You can't take them with you ...
Recently Post40 Bloggers posed the writing prompt “You’re being shipped to an island and can only take 5 memories with you”.
Sometimes behind the scenes we discuss these prompts and I know that several of us thought it would be ridiculously hard to choose just five however, in the end I didn’t find it too difficult…
1) Our wedding day in May 2015. It was perfect and if I could go back and do it again I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe take my jacket off for some of the photos!). I was blown away by New York, when you visit it feels like you’re permanently on a movie set, every part of it is instantly recognisable. We kept our wedding a secret from most people, as a third marriage we didn’t want a big wedding this time around.
We had found a great little wedding company to help us and the minister had emailed us lots of questions prior to the ceremony. He nailed it even having never met us before – including in the ceremony our vow “not to fuck it up this time” which made us both laugh.
Having met on Twitter we thought it only fair to share it with our Twitter friends. I’ll never forget sitting in the Palm Court at the Plaza after the
ceremony, drinking champagne with MrS both of us simultaneously tweeting a wedding photo and seeing the reaction from our friends. A very modern marriage I guess…
2) I’m cheating with this one a bit because it’s actually 2 but sometimes they do merge into one! Frankly if I told you all the gory details of both my birth stories (2 x 48 hour labours, forceps, pethidine, epidural and gas and air with No1, an epidural again with No2 and an apparently “ineffective womb” with both) it might put you off your dinner.
I will share with you that the midwife I had with No2 was the spitting image of Dot Cotton and in my gas-and-air fug I half expected her to pop up from between my legs with a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth. She was the one who announced that I had an “ineffective womb” but she was still a hundred times nicer that the old bat who shouted at me that I was lazy when giving birth to No1.
Although the memory of the births is pretty horrifying, I do have the best sons anyone could wish for. It’s their screwed up, red angry little faces I remember most, as they were dragged reluctantly from my knackered body. Which is probably just as well, otherwise there may never have been a No2.
3) In the summer holidays from about the age of 8 to around the age of 13 my mother, my brother and I would spend every weekday on the beach at Lowestoft.
Despite living about 300 yards from the stony, dune covered North Beach, the three of us would pile into the Ford Estate car we had and drive to the beautiful South Beach where the sand was golden and unobstructed by stones. There were no sudden dips as you were walking into the sea like the beach near our front door. There was a proper ice cream shop and a chippy nearby, but we were only allowed chips once a week, we had to take a picnic the rest of the time.
We would meet with 4 other families -sometimes there would only be 2 families, other times all five families would be there, taking up an inordinate amount of space with about 10 wind breaks between us. We knew to get their early so we could grab a big space by the sea wall, before all the holiday makers turned up. The dads didn’t come; they were at work. We never went at the weekend like the other families though, my dad didn’t like the beach. I think he only ever went on it twice in my entire childhood.
At the end of each day we would return home, filling the car with sand, buckets and spades, polystyrene body boards (painted with emulsion so we didn’t get a rash), sitting on the wet towels because the plastic seats of the car were as hot as lava after a day in the sun. Each night my mum would say “I really should do some chores tomorrow” but we knew if the sun was shining we’d all be back at the beach the next day. Come to think of it, we actually sat on it in thick fog once, convinced it would “lift eventually”…
4) I’m not sure if this one is really a memory or something that is such an often-told family story that I just think I remember it. When I was 2 my parents bought a bungalow that needed loads of work doing to it, so we all moved in with my mother’s parents for a good length of time. My grandfather, having been a baker by trade, was an early riser and every morning he would scoop me out of my cot and take me downstairs before the rest of the house was awake and whilst he brewed the tea (properly in a warmed pot) he taught me nursery rhymes and songs. Every time I smell fresh tomatoes I am transported back to his greenhouses.
5) On their 40th wedding anniversary my parents renewed their wedding vows. It was such a lovely occasion and I’m so glad they did it then. My brother came over from Australia as a surprise, they renewed their vows in the same church they married in and we had a party afterwards. I made a speech, some of which I also used to write this post . It’s actually the last proper memory I have of my dad before he started to show signs of his dementia, although we didn't really know it then, my mum hid it so well for so long.
Just imagine if the desert island were real, but instead of an island it was a black hole. And imagine you couldn’t actually pick the 5 memories you wanted to keep, but instead the black hole chose which ones it took and which ones it left for you. That’s dementia.
Make many happy memories and hope you never really have to decide which five to keep.
*An archived post from Life and Love in London