Vivid Memories

I often sit and wonder what memories I am providing my children with.  Are we, as parents, conscious of providing good (or bad) memories?

My earliest memory is of sitting on a bus with my mum.  We were very probably going to my Nana's house two towns away.  I will have been about three years old because there was no baby (my sister) with us.  I can close my eyes and still see a field with three, maybe four, donkeys; the otherwise empty field next to the crumbling building that used to be the cinema.  I cannot remember getting on the bus or even getting off it.

I also have a mixture of memories surrounding moving house, not the abrupt arrival of my sister a few months earlier.  I can't have been much more than four years old at the time but I remember Battenburg cake being dished out as a treat and going through the ritual of peeling the marzipan away, eating each square of different coloured cake separately and then squashing my finger against the plate so that I didn't waste a single crumb.  The windows were "whitewashed" after the curtains were taken down.  I fell asleep on the settee and woke up to find my toys had been packed away in a brown cardboard box.

My first day at school - I was an Easter starter.  Tara was crying and clinging to her mum.  Peter Davenport put a chair on the table and sat on it.  I had those two sussed straight away.  Our teacher, Miss Clarkson, used to always have a ruler to hand to smack the legs of those who didn't line up straight after playtime.  Can you imagine that happening today?

I can jump forward a few years and find myself in my Nana's flat.  All the memories here mash together; the bread bin that had 13READ on the side ("Why the numbers?" I always thought.  It took a good few years to work out that it actually said "BREAD"), the candlewick bedspread, the bright pink artex in the bathroom, but mainly the time that my Nana's friend, Uncle Terry, humoured me when I had a new nurse's dressing up outfit by drawing a very realistic bruise on his arm with red and blue biro.  I hid behind the settee until he washed it off.  It must have been Christmas as the memory is interspersed with images of the two-foot high silver tree with the red poppers on the ends of the branches.  I wonder where Mum and Dad were?  Possibly at a Dinner Dance as was every popular in the 1970s.

Our first caravaning holiday - I was seven years old.  We were told by the seasoned caravaners parked next to us that we should keep our wellies upside down on sticks.  We were towed off the field by a Land Rover.  It was a very wet weekend.

Back to school again and the wonderful teaching methods of Mr Halstead; his amazing netball goal from the opposite end of the pitch and his explanation of the movement of the sun (we went out each hour onto the school field and plotted our own shadow).

There must have been so much more that was both good and bad.  I wonder why I have clung onto these memories and I wonder what makes them so vivid?