Monday, 18 May 2009


This post has come about through two sources of inspiration.
The first is my friend Trousers last post, he talked about being caught in the rain. And the second was a programme I watched last night, it was about rain.... only in Britain could you have an hour long programme on rain that was interesting!!

Bring a brolly Nicky!!

So I was out walking in the rain, as if there is any other way to walk around here at the moment! And as ever I was under the trees, and I got thinking about how some memories are so deep rooted that they remain with us always.

And although I have a memory that goes all the way back to my being a baby, I have now as an adult adapted the experience so that I can still capture the feeling it gave me.

I was brought up in a time of shoving babies in prams and putting them out in the garden, whatever the weather, for hours. So my memory is of being in the pram under the tree in the garden, with the rain pattering down on the hood. This then is the feeling, sound, experience I love.

Nowadays I replicate this sensation in three ways, in my car, it has a soft top, and I've been known to stop driving, just to sit in the rain listening to the noise. Or lying in my bed with the window open and hearing the rain hitting the conservatory roof. Or if I'm walking I wear a baseball cap with the hood of my coat up, so creating the feeling of the pram roof around me. This is such an important sensation for me. And as long as I am warm and dry I adore it. It works at it's best if there are trees around me, especially if I can get right underneath one and be able to see the leaves hanging down around me laden with water.

This got me thinking about other childhood sensations that I have translated into adult behaviour. Like the one involving 'Mummy's special supper' This is the name that the boys gave to this when they were tiny. It comes from going on holiday with my parents and them going down to dinner in whichever hotel we were staying in Fowey or Salcombe. Us girls, ( my sister and I) would be given cold milk and a plate of plain biscuits. And now if I'm feeling a bit peckish and sad, have to have both for the combination to happen, I will have Mummy's special supper. It's a comfort thing to remind me that my parents won't be long and I'm safe with my teddies and sister till they come back upstairs, and although I don't have my parents alive now it makes me feel nostalgic for that time, and the knowledge that I was safe and loved. Which when I'm feeling sad comforts me.

Being able to replicate my Mum's cooking is another biggy. My mum was ahead of her time and used to cook spaghetti long before it took off in the UK. She made a meal that she called Spaghetti Neapolitan, which was a wonderful dish of tomatoes, onions, cheese and garlic. I can make this exactly,and it is a comfort staple when nothing else will do. And now my sons cook it, although they have tried extending the recipe with more spices, they come back to my mum's original recipe as it really cannot be beaten for making you feel warm on a cold day.

There are many other meals that I make that were hers, and it is a joy when either of the boys ask me how to make something that I learnt from her. That continuity of family history is a real pleasure.

I wear on my left hand my Mum's engagement ring. It started in my family when it was given to my Great Grandmother for passing a piano exam when she was 18. It eventually passed to my Grandmother who gave it to my Dad. He gave it to my mother when he asked her to marry him. Mum gave it to me when I was 21 and passed my nursing exams. And now it waits, for one of my sons to have a daughter or to give it to my niece. And it makes me smile that it could belong to the great great great grandchild of that 18 year old girl

There are of course so many more of these memories inside me, but I'll save them otherwise I may not stop writing!!! But it has been a joy to write this post, to acknowledge those precious experiences that make me who I am. And to know that they continue with my sons. That the circle of life goes on and on and that's as it should be.


Angela said...

Those early childhood moments - just a glimpse back - which make us feel happy again and safe and loved, they are really precious. How great that you have taught yourself to retrieve them, Mandy. To me they mostly come unexpected, at a certain smell, or yes, noise, and I also love the rain. I used to lean onto our window sill, up on the fourth floor of our tall tenants house, watching the rain pouring down onto the street. The other day, when my grandson and I were riding in a bus and there was a thunderstorm outside, it all came back - this wonderful feeling of watching the rain and being secure. Thank you for this, Mandy!

trousers said...

One of my favourite lyrics is

Saturday night,
I was lying in my bed
The window was open
And raindrops were bouncing off my head...
I like all these other memories too that you mention - the continuity with the past.

Merry ME said...

I don't think you can even call the slight dripping we're getting in my part of town rain. Yet, after reading this post, I want to go take a walk - no umbrella, no hat. Just me and the sprinkles.

Memories of mom come back when I least expect them. Been thinking of the pikake leis lately. I can no longer conjure up the smell but can see my mom's smile when wearing one of these beauties.

Great post. I've suddenly got a hankering for spaghetti!

nitebyrd said...

Opening a box of Crayola crayons and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese are favorite childhood memories of mine. You have beautiful memories, Byrd. They made me smile.

Lola said...

Beautiful memories, Mandy. Thank you so much for sharing them here. Ciao

lakeviewer said...

This is a touching post, moving us through our own memories, reflecting on family and traditions that go on and on.

Barbara said...

I have a lot of childhood memories. One of them also involves rain. I was about 4 years old, lying on a glider on our screened porch listening to the rain come down, as it so often does in Florida. I worried about what would happen to me when my parents had died. I'm glad they let me be a middle-aged adult before I found out what it was like to be on my own. I have no siblings, so it was a lonely feeling even though I was well able to take care of myself by that point in time.

Sorrow said...

I get a bit teary eyed reading this, thinking of the line of memories that go back so far and someday go forward.
You have such a gift for spinning out a story.
How goes your book?
just a thought.
Thanks for the wonderful read/ are a gift!

Mel said...

Oh, what a wonderful thing to possess your own memories from childhood....*sigh*

I'm not sure which are mine and which were given to me by others (sibs) telling their tales from the house.

Lillies of the valley--that's the one I know is mine from my birth mother. Her favorite flower....

Yaknow, I suddenly feel like a 'mummy's special supper'.

karen said...

I do love the family continuity.. we have several such things in our family, and i've passed on so many little traditions and so on to "my" boys, being a step doesn't actually matter! I love the way you wrote this, very touching xxx

Paula said...

Mandy, thanks for this share. Not having such safe moments myself I feel a bit like you share your with me /us. Have a beautiful day.

hele said...

i remember my mother stroking my hair during those long church services. i would put my head in her lap and feel so loved. now f strokes my head and night and it always makes me feel safe and cared for.

i love the image of you in your pram loving the rain.

Ronjazz said...

The only really pleasant childhood memory I retain is the creek that flowed by the farmhouse I lived on for seven years. It wound through the fields in its own meandering way. It was always cool and talkative...that means the sounds around the creek always calmed me, made me think and feel. I learned a great deal in those moments on the bridge or sitting on the bank where the water flowed by. To this day, when I'm near bodies of water or fountains or rivers, etc., I always, always stop. It's an energy to me that I cannot really articulate. I just know it's there.