Monday, 31 May 2010

Lost & Found - Number One

It is curious how objects can lead to thoughts that in turn can take one down the most surprising of paths.  My dear friend had sent me a beautiful, fraying rosette through the post nearly three months ago as part of our 'lost and found' word play venture.  It proudly announces 'second prize' at the Bath and West Show, Dorchester 1951.  There is no indication as to what the bearer had so nearly excelled at.  Prettiest pig in show perhaps?  Sweetest strawberry jam?  Most pungent home-brewed cider?

It rests in the corner of my eye everyday as I work and play at my laptop, nestled amongst pictures of nephews in stetsons, cards from friends and scribblings of story ideas that cluster together on a board that sits precariously on my desk.

The intention is that my friend sends me random items, I write whatever springs to mind on this blog and Sarah (with it has to be said an unbridled creativity that I find astonishing), will create a visual delight as she interprets my view of the said article.  I have, however, been woefully neglectful and simply cannot blame the pressures of work any longer.  So, with an unexpected evening at home, I settled down with a G&T, stroked the blood red rosette and let my fingers start to fly across the keys.  And the tears to flow down my cheeks as memories of my only grandparent crept up to my consciousness and made me yearn for a hug with his youngest son, my father.

Grandad had died when I was four years old.  My only memories of him are not really thoughts but sensations.  I can so clearly remember how safe it felt to nestle in his lap as he sat in his favourite wooden chair, smoothing his hands over the arm ends.  To suck the contraband Fox's glacier mints that would magic their way into my tiny fists (to this day the sight of those distinctive blue wrappers cause my heart to smile).  I only wish I had sat the other way around so I could remember his face.  To feel a connection to my past. As I grow older, as my parents become more distant, as I myself play a role in the lives of my nephews, I increasingly miss what I imagine an extended family would have felt like.

My grandfather mended farm machinery for a living in a rural community in deepest Lincolnshire.  My father was his wee grease monkey, having the tiniest of fingers with which he alone could reach the most complicated of parts.  I have always wrinkled my nose against the acrid smell of steam fayres (mostly in Dorset) and machines and yet, at the same time, felt a sense of connection.  A pride of part of my family's heritage. And yes, I share my father's affection for Massey Fergussons!  And so a rosette awarded at one of the South's largest agricultural shows has unzipped a little part of me that I hadn't realised I had fastened up.  For that I am glad.

I am only sorry that the story I had thought would come from Sarah's first package, may be a little longer in the coming.

Lost - a generation of the Wilkinson family.
Found - a fond memory of being held by my only grandparent.  A deeper appreciation of being a part of my nephews' lives.

1 comment:

  1. You just made me think about my grandad, his passion for art, his garage full of things he'd collected carefully labelled and stored in tiny boxes, and how he smelled of freshly smoked cigarettes.