So, as my inexorably slow train journey home dwindles on (a door problem at Market Harborough – lots of increasingly tense commuters unable to get off) here are my memories from that early period:
- Learning to ride without stabilisers – taken to the top of a hill and just let go
- Falling in a dry river bed, dissolving in snot and tears and being helped home by a ‘big boy’
- Purple walls in the lounge
- My mother picking me up from nursery in a red plastic rain hat
- Telling people I didn’t eat eggs because they made me throw up (I don’t remember the puking but I do remember telling people all about it)
- A homemade cheesecake with a base so thick that it needed industrial tools to cut it
- Sitting on the (black leather?) sofa with my dad trying to teach me to breath without opening my mouth
Some, or all, of these stories may well have been embellished with retelling over the years although I’ve tried to pick the ‘genuine’ ones (Lil, Pete it’s over to you). You know how it is though, family legends build up over time and I can no longer be sure which is which.
It has got me round to pondering on what Tom will remember of this period. In a few weeks he’ll be four (cripes, where did that come from); slap bang in the middle of the period I’ve been recalling and around the age at which ‘earliest memories’ are stored away for later recall and, well, his short life has been pretty eventful. Does that make it more likely to stick in his head?
In a few short days we will, finally, be in
Tom already surprises us with random recollections from months gone by so who knows what will stick and what will drift away into the ether. Undoubtedly it will be things we least expect, matters car-related and, equally certainly, we will reinforce the events that stick out for us – the things that make it a happy place in our collective past rather than the dark periods that we try to forget. One of those happened last weekend and will be drilled into Tom in the same way as my dubious victory in a Blue Peter competition (some time in the '72-'78 period for those who know their Blue Peter) has gathered an undeserved magnitude in my story.
Last Saturday, minor local celebrity that he is, Tom opened a fete. He cut the ribbon and everything. How cool is that? Opening fetes before you’re four? Now there’s one to tell the grandchildren.