It is surprising, that the memory, which is so good at of reminding us of something best forgotten, can also hide something that should be a delight to remember.
I have such a memory.
My friend, Roger Field, just mentioned the cardboard milk-tops, from Stanford’s Farm, that we used to play with at school.
Suddenly, as if by some prime-evil process, a series of memories, came in to my mind.
The memory, that Roger triggered, was ‘Balaclava’s.
All the ‘crazes’ that swept the playground, like marbles or cheap model gliders, arrived as if by magic, one child would show off his new play-thing, and we all wanted one, almost like a seasonal thing—I suspect now, that all the local shops would stock up these things on a regular basis, just waiting for the flood of kids.
Every winter someone would start wearing one of these, but for some reason we were never so lucky.
Then, Norman Jefferies, a boy who lived at the town end of Abbey Road, came to school wearing the most magnificent ‘Balaclava’, he looked like a Norman Knight, every body wanted one.
I asked my mum, if I could have one, she said, Deirdre, my sister, would knit one, but I wanted it now, not after the winters gone.
Mrs. Salmon, who was sitting in the old green armchair at the time, came up with a quick fix, she said.
“Alan, why don’t you just pull your jersey over your head and just look through the neck”?
Although, I had my misgivings about about this, I did as she suggested.
Today, the memory of that afternoon, that has been hidden for the last seventy odd years, came agonisingly back in the greatest detail.
The sight of my mother and Mrs. Salmon, going into convulsions of laughter, as I posed in my new ‘Balaclava’, was a good thing to forget for all these years.
I knew, in my heart, it was not the style I wanted to take school, but I don’t think they should have laughed for quite so long.