There is no doubt that my Rascally Trio have quite amazing memories.
This isn’t the boast of a Proud Grandmother, though
I realise it may seem so. No, it is a matter of fact. I rue the day I ever let them know where to find the biscuit tin, for example. Like a trio of the very sweetest of small elephants, they Never Forget.
I am wondering if they owe their ability to remember anything and everything they have ever seen, heard or handled to their father (“Rules is Rules!”) who not long after the birth of Faris, the oldest of the Rascals,
passed the phenomenally difficult Knowledge Test to become a London cabbie. I read once that the average London cabbie develops considerably more gray matter in the hippocampus, the area of the brain which controls spatial and navigational skills. What hasn’t
been tested, as far as I am aware, is whether this can be passed on to the off-spring of a cab driver - though my own informal investigation suggests it is eminently possible. The navigational skills of all three Rascals on entering our house and immediately
zooming in on All Their Favourite Things are, quite simply, exceptional.
Some memories are invoked by photographs. I often wonder if I do really remember
riding on an elephant at London Zoo when I was little or whether it’s just because I’ve seen the photo. Also taken at the zoo, possibly at a different time, is a photograph of me with my sister and two brothers posing with a caged tiger. My sister
and I are perched precariously on a wooden bar outside the cage, with our brothers placed protectively either side of us. My one memory of the occasion is a sense of paralysing fear that the beautiful, but thoroughly scary, animal might break out of its cage.
Both my brothers are wearing their school uniform - how much more formal we were in the Olden Days.
The Rascals were too little to remember our Golden Wedding
Anniversary three years ago today - but they know they were there. On every visit, the Twins ( demonstrating their spatial and navigational skills) make a beeline for the photograph on the landing windowsill of the two of them in their sunflower yellow dresses
and pink sandals taken on the Big Day. “That’s us,” they tell me, unnecessarily, every time they come, “When we were little...”
B and I, of course, remember every minute of that Golden Day. When we were making plans, I remember reading a Gransnet message board (no, I don’t know why, either) where all the people posting were most disparaging of the idea of renewing one’s
wedding vows. The general consensus seemed to be that this was something a couple only did when one or both had been unfaithful and so needed to start anew. How very sad. Happily married couples, everyone agreed, should just have a big party and / or go on
Mr B and I already knew, three years ago, that life was not about to get any easier for us, that with Mr B’s health deteriorating, we were, as
one lovely doctor told us: “in it for the long haul.” What better time to remind ourselves of the promises we made once upon a very long time ago, and to make them all over again; to reinforce them at a time when promising “For better, for
worse. In sickness and in health” mattered more than ever before. Mr B was still able to walk the short distance from the door of the church to the altar (though he did almost manage to fall over on his way into the church - some people do like to draw
attention to themselves...)
I wore my gold shoes, reflecting my favourite lines in Spread a Little Happiness, which remains one of my favourite songs: “Surely
you’ll be wise to make the best of every blues day / Don’t you realise you’ll find next Monday or next Tuesday/ Your golden shoes day?” June 4th 2016 will always be my “Golden Shoes Day.”
Memories are made of this. Happy 53rd anniversary, dear Mr B. Still standing after all these years...