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Saturday, 17 July 2010

Here lies one whose name was writ in water...

Our memories are fleeting things, are they not?

I find myself dredging up older memories, wallowing in them like one possessed;

Losing, like melted butter slipping between my clumsy fingers, those that might only have happened in, say, the last five years...

Ageing is like that. It's all uphill from here!

So, I promised to give you the summary of the brief time spent recently in my dad's home, sorting the wheat from the chaff, locating some treasures as it turned out, and learning to give up others for good...

I sat on the abandoned bed, now bereft of any covers, and settled down to sift through yet one more mystery box.

Stretching my body to reach it, secreted as it was under a very heavy box, I found a large clear plastic bag, bright white envelopes franked 'Aden', bearing the image of the Queen in her Coronation Year, and addressed in a small rounded hand to my mother, Joan Crawford, at her parents' home in a seaside village, not forty miles from where I live today.

Their love letters.

Letters which made their appearances over the years, in the house we lived in from when I was born, which was filled with mass-market eastern treasures they brought back with them from overseas. There were black painted tables and jewellery boxes, fragile shelves separated with spindles of glass, all decorated with scenes of blue mountain and silvery lake, tinged with the red light of the sun.

...I remember the letters, hidden away from prying eyes and from me, towards the deep bottom of a white wicker blanket chest, an ottoman... Letters held together with white ribbon, hugger-mugger with their Wedding Day favours and baby pink cards that celebrated their Little Girl's Birth -- Me.

The cards always appeared mysterious to me. Exotic. Private. Romantic.

Reminiscent of that other era. A time of shared films and Eldorado ices at the Wallaw Cinema, sometimes for both the first and the second sitting...

A hand outstretched in seaside photos, my mother, lovely with her dark hair and brows, when I only ever knew her as a Platinum, and then naturally silver Blonde. Red lips sketched in black and white, pale capri pants and a white seersucker blouse. Her Grace Kelly headscarf pinned firmly in place. She's asking my father to give her his hand so she can climb up from the sandy beach. He's standing above her on the prom, laughing, one hand outstretched to tempt her, with the other he's taking the photograph, teasing her playfully. He remained playful to the end of his days.

Beautiful.

And now I have their memories and their voices, and I'm going to keep them safe and sound too... I might not read them. I don't think I was supposed to, do you?

Perhaps I shall find a fine cedar-lined box to hold them tight, scented with love and filled with the gratitude I have for my reclaimed memories of the love that they shared...

A time when they were separated by thousands of miles of air, redolent of warm spices, and parted by the wild wide ocean, his socks full of desert sands, her heart full of excitement and love...

Once more I have found a little space where some part of peace has been returned to me.

For a while...

7 comments:

Elsie Button said...

beautiful heartwarming post. as reading i wondered whether or not you would read them, i think you are right... and imagine that just having them close to you is wonderfully special

Saz said...

Oh Fhina, this is what you needed to find, some authentic proof resonant and remindful of your parents, together, in love, bringing the circle to full, this powerflows with history, a sense of truth and a sense of yourself...l hope...

you must get your blog printed out into volumes so that Griff and others one day have a sense of YOU for their future, to help them stay sane and grounded...

much love to you


Saz x

slommler said...

Such a poignant post of love and journeys. Seeing them together, in love...laughing and touching one another. Beautiful and I am so glad for you to have this journey...now...at this time in your life.
Hugging you
SueAnn

Derrick said...

We can never quite imagine our parents being young and in love, can we? It's nice to have the physical evidence. I think I would have wanted to read at least one or two!

Moannie said...

Beautiful, Ffina. I am so glad that you found something so 'them', and better these love tokens than anything else.

Expat mum said...

I think you should read them. If, as you imagine, they are loving, then why wouldn't they want them read? (I'm sorry - I may be speaking out of turn because I don't know the history but it might bring some joy.)

auntiegwen said...

I'm so please you found them, you were meant to. I think I'd have to read them I have a ferocious need to know and understand. xxxx

Something I wrote earlier...

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