The good news- every one came back!
0 Recollection – warm up
For all our memories sake we repeated our name, what our name meant (if we remembered!), and what we liked. We loved it when John said: My name is John and I like to laugh! (and Gill said she likes hearing his laughter), as well as imitating Jan doing the crawl in the north sea. Gardening, reading, football, gave us a workout. With a map to aid us we saw exactly where we born. Edinburgh the most northerly, Folkestone the most southerly, and definitely the south and south east had the greatest cluster of our origins, with a milage sign to Quetta (7,760 kilometers south east) and Valetta, Malta (3,300 km south east) for Gill and John our exotics.
1. Childhood and family life
In small groups we explored our family lives. In many cases we found extraordinary parallels with our stranger partner pairs. We had an informative family tree on one table, from which we gleaned Jackie’s family were part Cornwall and part Greek Cypriot, her father (Cornish) and mother (with the fabulous name of Elfrethria) meeting in Cairo in 1945, which enabled us to pieced together our collaborative jigsaw pieces of history, (1952 Egyptian revolution end of British Rule) which merged into our other couples sojourn in Israel just prior to the 6 day war). MORE
We interpreted the black and white photographs – the time when we mostly dressed in a similar fashion (far less diversity then), being detectives, and identifying clues in the images. A watch here, a Crittall window there,)
Irene’s father’s love for music, particularly jazz, is where Irene gets her love of music.
As we began to put some of our words and photos in to our books, there was a revolution, and the team agreed that all could take their books home to add to, as we always ran out of time here. But only on the condition they bought them back!
With all our objects we made a display to share: photo of Mary in full ballet tutu, Peter in full professional football gear, and part of Wimbledon team. A pair of red cloggs were stunning – Lesley’s first pair of walking shoes. She was visiting her grandmother in Lancaster after traveling by coach from Folkstone and remembered the clippie-cloppy sound that the clogs made on the cobbled streets
Wow – what a tea party, and as it happened, Virigina’s birthday, so of course we sang happy birthday. We ate wobbly jelly and white Blancmange, Gorden recalling that he used to have it with evaporated milk poured over it. Sandwiches with Fish and Meat paste (once labels swapped over – whoops!) and Jam (very popular) competing with Jam Tarts. It was hard to beat John’s party entertainment in Kashmir: elephants and camels in the garden for the children to ride on, by way of entertainment.
An object from our childhood
Back in our circle, from a new display we chose an object that resonated with our childhood and these were a few and our reasons why.
Irene chose a toy doll, which she held tenderly on her lap. Did it remind her of her own children? She said the doll was ‘lovely’ and ‘very pretty’.
Roy chose snakes and ladders, being the most frustrating of games, causing a lot of arguments.
Leslie chose a copy of Bunty. Each Friday, her father would come home from work with chocolates for her mother and a copy of Bunty for her.
Norman chose the Rupert annual, Every Christmas Eve, his mother would make a fire in his bedroom, so that when he woke it was warm and the Rupert Annual was one of the first presents he opened. He also read the Eagle, that had a bible story in it, which sounds strange nowadays.
Gavin chose a football annual (regrettably ‘English’) which reminded him of going to matches with his father to watch Heart of Midlothian (or ‘Hearts’) , the protestant Edinburgh football team. He was ‘pleased he was allowed to go’ and wasn’t scared by the crowds at all. He also played a lot of football.
Mary chose a book about the Flower Fairies and referred to the ‘Song of the Robin Pincushion Family. She loved these books as a child, as there were fairies for every eventuality.
Robin chose a copy of the Beano – he had lots of copies, which they kept in boxes in the loft until they moved house. He received a copy of the Beano every week and eagerly awaited to read it from cover to cover. His favourite character was Desperate Dan.
Gordon chose a puppet, which he revealed from inside his jacket- his ‘Chinese Friend’. No idea why but perhaps something from his childhood. ‘I chose him because my memory’s gone’.
Janet chose a book with a story: As she was ‘addicted’ to reading, and each week she would walk two miles to the library to get new books, but they often couldn’t keep up with her appetite. She loved the Mary Plain books (a precursor to Paddington Bear) and one Saturday she took the bus into Maidstone where, with her pocket money that she’d been saving up, she bought herself the latest Mary Plain book – it had a beautiful cover (like the books he was holding), She had finished reading it by the time she got off the bus home!
Peter: loved football and played a tremendous amount; everything in the family revolved around matches, including mealtimes and travelling around to see/play in matches. He chose a table-top football game (Subbuteo) of similar colour scheme to West Ham, Peters team.
Mary chose Bunty as it was a comic she read (as well as Judy), She would have to shut herself away in the toilet to read it, as in Mary’s family, there was always housework to be done and that was much more important (to her mother) than reading.
John chose a monkey because – ‘I thought it looked like me’. When he was around 4 years’ old, he would go down to the river with his father, who sometimes fished and often snoozed, and there were always monkeys in the trees – he would shoo them away. His favourite toy as a child was Meccano.
Gill hose two puppets, because ‘they related to my naughtiness’. One puppet, a doctor a white coat, reminded her of the doctor that would come to their house to administer injections but she would lock herself in the bathroom and climb out of the window to avoid having it. The other puppet was her old headmistress – memories of Gill climbing long staircases up to where the headmistress would be waiting to tell her off.
Will chose a football annual which included caricatures of people he remembered like Alf Ramsey – he supported Tottenham, known as the Arthur Rowe Push and Run Team.
Jackie picked up a book called the Apple Tree Villa – she read the title and the line about having 30 pictures in colour. Beautifully designed, in Art Deco style.