My Little Sister Maggie and I have been talking about memories. Of which, as you can probably imagine, we share quite a few.
are talking via FaceTime though we have a bit of a false start when she realises she only has 10% of power left on her IPad. It is unlikely, we agree, that 10% will be sufficient once we start chatting. She signs off and goes to find her fella’s IPad.
This is one of the benefits of being a Two IPad Family. And as I always (predictably) say, why have one IPad when you could have two?
When we finally connect,
we settle down for one of our usual long, delicious rambles through family news, forthcoming events and, of course, our shared memories. I am quite proud of myself for managing to cook lunch for Mr B and me while I am chatting (I do have to keep disappearing
from the screen from time to time to attend to the oven and the sausages cooking therein) but my sister, being my sister, is Very Understanding. Mr B is somewhat less so when it dawns on him that, like Captain Oakes heading out into the icy wastes of Antarctica
on the ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, I might be some time. Mr B simply does not understand the importance of not allowing one’s jaws to rust.
sister and I are very alike in lots of ways, not least in our love of family and of always trying to make life as special as we can for our Best Beloved. One of my sister’s grandsons, she tells me, misty-eyed, when asked what was his favourite place,
responded immediately: “Nanna and Grandad’s House!” How very sweet is that? It is possible that Faris the Rascal might say that our house is one of his favourite places but he would doubtless qualify this by stating that “upstairs”
is his favourite place - upstairs being, as regular readers know, notable for having more potential for discoveries of objects of danger, as well as being the first place he and his sisters like to visit, given the opportunity to weigh themselves on my weight
watchers scales while flushing the toilet at one and the same time. Close in second place is the garden, particularly the water butt which is the source of endless Watery Enjoyment.
It is when we start reminiscing about our childhood that my sister, three and a half years younger than I am, bewails the fact that she can’t remember some of the many stories I tell about When We Were Very Young. So she remembers
our dear Mum having to polish the floors in our home - but she doesn’t remember the best part, where we donned our Dad’s football socks and played at being ice skaters, skimming over the linoleum like the Skating Stars we imagined ourselves to
be. She remembers being in hospital for long weeks as a little one - but doesn’t remember the day I was brought to the hospital and lifted up at the window so that I could see her for the first time in weeks. I tell her how, when she eventually came
out of hospital, our brothers were mad with me for monopolising her attention: “You aren’t the only person who missed her!” they complained, bitterly.
I wonder why it is that some of us have heads full of memories while for others there is simply a vague recollection, a feeling, of happiness or otherwise. I have been working to capture some of my childhood memories in writing for my grandchildren
- one day they may find them interesting, even if not today. Perhaps, my sister suggests, she could borrow some of my memories and make them her own - after all, so many of them do involve her as one of the two main characters in my story.
I tell her she is most welcome to help herself to any of my memories as she wishes. It was, after all, her childhood as well as mine and none of it would have been half as
much fun without her.
Or, to put it another way, she was - most definitely - there.