a friend to ride tricycles around the playground, with no adult supervision.  Found some time later by an adult, who was very unbothered to find two 5-year olds unaccompanied on the playground, whilst the rest of the school were on the field.
  • Wearing an eye patch to school to help my lazy eye.  Realising that during “hands together and eyes closed” prayer time in assembly, that I could shut one eye, and keep the eye behind my patch open.  It felt like the ultimate in rebellion.  I was meant to take it off mid-morning, but often forgot, finding myself still wearing it as I played outside at lunch time.
  • Must have been one of my first days at school, playing with a duck in the water tray and wondering why parents were still hanging around and some children were crying.

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