Thinking about early memories, I realize how photographs have a big impact on what I remember. There are some photographs of me, about 1 year old, stout in a (duffel?) coat, a coat with those oblong buttons that go through loops on the outside. My hair is still soft and short. I am holding the big teddy I got for my first birthday or Christmas. A black and white photo. I am outside, in the snow, going to Granny’s house in Daddy’s car, with a teddy nearly as big as I am. But I am holding it very seriously. That is my task at the moment. Move through the snow with the teddy.
Do I remember this happening? I feel like I do. How do I know where I was going? I suppose Mum probably told me when I saw the photo. Anyway, where else would I have been going? It was a big occasion, though. The newness of the bear, all fluffy and soft. I feel like I can smell that new furriness. He is still in my cupboard now, that bear, here in
Darwin. I don’t think I have anything else from that time, but he is there. Flat. Stitched up at the back with red thread. A yellowish grey colour, he folds in the middle. Probably smells a bit mouldy right now, with all the rain we’ve been having – but that’ll wear off in the Dry Season.
He is still important, now, as he was then, when I was making a big trip. Going in the car. During the week, Mum and I went to Granny’s – and everywhere else – on the buses.
Although now I remember – when I was very little, we lived with Granny, inTates Avenue
. I wonder when we moved to
Park? I’ll have to ask. It was a big step. I will write about that, too. Where you live in
Belfast is seen as a significant identifier. But my parents didn’t fit in with the crowd. As always, they lived and did things in their own way.