Tuesday, February 05, 2013

A bit more pondering

Grandson laughs. What's he looking at?

A huge screen with an iguana (is it?) shooting its tongue out and catching a fly.

Yet another visit to the museum today. I love seeing the little chap stride out manfully beside the big one.

Later I met up for lunch with two old school friends whom I haven't seen for a few years. We've known each other since we were five.  It was very nice indeed. I was struck by three things that they remembered about me which I have no memory of at all. One: that I went to a party at K's house when I was little and was frightened of her dad because he had a moustache. Two: that I once had a party at which people gave me "bumps"* and they got carried away with over-enthusiasm and my mum had to rescue me. Three: that my mum once told me not to talk to K because she had told me a rude rhyme!

All these things seemed most unlikely but presumably must be founded on fact. Yet they rang no bells with me. My view of my childhood is made up of quite other stories but now - especially now that I've written about these things - it's expanded slightly to include that moustache, those bumps, that mysterious rude rhyme. Yet it's a bit late to incorporate them fully into the truth - as I see it - about what it was actually like to be small me. Ah, truth - is there such a thing...?

I seem to be getting a bit philosophical. Back to pictures of cats tomorrow (yes, that was Cassie in the sun yesterday).

* Are bumps a universal thing or peculiarly Scottish/British? Children used to thump each other on the back on their birthdays, one thump for every year of their life.


  1. when i was little, we used to give/take birthday spankings - one smack for each year and then a pinch to grow an inch - but when i had my own children i changed it to birthday hugs - one hug for each year and then a smooch - because i HATED birthday spankings...

    my mother wouldn't let me play with the little girl who taught me my first bad word - neither of us knew what it meant, but she said that her mother called her "a little $h!t" when she was being naughty - i was the only one of us who was spanked for it, though ... sometimes life isn't fair, huh?!?

  2. It's a chameleon, I'm pretty sure. Iguanas don't have such swivelly-looking eyes.

  3. Our bumps were rather more energetic. We were grabbed by the wrists and ankles by our friends and bumped to the floor once for every year and once for 'luck'.

  4. I don't remember birthday bumps, but when my sons were little birthday punches were all the go. I do remember getting into trouble for something I repeated as a child, which I thought most unjust - because I wasn't the one who said it first!

  5. Our birthday bumps were the same as Lucille's - although I don't ever remember being bumped but I do remember seeing it happening in the playground.
    My sister remembers things from our childhood that mean nothing at all to me and I'm never sure which of our memories is the 'real' one. But then again, she says I always had my head in a book - true - and so she claims I wouldn't remember things anyway.
    At least I can tell the difference between black cats :) And it was definitely the tufty ears and nothing to do with the red collar :)

  6. West Wales bumps were of the wrist and ankle variety. Not pleasant. My childhood memories seem to work the other way - I remember something unpleasant done to me by my sister (5 years older) and she denies everything. Convenient eh?

    One memory came back to me vividly a few years ago. I could remember aged about 3 or 4, being in a queue waiting to enter a large building. (I knew where, but could not work out why I should have been there.) I had no idea whether it had actually happened until I went to a 'heritage' type exhibition, and there, pinned up, was an old photo of that very queue, with me near the front, holding my mother's hand.
    I burst into tears and it took about five minutes before I could sob to the people around that I was that child. My mother had died soon after that photograph was taken, and it is the only one I have ever seen of us together.

    They gave me a copy.

  7. Here in the states with my family and friends it was a punch in the arm for every year and one for luck.
    My first "repeat" of something not-so-nice was a repeat of what my Mother had said. She was ever so embarrassed. I yelled it out the window of the car, and it was about another driver. Fortunately no one knew us!

  8. We got a spank for each year and a pinch so we'd grow and inch.

  9. Anonymous1:15 pm

    We got birthday spankings. In the middle school years, if your teacher found out, you might get a birthday paddling in the front of the class - spankings with a wooden board. Not something the typical 11, 12, 13 year old really wanted to happen -so you didn't reveal your birthday to anyone but your closest, most trusted friends. We did not carry on the tradition with our own kids.

  10. What a horrid tradition - getting smacked or belted up on your birthday! I never heard of anything like that until now. Not an Aussie tradition I'm sure, or else I would have heard of it from somebody by now (64 years down the track).
    Your anecdote about your friends having different memories about your childhood is familiar to me. My brothers and cousins all remember stuff about me that I don't!