Posted by: Jenny | Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A memory

I am at my grandparents’ house. I travelled here by train, on my own, all the way to Cornwall from Bristol temple Meads. Granny is kind but I don’t think she’s very used to children. She takes me with her to the WI market and lets me choose some cakes. In the evening she counts out the market takings. Grandpa sits in his chair, smoking his pipe and reading the paper. He doesn’t talk much, but occasionally he speaks endearingly to the cat, Sputnik, a Siamese with a piercing wail for a voice,. I’m a little frightened of Grandpa and I’m not at all keen on Sputty. Granny has a huge jigsaw puzzle on the go. I like jigsaws but this one is going to take ages to complete. Granny has found me a box of buttons to play with. I sort them into different colours and sizes.

When it’s bedtime, I use the long bathroom with a cork bath mat on the linoleum floor. There is another bathroom just next door, but that one seems to be reserved for Grandpa’s use. No one has told me not to go in there; but I don’t risk it, all the same. I climb into the high bed and go off to sleep. Sometime in the night I wake up. I feel frightened and lonely. I know I should be brave but I can’t help starting to cry. Granny comes in and tries to comfort me. She gives me my father’s old bear, Edward, to cuddle. Edward Bear is a bit threadbare and somehow homely. Granny means to be kind and so I try really hard to be brave and go back to sleep holding the teddy bear.

————

The above is an exercise I completed at the Bahá’í Academy for the Arts, where I was a participant on the course ‘Writing to Change the World’. My memory piece may not change the world, but letting myself write freely like this was a most enjoyable new experience.

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Responses

  1. That’s such a touching memory piece, Jenny, very specific and concrete, and it really took me into your childhood world. Keep writing – this may not be a grand ‘change the world’ piece, but I believe it is important to record our memories. These are contributions to building a civilization.

    • Many thanks for this feedback, Barney. I am trying to keep to a regime with my writing, and it is very gratifying to know that there are some appreciative readers out there!


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