Reflections


The lovely Helen wrote a sweet little poem on her blog about a childhood memory and this has got me thinking back to random little memories of my own childhood. Moments that, no matter how trivial or insignificant they were, the memory has stayed with me.  It’s not always so much actual events that I remember best, but feelings.  And emotions and thoughts.  I suspect most of us do. 

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to my childhood as an adult and be a fly-on-the-wall…just to watch myself and my family.  As adults, we see things with a totally different pair of eyes than our childhood eyes.  And how good would it be to be able to visit the child we were? 

And isn’t it amazing also how siblings remember things differently from each other.  My sister says things about our mother that I very often want to totally object to.   For instance, she will say that our mother would have reacted to a certain situation by doing X  and I might think to myself…no she wouldn’t!  She’d never do that!  Didn’t you know mum at all?  But I never say this out loud to her because we’re both right and we’re both wrong.  Her relationship with our mother was totally different than the one I had with her.  That’s a natural thing.

I was always a dreamy and wistfulsome little girl so, if you’ll allow me to indulge I’m going to ramble on and pour out a few memories.  Feel free to move on.  I just want to get my thoughts down here,  you know….just in case I’m ever struck with dementia somewhere down the line and can’t remember a thing.

One of my earliest recollections was me and my sister coming down the stairs on our bottoms.  We would get up very early when it was still dark and we would sit at the top of our stairs.  There was a door at the bottom so it was really dark and we would slide down on our bums till we reached the bottom step.  We would count to ten and kick the door open.  Then we would scream because this terrifying black hole faced us and we would run back upstairs with the devil himself behind us and ghoulish arms trying to pull us back.

*****

One of my very dearest memories was watching my mum putting on her make-up.  I loved to kneel at her dressing table while she sat applying her make-up.  She took ages and I would sit captivated.  She put everything on in the same order and I knew her routine by heart.  I would have the next item in my hand ready to pass to her.  She wore blue eyeshadow and pink lipstick.  Always pink lipstick.   Watching her put on her lipstick was always my favourite part.  Sometimes she would let me put it on for her.  I loved that.  I thought she was beautiful. 

Then, when she had finished, she would dress up and we would go downstairs and wait for my dad to come and pick her up.  It was dad’s habit to go out and have a drink in the pub while mum was getting ready.  Then he would come back for her.   Many times he simply didn’t come back for her.  My poor lovely mum – all dressed up and nowhere to go.  We would sit watching TV  and she would keep checking the time.  And she would sigh and tut for a while.  Then she would just quietly go upstairs and get changed out of her nice clothes.  And she would come down and get chocolates out for us and we would stay in together.  I knew she was sad about it but I was always secretly glad.  I never liked it when she went out.

*****

One thing that was a big part of my childhood was reading.  And Enid Blyton’s Famous Five adventure stories were a huge part of that reading.  Oh, how I loved those books.  I think there were twenty one adventures in all and I read them all, over and over.  Oh, they’re not Harry Potter but Blyton bewitched me with her tales and made me yearn to share their adventures.  That’s what I remember most about those books – the yearning…and so wanting to be one of the characters. 

Now, I cringe like hell at the whole sterile 1950’s Blyton tradition…I say Dick and George!  Do let’s go out into the marvellous sunshine and have an adventure.  That’s not an actual quote but pretty much in line with the style.  And the sexism!  Ye great gods! How did tomboy Georgina ever tolerate it?  The girls did all the houseworkey stuff and the boys – they would insist that the girls needed protecting.  I hear that the pc police have since got their hands on the books and now the housework is equally distributed and it’s all very diplomatic and inclusive.  What a shame though.  Why can’t we just accept that they were written in a different era?  If anyone ever dares to meddle with the Jane Austen novels I will…I will…..$*&!%£!  I really will! 

Do you know…I had the full set of Famous Five books and I really wish I’d kept them.  I wonder what they might have sold for on ebay.

*****

Seeing as I’m taking this memory walk, I simply can’t not mention losing myself in Bluebell Woods but I’ve covered that here so I won’t repeat myself.

*****

Oh, and there was this man – on the moon.  No really!  I can remember one day seeing a face on the moon.  A man’s face laughing at me.  My parents were chatting nearby and I had my head under the curtain, looking out of the window.  It was a full moon and it had a real-life face of a man on it.   It’s the truth!  I kept ducking down under the window-ledge to hide from him and then peeping up to see if it was real….if he was still there.  And it was.  And he was – still there.  I remember feeling quite spooked but totally mesmerised by it and I kept looking at my parents to see if they had seen it but they were engrossed in their chat and the curtains were shut anyway.  And for some reason, I didn’t want to ask them if they could see him too.

Do you think it was just a dream?  Or a result of reading too many twee marshmallow adventure stories?

I think perhaps back then, that’s when it all began – my lunar-affair.  I think I subconsciously fell in love with that man-on-the-moon because I’ve always since felt a strange affinity with the moon  (and you can stop those wolf howling noises.  I’m serious).

**********************

Gosh, I’ve hardly covered a fraction of the old mems’ yet.  Lots, lots  more but I’m sure you all abandoned me well before you reached my bizarre man-on-the-moon episode so, part two some other time maybe. 

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16 responses to this post.

  1. Oh Earthie! I’m teary-eyed! The Man in the Moon did it for me! You should write more posts like this x

    Reply

  2. Reminiscing,
    do a lot these days.
    Just reading this lovely article
    makes my mind to want to go back.

    I loved Enid Blyton stories.
    I even inherited a nickname
    based on one of her main characters
    that lasted me till after university. 🙂
    Her books still are very popular in India.
    Its a shame how they have been changed
    to make them politically correct.

    Reply

  3. How our childhood influences our adulthood has always been one of the topics pshychiatrists and psychologists have written tons of words on. But we must know that we can be psychologists of our own lives, that we can study ourselves how we are today and establish the connections of our behaviour with that early part of our lives. It helps, believe me, to see clearly through our minds if we are doing wrong or not.

    Excellent essay, Earthpal, you always surprise me.

    Reply

  4. MissyL, thanks sweetie. Much better than the issues I bang on about huh? Lol. You know me, I will never shut up about that stuff.

    Little Indian, thank you. Glad someone else is fond of those Blyton books. I’m intrigued about what the nickname was. Lol. Yes, isn’t it a shame to change the books. It was a totally different era. Simple as.

    Jose, thanks. You are always so kind. And wise…you’re right. Childhood influences etc…it is possible to study ourselves and learn from our past. I always think of something that the wise monkey said in Disney’s The Lion king (it’s so obvious I’ve got kids. No quotes from impressive intellectual movies from me…just the Lion King!!) Anyway, the monkey said…”The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it – or learn from it”.

    Reply

  5. Not telling. 🙂
    Was not entirely inappropriate.

    Reply

  6. Oooohh! Well I shall just have to wonder. Lol.

    Reply

  7. earthpal ! lovely post ! brought back a lotta my childhood memories.Heheh, the man in the moon 😀

    Reply

  8. Thanks Flowerchild.

    I’ll never forget the Man on the Moon. Very special. Tee hee.

    Reply

  9. […] day for reminiscing childhood memories, reading earthpal’s wonderful article on […]

    Reply

  10. What a great post. And what great memories. I feel so sorry for people who don’t have happy memories of childhood.

    Reply

  11. Earthpal, your mum, being left like that, … not fair. Relationships; we all often fall into this thing about them being so complex and so on BUT, maybe it comes down to simple old fashioned ‘respect’. If little is shown & given between two people then surely this is where the problems begin. Hope you’ve told your Dad off since!

    Reply

  12. I read this post again and it’s inspired me to write a little something on my childhood, too. I’ve got a little something in the pipeline

    Reply

  13. […] reading a recent post by Earthpal here, I decided to take my own little nostalgia trip down Memory […]

    Reply

  14. Thanks Helen, yes, it’s heartbreaking to know there are some sad and wretched childhood stories out there. Have you noticed the rise in autobiog-novels being written about surviving childhood abuse etc.? They call them Mis-Lit. or Misery Memoirs or something.

    Hi Matty, you’re right, respect costs nothing. No, I never said anything to my dad about it. Wouldn’t dare. But as I got older, I would often ask my mum why she put up with it. She would tell him herself now and then but it didn’t stop him.

    MissyL, will take a look at your log asap…xxx

    Reply

  15. Thank you, Earthpal, I love being likened to a wise monkey.

    If we believe the evolution theory then we owe monkeys their due.

    As I know that what we write might be construed in a different sense to what is intended, I must add that I am laughing at myself just now.

    Reply

  16. Lol Jose. You do make me smile.

    Reply

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