The textures of childhood
The textures of childhood
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
My grandfather was a respected businessman. Precise about everything. One of my favourite childhood memories is of spending Easter with him. What’s strange, though, is that my memories of his house and the objects in it are clearer than my memories of the man himself. I’d prefer my kids to remember me rather than the things around me, but, perhaps, memories are made of a combination of the two.

Grandpa’s house overlooked a cold dark river mouth in Dundee, Scotland. He’d write long notes to us at Easter, some words replaced with pictures. A bunny picture would replace the word, for example. He was subtly creative in that way.

His car had plastic seat covers over the red leather. The plastic would stick to my legs (I would wear shorts when we went to visit). He also had those long, plastic runners over the carpets in the house. The ones with the small bobbles on to stop you skidding. The carpets in his house were white, thick pile carpets into which my toes would curl.

He had a grandfather clock which I couldn’t look at without imagining a mouse running up. Tick, tick, tick, the pendulum would swing. He and my granny had kept their daughter’s books, and I’d read them, trying to picture my mother as a young girl, lying on her tummy, face in her hands, her feet swinging as she hummed while she read. How odd that mothers could be girls, I’d think.

Then Easter! All of us heading outside to the grassy-hilled garden to roll the eggs he’d painted for us. Thin pastel colours brightening the shells of the hard-boiled eggs- we’d roll them in a race until they broke; flicking grass blades off the white flesh of the eggs, we’d eat them, cold and smooth.

Lunch would be a roast of some sort, with my parents checking my table manners, but, more importantly, I remember skipping the pudding to have a chocolate egg - a vast one which I couldn’t have hoped to finish in one go.

Now I think back, I can imagine my grandfather planning our visit. How he must have driven to the butcher for the meat, the sweet shop for the eggs. How he’d have plotted the egg-painting and made sure the house was ready for us. He’d have taken the books out of a box in the attic and had his car washed.

I can almost see him smiling and squinting though his thick glasses as he wrote those precious notes, carefully considering which words he could turn into hieroglyphs; a happy grandparent.

And I hope I can create memories like that for my own children.

What’s your most vivid childhood memory? Describe it for us and you could win a R250 voucher!

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