From the time we’re born we begin to remember and download information at an astounding rate. From that day to this the uman memory is remarkably better than any computer hard-drive with millions of tiny connections, inter connections, sections, sub-sections, even chunks of data we’d rather remain hidden although, like most computers, even when we try to erase these they remain hidden somewhere on the hard drive. Yet there are some memories that even when retrieved from a dusty old file at the back of floor 62 level 9 in building 87 of our sub conscious can not be shared, forwarded or blind copied to anyone. You see, these are the memories that one had shared with people that are no longer with us which makes their relevance immensely private yet at the same time overpoweringly frustrating. Moments in time shared with another person: a discussion, a view, a situation, a journey, the list is endless and yet cannot be shared with a single other living soul purely because they ‘just weren’t there’. My first day at school was sometime during September 1960. My only recollection as a five year old from that morning was walking hand in hand with my mum past the hall of Rockingham Road Church of England primary school in Corby between it and the fence which formed the boundary between the school and the main road. I’ve often wondered if my mum and dad had any great expectations from me, their fourth child. I’ll never know. It was an ordinary school for ordinary people. There were no moving staircases, grand halls with ghosts of John Cleese or dragons, though we did have the odd Draco Malfoy or two. My eldest brother was already eighteen years old and had predictably consigned his life to the steelworks gates. From the time that I was born he and I were forever destined to know truly nothing of each others far removed generations or attitudes to life. If I had that one illusive thing called a regret in life it would be that we never chose, either of us, to be as close as we could, or should have been. This is one of the reasons that I quickly discovered the importance of having close friends in the school environment, one in particular that would last for the next thirty years. Yet this presents itself with its own problem. The loss of shared memory in the event of separation or tragedy. In our case it was sadly the latter that intervened when Roy passed away in the early 90’s. Those thirty years represented some of the finest, childish, happiest, silliest, random and thought provoking days of my life, yet without the input from the others memory to share or even reminisce verbally, those thoughts have to stay truly locked away, re emerging from time to time as a mere unchallenged, unspoken recollection.
There was one occasion for example, when Roy came with me to visit an Aunt of mine who at that time was living in Crawford Grove, Corby. Auntie Joan would indulge the young folk in the family when perhaps others might consider their antics to be too childish to care. “So, where do you live?” she asked Roy. “Woodlands Avenue Mrs. Nimmo” said Roy. “Though my parents originally came from Kettering”. “What’s your sir name again?” “Garlick” he replied. “Garlick? What a coincidence” she said, looking at me. “That was my name before I married your uncle Jack”. I had never known Auntie Joan’s maiden name before: It had just never occurred to me to ask. It then transpired that Roy’s Dad Johnny and my Auntie Joan were distantly related through marriage via his Grand Father. There was a brief silence as the three of us realised that in a quirky twist of fate my best friend and I were consequently, albeit very distantly, related. The silence was broken by three people laughing until they cried. I can still hear those laughs today, but only as an echo my mind.