So I was chatting to a vague acquaintance the other day about their kid having been ill, as you do, you know. From out of nowhere I had this really vivid memory of being extremely ill as a child. I mean really ill, with projectile vomiting and coughing fits that damn near brought up a lung. Not a pleasant memory, you might think. But you'd be wrong. You see, this memory brought back a whole lot of others from the same time. A whole lot of very pleasant memories that I had somehow completely repressed.
I'd like to put them down on here, because I really do think they may be some of the happiest of my childhood, projectile vomiting notwithstanding.
We were staying with my Uncle Paul, the man for whom I was named. Every morning when I got up, I'd eat my breakfast and then sit with Paul, filling in his wordsearch puzzles. Or at least, after my own fashion. I always went to the answer section you see, and drew around the little dotted bubbles in the completed puzzles. I don't think I ever once did an actual puzzle. Paul would sit and laugh and congratulate me when I finished one and never once made me feel daft for taking so much pleasure in what was essentially the worlds easiest dot-to-dot puzzle.
Paul was the first person ever to ask me if I wanted to play 52 card pick-up.
Despite the anger of my parents and Pauls wife, who to my shame I can't remember the name of, Paul never once raised his voice about the vomit on his nice new hardwood floor in the dining room. (Incidentally, the only time I've ever lived in a house with a dedicated dining room. Such luxury.) I know it's odd to have fondness for a man simply because he didn't scold you for being ill but that was the culture in my family.
The school I attended while we stayed there had a completely different way of doing lots of little things. For example during P.E. they had a time out corner. I was sent there once and, not understanding the rules of the whole exercise, came back into play when the teacher waved. He was of course only waving for the person who had been sent there before me. My time wasn't up and I was punished again for 'being cheeky'.
The class I was in had a little toy shopfront thing made of plastic that you could sit behind and play at being shopkeepers. The teacher had hit upon the idea that this thing could be used essentially as a bribe. The best two in the class got to sit behind there all day every day for a week instead of at a desk and do their work on the little built in countertop thing. It was cramped and too close to a radiator and you had to move all your stuff at 'play' when the rest of the class were allowed to use it but it was a novelty and hotly contested. I once spent a week in there with a girl. Don't remember her name, don't remember what she looked like, don't remember anything much at all about the whole thing except that I was in a small, cramped, warm space with a girl for a week. And you bonded when you were in there, you had to, being separated from everyone else. Who knows, if I'd stayed at that school a little longer I could be married to her now. Whatever her name was.
I saw my very first, that I can remember, science fiction show on television. If you read my Impossible Quest blog you'll know how big a part of my life science fiction television is and this, I now realise, was the birth of it. It had a floppy haired man in a jumpsuit and a shiny silver robot with a flashing light for eyes. They were enemies stranded together who became friends and eventually the 'bad' robot helped the man evade death at the hands of some other robots. It was of course 'The Return Of Starbuck' . Pure gold, with a lot to answer for in my life.
There you go. Happy childhood memories of watching TV, being sick and having some very confusing feelings about a girl that I never quite got to grips with. The thing is though, is that until this recent reawakening I had absolutely forgotten all of it. To the extent that I now can't place it in the timeline of my life. Should it have come between moving out of the house and staying with my Grandparents? Or did we go to Pauls after leaving my Grandparents and before moving into the flat we'd end up in. I have no idea. If you'd asked me a week ago I'd have said that it went House-Grandparents-Flat, followed by bitter divorce and moving away from the area. This whole batch of memories just does not compute.
God, I hope I haven't imagined them. What kind of sad case would I be if I had to hallucinate some happy memories? And then made myself violently ill in one of them?