I find there are triggers everywhere I go.
You know, sights, sounds, smells, that trigger off a memory.
I was thinking of the Christmas preparations we used to have at school, in the lead-up to the Christmas holidays. We would make paper chains from bright coloured paper with a sticky backing. We cut strips, then cut them into lengths, which we then formed into chain links by licking one end, & forming a circle of the paper, to link all the circles together. When the chains were long enough we strung them about the classroom.
I can still remember the horrible taste of the gum on the paper. Why they didn't use water & a sponge, I have no idea. It kept the little blighters happy & quiet. The paper would come to the classrooms in piles, doled out from the storeroom. I suppose it was issued to schools as an Educational Aid. (I wonder if they still have it in schools?) Along with scissors to be carefully doled out, counted, & returned, recounted, at the end of the session. Sometimes we would be allowed to use the paper to make shapes, so that we learnt the differences between triangles, circles, etc.
I can still remember that near hysteria undercurrent, present in the classrooms as Christmas got closer. We would be allowed to make Christmas cards to give to our parents. I remember laboriously painting a bright card with Holly -bright red berries & dark green leaves. We never actually had Holly in New Zealand but most of our images of Christmas were of the variety from Mother England's Christmas visions. Including snow, which of course, we never saw either, Christmas falling in Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
The reality was heat, humidity, Pohutukawa blossom, beaches, & long summer evenings.
Rellies would come to our Grandmother's & pitch tents on the lawn, in the early days. As the children got older, they would sometimes go to a Caravan park, at nearby Papamoa Beach, & would come for the day. Other rellies would come for the day, & leave at night, the children grumpy & tired.
My Grandmother would cook for everyone, her face bright red, & gleaming with perspiration. She was English, so we always had traditional English Christmas food. Roast meat & vegetables, with peas, probably from the garden, & gravy, so delicious, it was my favourite part of the meal. There would be Plum Duff, & custard, & fruit salad, jelly & Sherry trifle.
I think back on the small kitchen & the old stove & I just don't know how my grandmother did manage to cater to all the family. The dining room was very small, & looking back, I think we must have eaten in relays or perhaps we children were shooed off into the kitchen, which had a small table.
I don't know if SG has made any Christmas cards this year at school. I remember our Granddaughter made some things, mostly carefully selected things, with no connotation of any religion. There was some carol singing, but I think even that has been discontinued. While I dont have religion, & actually dislike carols, I don't think it is fair to discontinue the tradition because of a minority.
Reading over at Rosie's of the Girl Who Leaked Music, triggered the memory of a man whistling.
We were in a store, shopping for Christmas gifts. It is a very busy store, with a high turnover of stock, & there are usually several delivery men going about their business, trundling in pallets of stock. One man whistled. He whistled without rhyme or reason, a tuneless piercing of the airwaves, which drove me instantly insane. I wonder if he does it at home? I wonder how his workmates can stand it? I looked at the staff to see if they were reacting.
I seemed to be the only one, suffering distress.
For a time Gom took to whistling a tuneless theme, constantly repeated. It had no recognisable tune, but it never varied. It drove me mad.
I found out he did it at work. His boss made suggestions and rude remarks about it. Gom never took the hint. Finally, his boss 'had a word' to him. He was surprised, & I think, a little hurt. I guess it was a subconscious thing, but sometimes habits like that can really bring a person down!
Gom no longer whistles. Which is a bit sad, when I think about it.
There was a man shopping at Bunnings, who whistled a constant tuneless highpitched through-the-teeth whistle. I looked at his wife, & wondered if she was deaf, she seemed totally unaware of the irritation. Maybe she learnt to tune out?
I greatly admire those who can teach the mentally different. I applaud their patience & strength. I applaud their sheer, decent, honourable, humanity.
One of my son's friends taught 'handicapped' (I hate that word) children. He was apparently very good at it. He recently took his own life, for reasons I have no knowledge of. I am told his marriage had ended.
My son is deeply upset by his friend's death. He said all their friends could not believe it, as 'he was such a strong person, after all, he taught the disadvantaged'.
I wondered why, people would think that because a person has the ability to teach less fortunate children, they could not have weakness? Why they would not bow, & perhaps break, under the sheer weight of their personal misery?
On a much brighter note, I am leaking colour!! I am working with a riot of colour, & it is lovely.
A Scrappy Happy!
I am onto the quilting, which is hard on my shoulders. I keep taking breaks, slacking off as it were. Yesterday, I caught myself nodding off on one of my 'breaks'.
I sat outside in the cool breeze to sandwich the quilt. Our dining table is really not suitable to use, & my knees prohibit the old get-down-on-the-floor trick. So I use Keryn's tabletop instructions, but using clothes pegs to clamp the edges onto the outdoor table.
Wednesday, December 17
I find there are triggers everywhere I go.