Memory is tricky. Childhood memories even trickier.
Which memories are real. Which are from stories or photographs?
Top Boy shares his first memory with me. He was running up and down the street in from of our house. Past houses, back past houses, back past houses again, then past a house with a low white wall and a blue triangular prismatic top… (the shape details are quite extensive and go on for some time, so I’ve skipped them – funnily enough he’s now a big science fan) …then he fell over and hurt his knee. What happened next? Doesn’t remember.
Mine is one of these. I don’t know which.
1. When I was five (or thereabouts) we moved house from a more troubled to a less troubled area of Belfast. I don’t remember anything before or during the journey until we turned onto the new street. It was more shaded, quieter, greener, with trees and hedges. I remember that. Nothing before. Except maybe for…
2. Seeing my first tank. Very exciting. Big. High. Wide. Dark, maybe green but definitely spattered with white paint. On the road outside the Busy Bee shopping centre in Belfast. On the wrong side of the road. No-one else shared my excitement at the time. With hindsight, I don’t suppose the tank crew were out shopping, but at the time it was just big and wide. Don’t remember seeing any tanks on the street there since. Haven’t hear of any either. Maybe it wasn’t really a tank at all? Just something less dramatic, like an armoured personnel carrier. No, it was definitely a great big tank. I remember.
But what about the rest of it? The escape attempts and running through hedges in my pyjamas. The being as fat as a boy-sized bag of sugar. Do I really remember those earlier episodes – or do they spring from old pictures? I fear it’s the latter.
So the tank or turning up our new street is as far back as I go. I didn’t fall over and hurt my knee until later. I remember that too. And I don’t even need the scar to remind me.
You can find out the first memories of the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium by scrolling down the right hand column and clicking on their links. You could start with Conrad. It was his idea.