Thursday, 8 September 2011

Memories and the Mind's Eye

If I close my eyes and think I can see my first bedroom. I only lived there until I was about 4 but I can see it in my mind’s eye.

Our house was a ranch style (all one level, no basement). Almost an identical lay out to my Grandparents home – except our house had 4 bedrooms (theirs had 3) and ours had a family room built on at the end where theirs had a carport. I loved that house, I still do. I’d love to see the inside now to see what has changed by comparison as to how it was when I lived there.

I remember my bedroom seemed (to me) to be the largest bedroom. I’m sure it wasn’t but I remember it being bigger than my parent’s room and about three times the size of my sister’s room. I always remember thinking her room was so tiny by comparison. Her wallpaper had this green tinge to it with little girls all over it that she picked out herself.

My parent’s room was painted a baby blue colour and they had this abstract flowered satin comforter that I loved. I think my Dad may still have it somewhere. I remember it being cool to the touch, and very soft. There was something about it that always made me feel very safe.

My room was purple. It had huge purple flowers on the wallpaper. A deep, dark, violet coloured flowers on a white background. My furniture was painted white with a little flowered appliqué on the headboard. I loved my room.

Maybe it’s because it was the only bedroom that I had that was when my family was still together. Or maybe it’s because it was my first bedroom. Whatever the case, I don’t think that I’ve ever had an affinity with another bedroom (growing up) as I did with that one. None of them have I loved quite the same. Sounds odd dun’nit?

I know so many people speak that either they remember nothing of their young (pre-school) lives or they have crystal clear memories. My maternal Grandfather used to insist he had memories of being pushed around in the pram; however he was always told how ‘ridiculous’ that was; but he always maintained that it was the truth.

My memories don’t quite go back that far, although I do remember back to when I was about, perhaps a little younger. One of my first memories is of a Christmas party for my Dad’s extended family. I remember my Great Grandmother (my Dad’s Gram) was playing the piano; I wanted to play with her. I remember touching the keys, and my Dad chastising me at first because my Grandma Minnie was playing.  Then she turned and chastised my Dad for stopping me. Did I mention I loved my Great Gram?

My Grandma Minnie (pronounced My’knee) was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. Her spirit was brilliant, she was feisty and someone that everyone loved. She was Scottish from Kerrimuir (Kirrimuir) Scotland (North of Edinburgh).

I remember when she was 90 (yes I said 90) my Grandmother (her daughter, or one of…my Great Grandparents had 10 children), my sister and I went to her house for the weekend. My sister and I wanted to learn The Highland Fling (Scottish Sword Dance). At 90 years old, she got up, told my sister to play something on the piano and showed us how to do the sword dance…at 90. I honestly hope I am lucky enough to be like her at 90.

I remember when my son Adam was a baby. We (My Gram, my Dad, my sister and I) went to see my Great Gram in the nursing home where she now lived (she was 99 at this point and had only moved out of her own home; where she had lived on her own for 25+ years; about 6 months prior).  She was down having lunch when we arrived; they wheeled her back to her room in her wheelchair where we were socializing. She said she needed to go to the washroom, she got up and walked there of her own accord. I remember my Dad was gobsmacked she could do that. Somehow I wasn’t surprised, the woman had spunk!

We went down into a private sun-room where we formally introduced her to my son, her Great-Great Grandson. In history the Campbell’s (my married name) had many issues with other Clans, my Father told her my son’s name was “Adam Robert Bartlett Campbell”, she looked at me when he said “Campbell” and kind of smiled her soft gentle smile and looked back to my son. My Dad asked her if “the Campbell’s were an okay Clan” her in eyes. She looked at him, looked at me, looked back at him and said, “They are now…”

We had a generations picture taken that day. In the picture were my Great Gram Minnie, Gram Marge, Dad, Adam and myself. A picture I never saw until my Grandma Marge’s funeral. It just…vanished. I was heart broken. How many people could boast about having a five-generation picture taken? And it just vanished.

At my Grandma Marge’s funeral there was a table with various photos laid out on it from over the years. Pictures of her as a young teen with her siblings, pictures of her with my Grandpa, and then my eyes fixed on that picture…and I full on lost it.  I felt my knees go weak, saw the table blur as tears filled my eyes. My hand shook madly as I picked up the picture. Keep in mind my son at the time of the funeral was now 18; however in the picture was only a mere 4 months old and I had never seen the photo, just the memory of it being taken.

My Dad saw me struggling and having a slight nervous break down and even though he was speaking to someone he excused himself and came to me. “Where did you find this??” I managed to ask. “Gram’s house…have you not seen it before?” he asked “Never…” I replied. He embraced me as I cried. It was one of those moments that is filled with sorrow, happiness and relief all at the same time.

I still don’t have a copy of the photo, however I know where it is. I just need to get a copy made before it vanishes again!

I have some great memories of growing up, and some not so great ones. I can remember well back into my youth and for that I’m thankful. Even though many of the people in those memories (good and bad) are gone, I’ve still got the memories and nothing can ever take that from me.

One Last Glimpse,


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