Friday, June 20, 2008

Memories in Black and White ..

As I lay in bed this morning thinking about getting up, I watched the spots and stripes; patterns of sunlight decorating my bedroom wall. I was luxuriating in the comfort, vaguely listening to the ringing in my ears (I hadn't yet turned Terry Wogan on) and wondering where the young me had gone. There she was on the wall, thin and brown, sitting to have her photograph taken (in black and white) in the South of France, next to a dog called Ulysse, and looking rather sad. I can remember that holiday (it's only short-term memory I'm having problems with). I was with a bloke called Mikey, renting a little apartment near the sea, and I used to walk along the beside the pines in my gorgeous flimsy Celia Birtwell number down to the ankles. I wore a bikini underneath and my shady hat on top. Ulysse belonged to the owner of the apartment, who lived downstairs, and he used to accompany me on my walks. I can remember the smells of the pines and the sea, and the feel of that hot, dusty little lane under my bare feet. Now, of course, it's probably a three-lane motorway, and Ulysse is long gone. I do wonder if that lost world lives on somewhere, because it's certainly real and clear in my mind. The photo hangs on my wall, as does the dress, which is now beautifully fragile, and probably wouldn't survive being worn after 35 years. Memories...

My Grandson is my darling, my goose-bump, my little tickle. and I love him with all my Smarties. He is coming to stay tonight, so we'll catch up on the happenings of this week. Daughter is bringing him - he can't quite travel on his own yet - and we will probably go down to the Paddling Pool tomorrow if the weather is fine.

When I phoned my neighbour Sue yesterday morning, she sounded so terrible that I thought at least someone had died. Instead I discovered that she was devastated because her Daughter had got a 2.2 degree instead of the 2.1 she was hoping for, and which she had missed by a couple of marks. After a lot of discussion, several phone calls and a cup of coffee, I managed to convince her that it was actually a cause for celebration. Funny how these results are always a disappointment. But in fact, after the event, no-one ever wants to know what class of degree you were given, only that you actually got it. The fact is that her Daughter now has a B.A. Hons from Camberwell College of Art (very sought-after) and can get on with the rest of her life. (Apart from her huge Student debt of course.) It reminded me of Son's degree celebrations, six years ago. He was also two marks off a 2.1 and though slightly disappointed was delighted to have got through the whole business intact. At his Degree Ceremony, he and his best mate turned up in their gowns and hats, with shirts hanging out, wearing trainers and huge smiles. They had organised an event for the Graduation evening, where they would be dee-jaying, and had sold all the tickets, so they were in for a great night. (They called the event "Qualified?", just to include everyone - even those who hadn't actually passed.) I have a snapshot of them taken on that memorable day - it's the only Graduation photo I have and it's perfect. More memories...

15 comments:

the mother of this lot said...

Lovely memories, but I reckon if it was a choice between Mikey and Grandson, I know who'd win!

Working mum said...

The only time you needed a 2.1 rather than a 2.2 when I graduated was if you wanted to continue to do a Masters Degree or PhD, but I'm not sure if that is still true nowadays.

I hope she enjoys her daughter's graduation; it is a real occasion, isn't it? My dad took a picture of me from where he was sitting in the balcony, looking up at him in a sea of hats and gowns, it is a family favourite. Last year I got my MSc and he took the same photo 16 years on!

Expatmum said...

I managed to convert my 'dead cert' 2:1 to a 2:2 at the last minute and still was able to get a Masters many years later, so there's hope. Not that I use either of my degrees, but that's another story.
Nice memories.

Dusty Spider said...

I love those quiet moments when I first wake. I listen to the birds and plan my day. Such bliss. One of the pleasures of being retired. Flick xx

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Oh, there's no contest TMOTL, how very perceptive of you! M :-)

Hi Working Mum, yes, that's what I remembered, but not sure now. That photo of you sounds lovely - and the mark 2 version. I'll be over to visit you later. M xx

Hi Expatmum, yes, funny how that happens! Maybe that would be an interesting post? M xx

Hi Flick, yes I do love those moments - and I've stopped feeling guilty about them now! M xx

Donna said...

Goodness...I Still have my 8trac player and 10 tapes.....memories...Happy weekend sweetie...hughugs

aims said...

It's funny how that memory thing works isn't it? For the present - it sucks - but for the long and glorious past (or not so glorious) it is picture perfect. I just don't understand it - but I'm getting very use to it.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Hi Donna, it's strange how some things mean more to us over the years. Those photos really speak to me. Hugs M xx

Hi aims, those old ones are bright memories still, aren't they? Perhaps they mean more to us when we have them in perspective? M xx

Donna said...

Margot! That photo is hauntingly, beautiful!!! I love it!!hughugs

Rob Clack said...

Lovely photo, super memories. I'm imagining my own version of the pines, the dusty footpath, the bare feet, the heat, the Med. Very fine.

And I entirely agree about the degree. My third was quite useful getting me a higher salary when I first started work, but has been useless since.

Apart from the fact that I did a palaeontology special, and that was the hook I used to snag Jenny! So it did have its uses!

The only think I regret was deciding I didn't need any kind of fancy ceremony to collect a piece of paper, so didn't go to the graduation. My parents were very sad about that, though said nothing at the time.

One of the few things I'd do differently.

family affairs said...

Well done for making her feel more positive about her daughter's degree - it makes absolutely no difference...although I did somehow manage to scrape a 2:1! ( and I haven't had the need to show off that bit of information for about 25 years!). I don't mind at all when you miss a few days - no need to apologise - I love it because suddenly I get four extra comments at once! Lx

ExpatKat said...

Great post. Thanks for stopping by with your sweet words too.
I too am a member of the "2:2 just missed a 2:1 by a few points" brigade. Not that I've had cause to use the thing since, but no one's ever asked me what I got. ExpatOwl was there for the ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral, a memory we recently reminisced over. We've known each other a long time now! ;-)

Milla said...

I've been out of touch for a while and am busy catching up - your last few posts seem to ricochet between lovely optimism and a sort of sad sadness so I hope you cling to the good - and that the shiatsu does its stuff.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

A lovely blog, full of happy memories and treasured times. I would have been so proud to have achieved a degree but I have never been patient enough to sit down and study.

CJ xx

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Hi again Donna, so pleased you like it - those were the days! Hugs. M xx

Hi Rob, thanks for your kind words - it was a lovely time. I know so many people who feel the same about their degrees - though in your case it obviously did work in your favour! I agree about the ceremony too - so many people think it's not important, but often regret it I think. M xx

Thanks Lulu, lovely of you to visit. Yes, I got a 2.1 too, but wasn't able to celebrate at the time because so many of my friends got 2.2s and were in tears!! But it really doesn't matter in the end. M :-)

Hi Expatkat - thanks for coming over and for your comments. You're so right. I think the whole point of it all is that these are our own personal achievements, and they are all woven into our special memories..we're lucky to have them. M xx

Welcome back Milla, nice to hear from you. Yes, it's been a bit of a roller-coaster for a while, but I'm gadually getting better. The Shiatsu is really good. M xx

Hi Crystal, thanks for coming over and I'm so pleased you enjoyed my memories. The Degree took me until my children were 11 and nearly 8. It was something I'd always wanted to do, but never thought I'd achieve. And I was the first one in my family to do it - as a very mature student. Never say never, as they say... M :-)