It has been a while now since I found myself think about the past, I used to go over and over almost everything I remembered, almost as thought it was all haunting me, holding me in some sort of hell that I wasn’t allowed to leave behind. Memories from my childhood as young as just walking onwards, from the first memory of lying in my cot looking up at the skylight at a cold black sky, I have no memory of stars or weather, just that black oblong above where I slept surrounded by bars. It’s not like I remember every day from then on, but I remember strangely only the thing that caused me pain, for sticking my finger into the wheel on the back of my Mothers sewing machine and losing a nail, though to getting my hand caught in the kitchen swing door, no damage that time just pain. I suppose things like that stay with us as they are the first of the warnings for the future of what not to do if you want to stay safe, but they have this horrid effect of making you believe there were no happy time around them, which I am sure that there was. The problem with thinking back 50 years, is that other than a few memories that you have no doubt of, the rest has a haze that sort of says they weren’t my memory at all, but stories I was told later in life and just shuffled into place, in an attempt to fill in the gaps.
I was just 4 when we left that house and moved to somewhere big enough for what I didn’t know was about to be a bigger family with the arrival of my little brother, but that is a home where what I know in my mind has far more to do with playing than anything else. The world I built by simply pulling a full-length curtain over the back of a chair, creating anything from a tent, to a castle, to a house or even a ship, that single curtain was my greatest toy. I remember hours spent in the garden or in the lane that ran down the back of the houses, playing with the neighbours children and simply having fun. I remember going to school, what I wore and some of those I was friends with, but at the point where I think I should know clearly, I suddenly start to find holes, gaps that I can’t fill in, faces that I have no names for and events that are muddled and I can’t pull apart as I really don’t know where they belong. Not everyone remembers being a baby, but doesn’t everyone remember the names of their friends, their teachers and some of what they were trying to teach them? Are there not days that were special and important to everyone, Christmas gifts that were so special and long wanted, that the day they arrived was just amazing? All I can find are gaps, followed by more gaps, where are those things I know everyone else has, why do I not have a full life from aged 5 to 11? Almost all I have for those years have that haze, that feeling that they just somehow aren’t mine. I know I spent every summer in Stonehaven, staying in the caravan, but only fleeting memories, stories of what happened, but in truth although I don’t remember spending any of it on my own, I can’t remember a single day or face or name of anyone I spent my days with. I just know that I was always out, always busy, but who with? I remember going swimming, fishing, taking part in events put on for holiday makers, but all hazed, all incomplete. If I had to lose my memories if things had to disappear, why is it I have lost the innocent years, the time when my memories should have been happy, days of fun and sunshine, almost all gone and what is there is far from complete. Shift my life forward by just one year, one silly little year and things change, my memories are clearer, I have true events, true days, clear feelings, I have names for my friends, although don’t ask my the name of anyone else in my school years as they have all vanished, but at least I have friends.
I know I was never the world’s best at remembering names, but I am losing people faster than anything else. It doesn’t matter what year you pick, even the people I shared my home with at times have all vanished. In three separate places I lived in flat shares, from 1988 through to 1998, I shared my home with other people. People I saw daily, that I spoke to, eat with, spent time with, but the more I try the more I realise I don’t have a name for more than maybe two and then only their first names. The same can be said for all the places I worked, from 7 years of DJing I can remember just a couple and they were my two agents, most of the venues although I can see them, what they were called is a mystery, their managers and the regulars who I spoke to all the time, are all gone. From BT where I went next and stayed for 2 years, not even one do I know and from ICS where I worked for 12, I can find only 5, the rest are just faces. Even when I try the people who I should know the best, those I was in relationships with, well yes I remember them, but their families and their friends have now all gone.
My life is becoming filled with faces, faces who I know I once knew, but their identity, their voices, and their meaning are fading so fast and I have no way of getting them back, just as I have no way of reconnecting with my childhood. It is almost as though I am becoming isolated, not by being housebound but I am becoming isolated for my entire life. When you can’t name the people who were important to you, the people who made your day, who made you laugh, or made you feel welcome, they have started to vanish as people and as they vanish, I am slowly seeing no one in my past life, other than me.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 09/04/12 – Reconnecting through friendship
Last night I sat here for just over an hour with tears rolling down my face for most of that time, every time I got them under control, within seconds they started again. No nothing terrible had happened, I wasn’t in the most uncontrollable pain, in fact, it was 100% the total opposite. Those tears were very special as they were tears of relief, happiness, and joy. Only days away from it being 13 years and I was again connected with and talking to my friend Tracey.
We spoke for just over an hour and both of us cried and both of us laughed, I felt strangely as those missing years in our friendship where just another part of my bad memory. Yes both of us have changed…..