Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Memories—Tricia McGill


Find this and all my books on my BWL Author page

This is a reboot of a blog post I did years ago, but is probably more relevant today so I thought I would give it another outing.

What is it about getting older? I can remember my first day at school clearly yet can’t recall what I did two days ago unless I look at my diary to check. As we get older, we seem to dwell a lot in the past. I’ve never been one to live with regrets. We can’t do anything to change what has gone before so what’s the point.

My childhood was exceptionally happy, and I always say I am blessed for I have been surrounded by loving people as far back as I can remember. I was the youngest of ten and most of my five brothers and four sisters were adults or coming up to adulthood by the time I reached an age when I took notice of what was going on around me. My sisters taught me the alphabet and how to read well before I attended school. It pains me to hear that many children these days never read a book and in fact are not able to read or spell.

I was one of those children who happened to love school. I had one regret in my first term—we had a class band and all the children (there were probably about 40 five-year-olds in the class) got to play an instrument, but whether by design or something other I always seemed to get stuck with the triangle—and how I longed for just one go on the tambourine. Perhaps that is why to this day I cannot play any instrument.

My two eldest sisters treated me like a doll and as they and our mother were all handy with a needle and sewing machine I was donned regularly in pretty dresses and with a white bow in my hair was taken off to have my photograph taken (which was done in a photo studio in those days).

One of my early books, Remnants of Dreams is based on our mother’s life in that it follows the timeline of her life. She was born in 1895 and married our dad in 1914. Our dad went away to the war and our eldest brother was born not long after. Dad didn’t return until four years later, consequentially it was a while until the next child came along. But then there was mostly a one or just over a year gap in between. These children were reared during the hard times between wars. So therefore, I was the luckiest as by the time I came along things were a lot brighter all round. I grew up on stories of the difficult years told to me by my eldest sister who will soon reach her 100th birthday. Sadly, she is no longer able to remember the past, but in her day read more books in a week than I ever could.

I get angry with young people who complain if their latest gadget is not performing well or feel hard done by if Mum and Dad won’t buy them just what everyone else at school is getting. We never had a telephone until our eldest brother had one installed. We lived in a six-storey house in North London. Our mother’s sister, her husband and two girls, had two rooms and a kitchen in

the middle, and one brother, his wife, son and daughter lived in the top two rooms with two attic bedrooms. We had the bottom two floors, so, when we received a telephone call (of course we gave out the number to our friends) someone would yell from the top of the house for us and we would then climb five flights of stairs to answer the call in their living room. No one thought this odd in the least, as our lives were so closely entwined. Our very extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins was spread far and wide, yet we kept in constant touch even before the telephone came along. There was such a thing as writing letters and waiting on the postman to call in those days, so we never missed a wedding or celebration.

For all our lack of amenities my childhood was full of happiness. It’s so true that what you never have you never miss. But I believe we were luckier by far. From an early age I was allowed to wander far and wide with my friends. We would be away from home for hours, only coming home when our stomachs told us it was time to eat. We played out all day every day, rain, sunshine or snow. We walked to and from school—a thirty minute walk each way in all weathers. Our world was small.

We had no idea what was going on in other countries or even in other parts of England, and ignorance is bliss. Most of our information and entertainment was gained via the radio, and then there was the cinema. We
never saw television until I was in my teens; and that was also my eldest brothers’. At times there would be about 15 of us crowded around his lounge room to watch this tiny black and white 9-inch screen—wonder of wonders! I remember vividly us all watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth of England in awe on that far
off day in June 1953.

Now here I sit in 2022 at my all-in-one computer that I could not live without, and keep in touch with friends and relatives whose messages jump into my inbox regularly. Each evening I make myself comfortable in front of my flat screen immense TV watching my choice out of a million old and new of my favourite streamed shows, where I simply touch a button on my remote control to change channels of which there are many. I might receive a beep from my mobile phone to alert me to the fact that someone has sent me a text, or a call will come from a friend who lives miles away. Such is life! 

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4 comments:

  1. Well said. I often feel sorry for the younger generation who live with their phones in hand constantly.

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  2. There is something to be said about the good old days...

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  3. As I look back to my youth, I never understood my parents stuck in a "do everything by hand" world. Now I realize the young generations, relying on ever more automated electronics to regulate their lives, talking to their doorbell, their TV, their refrigerator, do not understand mine either. Things change faster than people these days.

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  4. The world of technology changes by the minute these days sadly. And this is not having a good effect on this planet we call home.

    ReplyDelete

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