In the supermarket yesterday, I pushed our shopping trolley into the aisle that stored noodles and such things. A man came out just before I started round, then a little boy of about 5 puttered out… my trolley was now between him and the man. Being a little boy, he didn’t want to be parted from his father (or grandfather) for very long, and rather than wait, he twisted to the side and pushed in front of the trolley.
The mother came out after them, and having untangled ourselves, we went on. Mum caught up with me and said “you missed one!”
I went to the end of the noodle aisle and started up the main corridor. I was looking to see if it was safe to turn into the coffee aisle, and who should come out but the mother. She reached out and grabbed the little boy by the hand (invisible, but again close behind), and then the guy followed and caught my eye… I couldn’t help smiling, it was sort of “you again…! We’ll have to stop meeting this way.”
Having bought our food, we went out to the car and Mum drove off slowly. We had to pass the front door of the supermarket on our way out. A car was parked right opposite the door in the ‘mother and baby’ part of the park, with a mother and two or three girls of varying sensible ages all gathered round the boot. A little girl of a much less sensible age decided to show off her independence, and ran across the road to the door. Just as Mum was crawling past, the little girl stopped and turned, gazing back at the family group around the car. She swayed alarmingly towards them, and I knew that sway… it was the one that meant “nobody can come between us if I want to be back there with you,” but the mother fixed her with a stern glare and pointed. I thought maybe she was saying “you stay RIGHT there and not move!” but the girl then turned and ran into the supermarket. I suppose the mother could have been saying “wait inside!”
We pootled out of the park in the car, then I turned to Mum and said “YOU missed one!”
Last night I saw part of The 100 Greatest Kids’ TV Shows. It’s a peculiar sensation when you recognize something you absolutely don’t remember. It’s like being quick-frozen with your eyes wide open.
In 1970, when I was five, there was a show about a little girl (made of card) who lived in a flat with a dog and a mouse (Midge). Last night’s film clip began with the flower bed outside the flat, and we sat staring at it for a while. I thought, “oh yes, I know that flower bed,” in a thinking-about-something-else kind of way. Then I frowned and thought, “sorry? I DON’T remember anything like that.” The camera lifted, and zoomed in on the top floor of a small block of flats. The girl, dog and mouse waved stiffly from their window, the mouse parting the plants in the window box to peer out. The feeling I had was indescribable! I should think the very last time I saw any of that (let alone thought about it) was when I was 6.
They also had Black Beauty (not the Sean Bean thing!) I used to watch that with the girl next door. The black horse came thundering along, hooves pounding – that was always my favourite bit. When I saw it last night, I was reaching for a tissue.
Of course, most kids in those days gained far more from children’s programmes than I did. With my hearing loss, I never had a clue what they were waffling on about. It didn’t stop me watching – what else was there for a small child to do? It was that or read Rupert the Bear for the thousandth time.
It’s odd how we can recognize things we don’t remember and tap into knowledge we don’t even know we have. Sometimes the memories are so deeply buried that it’s not till you see it again that you remember. Even then, you might not remember very much – you just know that it’s something you’ve seen or experienced many times.
After a restless night during which I dreamed about eBay, I woke up and thought, “hmm, 12th March – the year is wearing on.” I felt so cheerful that the song Let Your Yeah Be Yeah pounced on me out of the blue. Yet there was something nagging at the edge of my subconscious. Normally I get up and leave the room, but this time I lifted a corner of the curtain and peered out cautiously, like Midge from behind his flowers. Ah ha… snow!
Let your yeah be yeah and your no be no, now
Let your yeah be yeah and your no be no, now…
It’s snowed so steadily that the boys across the road… oh. I was going to to say “made a snowman”, but it looks more like the Titanic’s nemesis. Have snowmen become uncool?
Because I’m on my guard and I’m watching you from head to toe…
You better let your yeah be yeah and your no be no.
Last summer I had an odd dream. We needed the Easter Bunny to entertain at a children’s party, so I went to look for him. I wandered up a grassy track, knowing he lived there, and groaned inwardly when I stumbled across a military camp with a big fence round it. There was a board at the gate and I stopped to read it, but I had only read the first couple of lines when a soldier appeared and asked what I wanted.
“I just came looking for someone,” I said. “I didn’t know the camp was here.”
“Who are you looking for?” asked the soldier briskly.
“Er… the Easter Bunny.”
“Right,” said the soldier, writing down ‘Easter Bunny’ on his notepad. “If you wait here I’ll send someone to talk to you.”
A short while later a pleasant-spoken officer came and let me into the admin hut to discuss where the Easter Bunny might be found.
The dream tails off, really.
It was obviously based on the G8 security fence, and on the children who were killed in Iraq when accepting sweets from American soldiers.