Interesting & Useful to Young & Old

I’ve been sorting out cupboards, and – in the process – discovered my ‘Memory Box’.  The actual ‘box’ itself changes with every move (in its current incarnation it’s a cardboard Crown Removals box);  but the memories haven’t been winnowed all that much from move to move, and I discovered the most amazing things … including a number I thought I’d maybe lost.

Above is Everybody’s Pocket Companion of 1945 … a penny almanac which had the modest ambition to be “Interesting and Useful to Young and Old” … and it is!  It was my dad’s;  and he gave me this when I was about 8 or 9 (hard to be sure; but I do remember that we were living in East Kilbride at the time, which is what helps me narrow it down).  I also have a feeling – though I must check this with him – that he got it from his dad.  It’s certainly possible date-wise, as my dad’s dad died in the very early 50’s, not long after Graeme was born.

This all makes me remember that my paternal grandpa deserves a whole other post (or posts) some day.  He died so young (horribly:  of pneumoconiosis … he – like most of my family in my mum & dad’s generation – was a coal miner) that there’s no-one in my generation of grandchildren who has a real memory of him.  But that doesn’t stop him being an extraordinary presence in all of our lives, such was his impact in the generation before  ours.  My maternal grandpa – whom I do remember;  and who was also a coal miner – you’ve all seen in this earlier post.

Anyway:  where was I …?

Yes:  the great thing about boxes like this – you throw things in that you don’t want to get rid of, but there’s no classification or order to them – is that it’s like the shuffle function on iTunes … you end up with odd – yet oddly pleasing – juxtapostions (as we speak, my iPod … in its lovely Bose dock … has moved smoothly from Schubert’s An die Musik to one of my 80s faves: The Passions’  I’m in love with a German film star) … <happy sigh> …

Anyway:  where was I …?

Ah yes:  one of the things I was most excited to discover in the box was my bits of the Berlin Wall … momentos of that night in ’89 when I (with Michele) was among the thousands of jubilant people atop the wall as they broke it open at the Brandenburg Gate (this post also has musings on my Berlin time).  But also lots of other lovely, random things.  The two below are (a) a cartoon, which I’m sure Joyce gave me … probably 20 years ago … and which still makes me laugh and think of her;  and (b) a photo of me in Summer ’97, one of a series that Charlotte took (she’s a great photographer, as well as a great painter), which capture me – or part of me – as I was just before I first met Tony, in October 1997 …


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