memories


Dear Mum & Dad,

First of all, I want to wish you happy birthday, Mum. 108 today. Secondly, I want to tell you that you have become greatgrandparents. That little boy, who was 7 and 24 when you left this world, is now a father, and I am trying to get used to being a grandmother.

Baby1-12

You might know this, or you might not. Who knows? If you do, you’ll also know that we’re now in the second wave of a pandemic. I’ve had to stop dancing, and I’ve spent a lot of time at home. But I know I’ve been lucky in many ways.

You must both remember the previous pandemic, a century ago, although neither of you ever mentioned it. Did it somehow pass you by and leave you unaffected? I wish I’d heard more about your lives before I was born. I know I could have asked, but I didn’t think of doing that. And I had no idea about the pandemic. I did learn something of your lives during the Second World War, but nothing of living through the First.

Moshe & Esther

You must have endured a lot, but here you are, standing happily together in the sunshine in front of the back door of the house I grew up in. You must be around the age that I am now. I’m glad you were able to enjoy this and many other happy moments.

… and one in particular.

I know, some people prefer not to see them, but I generally like to see those posts from the past that pop up every day. Of course, some of them are no longer of interest, while others bring a smile to my face and words from my lips.

“Was that really six years ago?”

“Was that only last year? So much has happened to me since then.”

In the current climate, I also think of how the whole world has changed since last year.

One of today’s memories brought a different reaction from me: regret.

We met, she and I, in an online forum. Later, she started up another, smaller forum and I joined it. We interacted quite a lot. I even met her in person when we stayed together for two days.

Eventually, with the rise of Facebook, there didn’t seem any point in continuing with the forum. We became Facebook friends. She sent me a message in Hebrew; I was touched.

SadMemory

It couldn’t last. Although we had a lot in common – enough to chat about on the forum – there was too much that separated us. Topics that didn’t come up on the forum couldn’t help but come between us on Facebook. She broke off contact.

I think about her sometimes and hope she and her family are well and happy.

Facebook is supposed to bring people together, but sometimes it tears them apart.

I hadn’t thought of that momentous day for ages, but when Lorraine Mace included this in her interview of me: “Tell me something about yourself your readers might not know“, I was reminded of something good that happened to me when I was twelve.

I won a bicycle!

There was a competition in my girls’ magazine. I had to answer questions on the rules of riding on roads. I even asked my mother whether she thought I should send in my answers and she said yes, never expecting me to win, but I did.

I had asked for a bike before. My parents hadn’t agreed. They said it was too dangerous. Yet my brother had always ridden a bike. I remembered the story of how my dad had taught him, running with him. I never saw my dad run and he didn’t teach me. (I learned to ride on the bike of a friend’s little brother. It was so low to the ground that I wasn’t afraid of falling off.)

“That was different,” they said in answer to my pleas. “We lived in the country, then.”

It was always different for him. The country, the boarding school, being a boy.

But I won a bicycle and so my parents couldn’t stop me from getting one. I remember we ordered a bike suitable for my height, but the one that arrived was adult-sized and so it lasted for years.

Bicycles

Cycling in Devon, UK

I don’t have a bike in hilly Jerusalem, but I’ve enjoyed some good times riding, over the years.