|Remembered Or Recreated?
||[Jul. 29th, 2016|06:42 pm]
I'd forgotten how one night, 45 years ago, Stephen and I ventured into the churchyard at the back of his house and deciphered a 18th century verse epitaph by candlelight, but it must have happened because he wrote about it at the time in a letter which appears in the book he's just published. "Candlelight" he says, "restores the lettering marvellously by casting oblique light on the indentations." Now that he's reminded me of the incident it all comes flooding back. Or does it? Do these pictures I can see of flickering light and scrabbling fingers actually come from the memory banks or has my imagination created them as it might with any scene from a book?|
Memory is a fascinating thing. Who knows how much of what we remember actually happened?
And then there are the things we scrub from the memory banks. I spent 10 years of my life as an Anglican priest. How much of all that do I remember? Very little.
A Danish poetess once wrote an elegy to a homeless Copenhagen woman - who was quite a character and widely known - that contain these words:
"The sorrow shall be writ in water,
The joy in stone."
I have very few real memories about my father when I was a small child, but the ones I had are centred on the pictures in my photo album, so they might be fictional - though certainly he DID do some amazing stuff with us! But the photo album says nothing about growing up with an alcoholic parent, so I don't remember what that was like. I just remember building sandcastles and tree-houses and bonfires. I know there must have been more than that, but these are my memories - and I rather like the kindness of memory; it glosses over the flaws and faults and shows the kindness and goodness of people.
At least that's what it does for me.
My parents don't figure very largely in my childhood memories- from which I have drawn the conclusion- perhaps unfairly- that they rather neglected me.
It might actually be the case that I preferred to be on my own.
Will we ever know? And actually, do we NEED to know? Sometimes I think we just need what we have.
(I may have been neglected at times - I don't know - but I remember the times we were taken to the beach in mid-winter to build sand castles!)
To paraphrase "The Sound of Music":
"Somehwere in my youth or childhood
My Dad must've done something good"...