Tag: memories

Little pieces scattered around – with some left to spare

I have just four days left to live. At least, that is, to live in Shrewsbury. I’ve lived here for over eight years. I’m really quite very sad to be leaving. I have just returned from a trip around town, buying parting gifts and paying in cheques and other such errands. As I was walking around, after a lovely coffee in my current favourite coffee shop, I felt that sudden, yet familiar pang of melancholy that comes with endings. My weird thought is related to that feeling (a feeling I have had before). It seems that every where I have lived, I have left a tiny piece of myself behind. That piece of me can be imagined as a big ball of emotions and memories (as opposed to, say, an arm or a leg). Most of that piece will of course remain in me but some of that will stay in the place I am leaving behind. It feels almost as if I am leaving it there so that I must return to check it is still there and it is ok.

The coffee I have just drunk

The coffee I have just drunk

This means that there is a little bit of me in Stafford (probably lurking around Walton High School or the swings on Weeping Cross). There is also a tiny piece of me in Exeter (in the Lemon Grove drinking a Diamond White – note, not in the library or in the lecture theatre in the Amory Building). And another piece of me lives in Japan (this piece is most definitely in the staff room at Iwatsuki High School eating Hershey’s kisses). Yet another lives in Oxford and another in the lovely village of Charlbury, where I lived before coming to Shrewsbury. And now I must leave another piece of me here in Shrewsbury. What remains of me, will have to travel to Muxton and then on to Newport after that. Will I need to make sure I have more pieces after that for future moves? I don’t know.

My favourite street in Shrewsbury

My favourite street in Shrewsbury

But as I say goodbye to my Shrewsbury piece, I will do so with a heavy heart. The good thing is that I won’t be too far away. I know I will be back to visit myself many, many times from this weekend onwards. I need to check that my Shrewsbury ball of emotions and memories is doing ok. I’m sure it will be.

When your child starts secondary school

My weird thought is this: when a parent’s eldest or only child starts secondary school, they are flooded with their own memories of starting secondary school and this is involuntary. At least, this is what happened to me just under three weeks ago when my son started Adams Grammar School as a little, squeaky clean Year 7.

My fresh Year 7 boy

My fresh Year 7 boy

His first week (which was only three days long as he started on a Wednesday) was somewhat fraught. He missed the bus home twice, he lost (and found) his coat, he lost (and found) his pencil case, and he lost (and eventually found a week later) his school jumper. He was very tired that week. I suspect that if I’d told him he didn’t have to go back (i.e. get up at 6.30am) on the Monday following Week One he would have accepted it (although possibly changed his mind by Tuesday). He had lots of new books given to him. He had homework. He talked of quirky teachers, break times, lunch, corridors, stairs, PE lessons, German words, French words, tutor group time, protractors, rulers, rubbers, pens, books, and future friends.

My first year science book

My first year science book

So far (it is now Week Three) he has arrived home every day at about 5.20pm bringing with him a wave of fresh autumn air. Every day he has flumped on the sofa next to me, rosy cheeked and full of stories of his lessons and anecdotes. He has brought a rush of cold air but it is refreshing. It is the highlight of my day to spend five minutes before he removes his coat and shoes and puts his bag down talking with him about stuff. He insists on spending this time with me.  I love it. I hope it lasts.

There are many events, conversations, colours and objects that a long time ago I had put into the ‘remembered but no longer needed’ box. These are things about my first few weeks of secondary school (which happened in September 1983). These things have now resurfaced with a boom. Not all of my ‘first’ memories correspond with his ‘first’ experiences (as we have / are going through this 32 years apart).

These memories include: covering books with wallpaper; new stationery; new potential friends from other primary schools (many far more clever and street-wise than me); good, bad and very bad teachers; queuing up for dinners; daddy long legs on the outside walls; home economics (my Little Red Riding Hood basket of ingredients); maths on the top floor; stairs, bags; PE with showers; and homework. When I think of those first weeks I also think of Danger Mouse, He-Man, tiredness, smelly socks, huddling by the gas fire, conkers, the wonders of the art department, doodling, hunger, independence, friends, nasty words, pushing (to get to the vending machine), lockers, wet towels, hockey socks, banging boots against the PE block wall, avoiding, hiding, and being silly (very silly).

Why was I so interested in Claire Bailes's love life at the age of 12?

Why was I so interested in Claire Bailes’s love life at the age of 12?

I hope that my son’s memories stay with him, perhaps they will become dormant as new experiences replace existing ones. But I am sure they will resurface when his eldest child starts school. This sort of nostalgia is very touching and precious I think. This experience has reminded me that I went through what he is going through and it is helping me to help him. Perhaps that is why the mind plays this trick. It has been fun reliving those days again.

And I also hope that my son isn’t as silly as I was at that age. I was very good at detention.