Sep 01, 2016

Thanks For The Memories – a Simple Idea That’s Definitely Got Legs

I am very lucky to have spent my two senior years of high school with a group of girls – as we were then – who have been very active in maintaining our ties over the years during which it would be false modesty not to acknowledge that we have developed in so many fascinating directions as women (who are already, now, planning for our 60th reunion in 2018 – that’s how far we go back).

And in one of our occasional gatherings, early last year, our effervescent ringleader came up with an interesting idea. It was prompted by the fact that – unusually for that bygone era and those somewhat conservative suburbs – we came from a diversity of backgrounds, with several from overseas. And, she thought, it would be interesting to collect stories of our memories of our early childhoods, whether local or from further afield. The idea was circulated amongst the wider group, and took hold to the extent that nearly half of the 60 or so who made up our year sent in our accounts of that long ago time, to the retired English teacher who nobly volunteered to be the editor of our monograph of memories.

And now, we have that collection of stories. And I have to admit that we’ve been quite flabbergasted at just what a good read it is. From wartime children who didn’t know their father for several years, to children who’d escaped from the sorts of conditions that are – sadly – still prompting people to seek refuge to this day. And about the ways in which so many of us had been engrossed in a riot of childhood hobbies and activities that are only of historic interest in these times of high technology (did we really play jacks with real veal knuckle bones?). All back in the day when radio was king, and filled with programs aimed at us. And, with disarming honesty, some of the reminiscences were interwoven with insights into a variety of different types of family relationships.

Who knew that such a simple idea could produce such a windfall of memories? It has turned out to be, literally, a page turner. And one that I’m very much looking forward to sharing with my grandchildren: both my account of my own childhood, which I’d never thought to record, and now, here it is; and also the accounts of the other Old Girls, to give them more insights into that almost inconceivably bygone era when we were their age.

A delightful walk down memory land

And it’s certainly got me thinking. First of all, I can assure other people of my age that writing about those times way past provides one with a nostalgic and often delightful walk down memory lane. Secondly, it would be very special to share them with the young people in one’s life, the grandchildren, grand nieces and nephews, both to give them a glimpse of a different world, and to plant the seeds of an understanding of how time flows through a life (or is it a life flying through time?) from childhood to old age.

Sharing of stories through the generations

And thirdly, I can see this sort of writing as being something special that the primary school children of now could ask their grandparents to do, and then read them both for their own pleasure and as a school project that the class could find a fascinatingly personal way of traveling back in time. Of course, those of us who have been at schools’ Grandparents’ Days will know that they often go part way to that, with our grandchildren quizzing each of us about aspects of our childhood, and that is a fun group activity. Doing something more in depth, one to one between grandchild and grandparent, takes it one insightful step further.

So I can’t wait to go and visit my grandchildren’s school with monograph in hand, and suggest this extension of a wonderful idea to its teachers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Mums, bubs and retirees come together

While loneliness is an unfortunately common condition for older people, new mums can also experience feelings of isolation as they come to terms with motherhood and create a new “normal” with their baby. So why not unite these demographics together? This Brisbane retirement village is doing just that. Read More

Many people have a hard time swallowing. Help them to ‘eat, drink and be merry’ this Christmas

By Bronwyn Hemsley, University of Technology Sydney; Amy Freeman-Sanderson, University of Technology Sydney, and Rebecca Nund, The University of Queensland Swallowing food, drink, and saliva is a central part of our lives. It’s something we do about 900 times a day, yet we barely give it a second thought. We’re mostly unaware of the many food... Read More

Resident-on-Resident Abuse: “Someone Tried to Kill Me Last Night”

One of our readers has shared her story of the resident-on-resident abuse her mother fell victim to while in temporary care. She is calling for cameras to be introduced in all aged care facilities. Susan Cosgrove’s mother, Mary*, who has dementia, went into temporary care recently after she suffered a small bleed on her brain.... Read More
Advertisement