Losing memory and finding cousins

Sep 12th, 2006 | By | Category: Personal Columns

“For the time of youth was fled
And grey hairs were on my head”

William Blake’s words from The Angel seemed alarmingly appropriate after I received an email this afternoon.

A couple of weeks back I had been surfing the web when I discovered the website for my old primary school; an excellent website for an excellent school, although perhaps it looks safer from 34 years distance.

I sent an email saying how pleased I was to find the site and wishing them well and received a cordial reply from them a couple of days later.

I was surprised at teatime to find a second email from the school, perhaps they thought they hadn’t replied.

This one was from a woman who said how quickly thirty years had passed and how she had been talking to my father a fortnight ago and had asked after me and after my sister, Paula.

This was worrying, but when you’re eleven years old someone even just ten years older can seem like a person from a different planet and wouldn’t necessarily register in the memory.

What was more worrying was that the lady told me that my second cousin was at the school and was settling in well- I didn’t recognise the name at all. I have spent the whole evening racking my brains and still haven’t a clue as to where this second cousin fits into the briar patch that is our family tree.

The time of youth has fled, the grey hairs are well advanced, and the grey cells are in full retreat.

Now, where did I put my glasses . . .

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