After reading Memory Book 1 at Britmums conference at the weekend I suddenly realised it’s the last Thursday of the month and so the day I promised to do a Memory Book. Sorry for the lapse last month, I’m really fired up to do this now. Are you joining me this month? Simply write about a memory, something for your children to look back on. I will sort out some prompts and put them on the Little Legacy page if that would help for future months?
Dear Miss L
You are 5, approaching your last weeks in reception class. We drop off Mr G at pre school, peeling him from my leg. Hot and bothered we step out into a balmy June day and walk round the corner to school. The clouds look ominous and the combination of sticky heat, house-moving woes and your school sports week are making us tired and irritable.
Time is ticking, but you, as always, are on a different time zone. You stop to pick a flower, to rescue a snail, to follow a lady bird. Nature unfurls for you, pulls you into it’s timeless zone and absorbs you completely.
I go to hurry you and then stop myself, every day I see so much of my Mum in you. The woman who never lost this childish fascination with nature, who always had time to stop and notice a flower, a beetle, a bug or a butterfly. I remember walking on the South Downs with her when I was 20, her stopping endlessly to identify flowers, whilst I strode on impatiently, wanting to cover more ground.
I remember her digging the weeds from between the Victorian tiles in our garden in Nottingham, yet leaving tiny mosses and flowers, all of which she knew by name. She told me she learnt all that when she was still breastfeeding me, but desperate to keep her mind ticking. Whenever your great Grandad (Mum’s father-in-law) would put weed killer on the moss in his prize garden, mum would complain bitterly to me.
In 2001 Mum wrote a letter all about her time at primary school for the school’s Fifties Day, she wrote: ‘The huge playing field was wonderful, looking out towards more fields and woods in the distance, I’m afraid I was a bit of a dreamer, I would often be staring out of the windows watching the birds, the view or simply the rain or snow.’ Sometimes I envy you both this ability to day dream so well.
Like you Mum watched Children’s BBC, but it was different in the 1950s, she wrote ‘Another programme I enjoyed was called Nature, where Mr Collins and a boy called Tony would go into the countryside and watch or talk about whatever was happening…birds, flowers, insects, the weather and so on. Nowadays I think that there would be a girl as well as Tony!’
Your Gran taught you to find bugs, worms and spiders when you were two, by poking gently under leaves and stones with a stick. Now I see how much that day meant. Last night you pointed out caterpillar eggs to me and knew the green bugs in the garden were shield bugs. You look everything up in your minibeasts book. You are full of surprises these days. Your Gran would be proud of you.
So we cut holes in a flora tub and made a nest for the caterpillar eggs, just as I did when I was 5. The memories came flooding back, my Dad watching us from the veg patch in our garden in Stone, as we plucked caterpillars from his cabbages and saved his veg from being munched. Mum calling out ‘ENOUGH caterpillars!’ as we merrily gathered them up and rehomed them.
Now I find myself snapping flowers that have guerrilla gardened themselves into our lives and thinking of you both. (Aresidence on Instagram).
Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by inspiring people. Memory book is my plan to turn these in to a memory book for my kids. Feel free to link up a little legacy or memory you’ve been thinking about this month, or to leave one in the comments. Here’s the code and here’s more on Little Legacy