Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Memory? Or imagination?

First (or any early) memories can be both fascinating and dubious.  Fascinating because when one reaches my age, they refer back to a time when the world was quite different.  And dubious becasue one can never be entirely sure that they really are memories and not figments of one's imagination based on what one has been told.

My first memory dates back to the dark days of World War II.  I recall lying in bed watching the searchlight beams as they criss-crossed the night sky searching out German bombers.  And then just after the war, the large pits that had been dug on the ridge of the North Downs where we quite often went for walks.  These were tank traps, dug to stop tanks making progress in the event of an invasion.  Are those true memories, I wonder?

Another early memory is from another occasion in the years immediately after the war, possibly about 1947.  I was probably about 5 and my brother about 3.  Our mother had rented a place somewhere on the Isle of Thanet - Ramsgate or Broadstairs, I think.  The weather (I was told) was not good.  In fact, it was pretty awful - not that I remember.  My memory is of seeing my brother standing at the top of the staircase moments before he fell down it.

I was talking to a friend the other day about early memories and saying how interesting our children and grandchildren would find them.  We both agreed that we really should make the time to set down at least some of them.  But that is the difficulty - making the time.  There always seems to be something either more important or more urgent that needs doing.  One of these days, maybe . . .


This picture of me, my brother and my mother may well have been taken in 1948 as the empty deck chair suggests my father was with us.  My brother and I are wearing dreadful knitted swimming costumes.

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