Our first session is to welcome all to the people, facilitators, and space,
to introduce people to each other, to get started on reminiscence, to generate interest and enthusiasm
Aids: Birth and marriage certificates, maps, name books
We gathered, an icy day in January 2023, 8 pairs and 6 facilitators, at the Pear Tree to knock on the front doors of our memories, shake their letter boxes, and look inside.
(there was some preamble, a fallen cup, a change of sock, our Hopes and Fears forms)
Our names and something about us that we liked. For example Jackie gardening, Roy football, Irene music, Jan swimming, Leslie having a cup of tea with friends, Gill pottery, John Woodworking
We started with our names, gifted to us by our parents, not chosen by us. Why were they chosen? Have we liked living with them? A first name, a middle name and surname, the fathers name, patriarchy, what happens to the mothers name? We looked at our birth certificates. The bare facts, mothers name, date, fathers name, fathers profession (not mothers profession), registrar.
Where did our names came from, what did it mean (King Roy and Irene, Greek, messenger of peace, Robin bright fame, Gavin white hawk, Jan and John the Gracious, Lesley garden of holly, Peter Rock, William resolute protector / strong willed warrior, Mary beloved.
Is there a family history of names?
Local, national or international associations
Names for different times and places, home, work, child, adult
How we feel about our names
If I could have chosen my name, Roy said, his would be Michael.
From the Birth Certificate: Irene Iris, daughter of Ivy
We started entering our stories in our books
We shared our stories.
As a break we said hello in all the different ways we knew how. Saluted, Namaste, High Five, elbow, eskimo kiss, hug, in KisSwahili)
In our small groups we went back to our childhood. Where did we grow up?
What was it like? A city, a town a village? A flat, a house a caravan? Was it cold or warm? Tidy or a mess?
Potter Heighham, with Dick Barton on the radio, where a cat fell out of a building. Cricklewood where my father own our house. Norwich Magdalene Street. Olive Road with air raid shelters at the bottom of barden. Moved to 122 Olive Street, where remember the sound of anti aircraft guns. From Folkestone to Walthamshow, because the father caught smuggling. Mile End London. Kashmir, where Miss Helen Clark Roberts was my nanny. Ontario where I put treacle in our maids slippers. Kingston on Thames were we had a toilet with a Vacant and Engaged sign on the door. Edinburgh where my father built a greenhouse.
What did we do today? What’s our plan for next week? – bring one or two photographs of themselves as children, and /or two objects associated with their childhoods.