Thursday, 27 August 2009

Childhood memories...

Unusual for me to do another blog so soon, but one posted by my dear friend Rachel about her childhood prompted me to do something similar, and invite my faithful few followers, a small but perfectly formed, though slightly motley crew, to reveal their own memories. Rachel did it perfectly, with sound bites as it were, just a few words of this and that to convey a memory.. doubt I can be so economical, but this is more of a Rambling of a Three R's posting. Just to see where it takes us...

I grew up across the road from the sea... first memories of sharing a tall, Edwardian terraced house include the annoying little boy who lived downstairs, called Peter, a rather soppy blond child who insisted on holding my hand as we walked to school, aged five. Of the smell of home made lemon curd; and although I don't remember much about the furniture and so on, I do remember a pale blue Eastham kitchen cabinet - an all in one sort of thing with shelves behind glass doors at the top, a pull down worktop bit and cupboards below. I remember sitting in a huge window, on a window seat, watching all the holidaymakers in the summer, coaches arriving from all different parts of the country; the smell of the sea; the sound of the gulls; watching the model yacht races; standing by the lighthouse waving goodbye/hello to my father as he left for the fishing waters off Iceland with the fishing fleet - the banana boats as I called them because of their colour not exotic cargoes.

The smell of fresh fish is an integral part of my childhood as my father brought home his choice pickings of the catch, and eating out from an early age too, being propped on several cushions and treated like a little princess. How I hate being the centre of attention now!

Feeling above all, loved and safe, and happy, no fears, no worries about predators or nasty things happening... apart from my doctor's boxer dog which was exuberant to say the least, and was meant to be kept in the back garden, but somehow often managed to escape into the basement where the surgery and waiting room were.

School days? Loved the work, the sisters who taught us (for the most part, there were one or two harridans though!), but wasn't Miss Popular. I had one friend, and was never invited to any other parties, always the last one to be picked for team sports. Teacher's pet when it came to spelling and composition writing... her whipping boy when it came to maths and history! Nature walks along the beach which had an added frisson after the day the flasher appeared from behind a sand dune! Climbing to the top of a local landmark called The Mount, and then rolling down the other side on the grass, and not sure now, which left me more breathless! Going to play tennis in the park, more for the attractions of the junior park-keeper for many of us teenage girls, some with handkerchiefs stuffed inside their bras to make themselves more alluring, so they thought. Some of us unfortunately were blessed with the real thing.. though not sure 'blessed' is the right word to use to be honest. And I remember too, the way it was seen as 'normal' for a man from the school uniform company to come and measure us girls, always with a nun in the room, but even so, it wouldn't be allowed today. Music lessons in the music room of the convent, a small waterfall feature outside running into a pond, the playing of The Trout on the piano, girly voices practising carols at Christmas.

Away from school my memories are all tied up with my mother, who was such fun to be with, and who more than made up for the lack of a father's presence. She and I had great times... picnics on the beach where she would smoke one of her three or four menthol cigarettes a month, disapproving of women who smoked in public, but this was to keep the sandflies away, she said. Going to work with her during the school holidays when I was thirteen and she had gone back to work after being a stay at home mum all my life to that point. She worked for a tea and coffee importer, and I can't smell freshly ground beans now, without thinking back fifty years almost. Going on day trips, Belle Vue Zoo, Southport Flower Show, the Dales, we loved these coach trips. As we did our weekly visits to the library, a lovely Gothic building, all wood inside, the smell of polish, old books, the squeak of the librarians shoes as she moved around the shelves, the thrill when I was able to go into the adults section at last, choosing books by Frances Parkinson Keyes, Elizabeth Goudge, Mazo de la Roche....

Food memories are rather strange... flat bowls of oxtail soup with chips in... Liverpudlian Scouse... chips with curry sauce.. branston pickle sandwiches... chips with scraps and mushy peas and lots of salt and vinegar... school dinners of meatballs, leftover Sunday roast (from the convent), sponge pudding with jam and coconut on the top, tapioca which most of us hated, but the meals all freshly cooked in the convent kitchen next door and mostly delicious. Posh nosh when my father took us out for a meal, lobster, steak, prawns... watered down wine, just a little at first, but more as I got older, and then of course came the days when it wasn't watered down any more!

But overall, despite the lack of popularity at school, still feeling loved and cherished, happy and safe.

Then into the world of work, and apart from one horrendous memory here, where the feeling of being safe was taken away temporarily, this was a happy, happy time. Fun to be 16, 17 and so on, childhood left behind, but the rest of my life ahead to be filled and enjoyed. Of course, real life doesn't always work out as planned or dreamed of does it? But on the whole I have felt as I did as a little girl all those years ago... loved and safe and happy, and I hope I have made my own children feel the same, and that they in turn pass it on to their children, and that all their memories will be as happy as mine.


35 comments:

Celtic Heart said...

What a truly magical and wonderful post. I feel honoured to be allowed this small insight to your childhood, and what a lovely, happy childhood it seems. Oh, PFG, thank you so very much for this little piece of history, for indeed that is what it is. I might just have to write something myself now, for memories of my own idyllic childhood have just started to pour forth!
Huge Hugs to you for an inspiring, magical read!

pinkfairygran said...

CH... that was the idea, that it would inspire someone to do the same, because I find it fascinating how we were all raised... social history is really one of my favourite subjects, especially that from 1930s to 1960s, and mainly women and family based. I am looking forward to reading yours....thanks for dropping by again.

Calico Kate said...

I completely agree with CH, PFG, a truely magical and wonderful post. The best of the MeMe's I have read as it wasn't constrained by questions. You could have been me or vice versa at school - I hated it and my memories are not good ones so I don't think I'll go down that route.
A really lovely heartfelt post.
CKxxx

pinkfairygran said...

Aw shucks, CK, you are TOO kind...thank you xxx

Pondside said...

That was so interesting, PFG. Your childhood surroundings were so very different from mine - reading your post was like peeking through the window. A really good post!

Mark said...

A good post. I often wonder how my children will view their childhood. A friend of mine once casually remarked about his children, 'you put in so much effort'. I've thought about that phrase a lot - funny how things stick in your mind.

My own childhood memories are almost the polar opposite of yours - I don't think I felt safe until I was a long time an adult. There must have been love and care too, but the truth is, it seldom comes to mind. And yet, though I might lament aspects of my youth, I know that it led to where I am - and without it, I wouldn't have what I have now, wouldn't be who I am. So not everything is as negative as it seems - but there's me getting philosophical again...

Mid Life Hopes said...

I can hardly see through the veil of misty eyes to comment...
Such a wonderful and touching tribute to your childhood.
Thank you for sharing this and so many other wonderful articles of your life...
Very touching,
You are an awesome lady PFG..
XX MLH : )

seashell cosmos said...

Wholeheartedly agree and also thank you for sharing with us, PFG. :) Yes, me too, certain things -smells transport me back in time, to some of my favorite childhood memories. Smelling Stargazer lilies reminds me of my beloved neighbor 'Auntie Esther.'

LOVE those adorable Teddy Bears too!! xo

Debbies-English-Treasures said...

Its always nice to read an happy childhood story... because that`s what us mum`s strive to give to our little ones...
HAPPY EVENTS AND MEMORIES!
Thanks for sharing yours!

ENJOY LIFE`S SIMPLE TREASURES,
DEBBIE MOSS

Dany said...

Hi! I'm a teacher of English from Brazil and I've just created a blog for my students. The objective is to make them interact and read authentic "compositions". I was trying to find something interesting about childhood memories when I came across this post. I was fascinated by it. I'd like to know if I can post this there. I think my students would love to read it. Of course I'll mention your blog and give you the credits. ;-) May I?

The blog: http://plusstudents.blogspot.com
My e-mail address: danyelle_santos@hotmail.com

Great post!

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Admin said...

CH... that was the idea, that it would inspire someone to do the same, because I find it fascinating how we were all raised... social history is really one of my favourite subjects, especially that from 1930s to 1960s, and mainly women and family based. I am looking forward to reading yours....thanks for dropping by again.
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unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Admin said...

I grew up across the road from the sea... first memories of sharing a tall, Edwardian terraced house include the annoying little boy who lived downstairs, called Peter, a rather soppy blond child who insisted on holding my hand as we walked to school, aged five. Of the smell of home made lemon curd; and although I don't remember much about the furniture and so on, I do remember a pale blue Eastham kitchen cabinet - an all in one sort of thing with shelves behind glass doors at the top, a pull down worktop bit and cupboards below. I remember sitting in a huge window, on a window seat, watching all the holidaymakers in the summer, coaches arriving from all different parts of the country; the smell of the sea; the sound of the gulls; watching the model yacht races; standing by the lighthouse waving goodbye/hello to my father as he left for the fishing waters off Iceland with the fishing fleet - the banana boats as I called them because of their colour not exotic cargoes.
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blogcar said...

so very much for this little piece of history, for indeed that is what it is. I might just have to write something myself now, for memories of my own idyllic childhood have just started to pour forth!
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amantr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mrblack said...

Unusual for me to do another blog so soon, but one posted by my dear friend Rachel about her childhood prompted me to do something similar, and invite my faithful few followers, a small but perfectly formed, though slightly motley crew, to reveal their own memories. Rachel did it perfectly, with sound bites as it were, just a few words of this and that to convey a memory.. doubt I can be so economical, but this is more of a Rambling of a Three R's posting. Just to see where it takes us...
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Uno said...
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That was so interesting, PFG. Your childhood surroundings were so very different from mine - reading your post was like peeking through the window. A really good post!

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GameforYou said...

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