St Mary's Melton Update - august 2019
Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-coloured memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were.
Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes I can remember things that happened years ago but at other times it is not so easy. On countless occasions I have been trying to explain something in a conversation only to forget the point I was trying to put across. Then there are the times I go upstairs to get something and 10 minutes later come down, having forgotten what I went for in the first place.
Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter stories has something called a Pen Sieve where he places his memories so he can recall them when he needs to. We don’t have that luxury. If we have been organised, we may have kept a diary or an organised photo album of life. These days, with camera phones and Facebook, it is easy to take snapshots of our lives and hopefully they will be there in years to come to spark those important memories.
Can you remember what you were doing on 20 June 1959? Were you even born then? For two people we know, it was a very special day, John and Beulah were married on that day 60 years ago.
I was a little more than four years old and remember very little about what life was like. Here are a few things that happened at that time:
* The Ford Anglia and the Mini were introduced and cost about £500;
* The M1 was opened;
* Cuban President Batista resigned and left Cuba, then the communist-backed Fidel Castro took over;
*The World Population was approximately 2,987,000,000;
* Nottingham Forest won the FA cup;
* The average cost of a house was £2400;
* Cliff Richard released the song Living Doll;
* Only 15 per cent of families in Britain had a fridge and only 10 per cent had a telephone;
*In the Chinese zodiac both 1959 and 2019 are years of the pig.
Talking to John and Beulah of their wedding day, they have things firmly fixed in their memories. Using the photo album, they can tell you all the people who were there. Beulah can tell you exactly where she got her dress from. Also, they can tell you all about Barmouth in the sun and rain, as that is where they went on honeymoon.
I had occasion to visit St Mary’s Primary School last week and in the year 6 classroom there were some examples of students' writing on display.
The class had been studying a book titled Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. It is about a soldier called Thomas "Tommo" Peaceful, who is looking back on his life from the trenches of World War I in France. Each chapter of the book brings the reader closer to the present until the story turns to present tense. The story especially underlines the senselessness of war.
Early in the story, Tommo and his dad go woodcutting where a tree nearly falls on Tommo. However, Tommo’s dad saves him but sadly in the
process gets killed by the tree. At the funeral, a swallow flies around the church and Tommo knows for certain it is his father because he had said that, in his next life, he’d like to be a bird, so he could fly free wherever he wanted.
The class had been asked to tell the story of the tree incident from the perspective of the father. Here is one of the efforts written by Emmie.
“As we climbed off our horse BillyBoy, our faces aching with laughter, our eyes streaming from the wind, we arrived at the meadow; it was
mesmerising, lush-green fields and rolling hills under the wide sapphire sky. The scent of freshly cut grass and tilled soil plumed into the air, filling my nostrils with the earthy scent. I took it all in, listening to the music of life.
I had taken my son along with me again as he loves it! Running round in the woods, looking for fox-holes and different animals. “Go and play
Tommo!” I chanted, as usual.
Once he’d gone off exploring, I paced around, inspecting which tree to start on; they towered over me, their monstrous branches stuck out strong and sturdy with their basil-green pine leaves giving off the luxurious scent of the forest. The remanence of pine needles that had been carried from their branches to the ground by the wind, lay on the carpet of twigs and dirt around me.
This is my favourite place to be, moments like this I wish to never end, they fill me from head to toe with joy! I’m uncontrollably smiling with infinite happiness.
I finally chose my tree (she was a giant!). I started chopping away to the beat of the song I was humming, with every swing she trembled, pine leaves raining from the sky. I could hear little Tommo giggling and rustling the dried-out leaves under the shamrock-green bushes.
About five minutes later, the sound of shaking and shivering from my tree became out of time with the swing of my axe. “Is another tree falling?” I asked myself.
The answer was yes… why… why yes? Tommo was standing directly under it, frozen in fear – she was colossal! A giant compared to my tree! – “Tommo run!” I called, words trailing out of my mouth faster than I could think them, I find myself sprinting… sprinting faster than my legs could carry me.
I finally get to lil’ Tommo, I push him aside to safety taking no consideration of my own.
Then the wave crashed on the shore, like a tsunami wiping out all life. My vision blurred, memories spool into mind of Tommo running in the fields, the biggest, widest smile on his face stretching all the way to his rosy cheeks (my favourite times in my life.) Distant voices filled the silence in my head, “Dad? Dad? Please be ok…” I want to talk back “I love you and I’ll miss you,” but not a word comes out, for my tongue is like sandpaper, my whole mouth is parched. I feel his tiny hands in mine… grasping on to the last slither of life in me… but slowly… uncontrollably my fingers curled away… his hands fell through mine and I was gone. All light goes out…
Just deep empty darkness…
Blacker than the darkness at the bottom of a grave, it drew me in like a black hole draws in light…
Suddenly, the darkness became stars and constellations, all around me, infinite space, I was floating and drifting until…
I was flying among the trees, I was a swallow I was free, I felt that I could fly anywhere, far beyond the sky. This was the life I’ve always dreamed of having.
May be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So, it's the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.