Old Flames

I have 2 memories of my grandmother. She died when I was just a few months past 2 years old. I say 2 memories, though I think one of them is probably pieced together from an old photo and family tale…

In either case, there’s never a face. Whenever I recollect, she is a presence behind me, felt not seen. The memory I’m not convinced is memory is of strolling through a seaside town, with her pushing me in my pushchair. The photograph I have, shows me with a marmoset monkey. Times were that you could have your photograph taken with such creatures and, back then, noone thought that odd…

In the photo, the monkey sits in my lap. In it’s hand is a candy lollipop that has been stolen from my pudgy fingers. I look pretty happy in the photo but the family story was that I sobbed so much when the monkey was taken away that my grandmother gave me the rest of the big bag of rocks.

So you see, that’s a memory but most likely not a firsthand memory… A memory of a retelling at a later date…

The other memory, that feels to come from a different part of my brain… The other memory feels to live deep within in me, imprinted in my circuitry, wrapped around double alpha helix DNA… It feels ever present, not exactly active nor not exactly dormant… But sometimes it just comes back to life.

Yesterday was such a day… Earlier in the day, I’d bemoaned to Mr S that lockdown was depriving us of sneaking off for dates… Saturday brunches, crafty curries, escapes to other places, new cities… returns to old haunts that we could actually take in now without having to do the constant headcount of kids… Have we got everyone?

Returning home from work last night, I found him in the garden, date night was on and we escaped… We went nowhere… We built our campsite between two trees… They sit and frame the heavens so we can gaze at stars and be anywhere we want to be. A fire blazing in between us…

A memory returned… I was sat on my grandmother’s knee watching figures dancing in the open fire… Sat in the backroom, with dining table pushed up to the bay window overlooking the long garden lined with Holly trees… A table pushed back so she could place her wooden chair firmly square before the grate and we could watch the flames… Colours leaping flicking tongues… I could feel the heat on my face… Toasting my eyes… Not wanting to ever look away… Sometimes it would become too intense and so I’d shift my gaze… To the side, to the tiles that always looked so cold… Hard, shiny glazed squares like slices of puddles slicked by oil spread rainbows frozen in time…

Can you see the gypsies? Can you see how they dance?

People ask me how/when I started reading tarot… The when was around 18? 19?years old after being gifted The Elemental Tarot… The how… That was way back then on my grandmother’s knee, when she encouraged me to see…

2 thoughts on “Old Flames

  1. Oh YES, such a beautiful story! Love it, especially camping date night in the yard going nowhere, though positioning yourself to be everywhere together. And also especially, Tarot reading beginning on your Grandmother’s knee.

    I was similar. I was conscious of readin gTarot in my teens and found it odd that it was difficult for anyone to grasp or do… though, at 4 my Mom walked in, and had her Rider-Waite spread out in front of me pulling card after card out of the box. She watched me for a while, then reached in and picked up the LWB, handing it to me, “This might help.” To which, I took it and slowly slipped it back into the box. “Nah Mom, I don’t need that. I’m not doing a reading. The cards are telling me stories.” I cherish that moment.

    Thanks much for sharing your Grandmother’s knee, and thanks to her for sharing it with you… to arrive at this post, here, now. Head bobbing in an indefatigable, “yes.”

    Liked by 1 person

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