Forty years on

Mar 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Personal Columns

Good Friday 1968 was a fine day. A friend of my mother’s came and took my sister and I for a walk – there were only two of us at the time, our younger sister would be born later that month.

We walked a long way for children of seven and three, along our road, down over the very steep Stembridge Hill and on to Pitney woods. I think my sister may have had the assistance of a pushchair.

We gathered flowers in the woods. In my memory they are bluebells, but it would probably have been too early in the year; maybe pale yellow primroses, the sort of flowers that would grace an Easter garden.

I made a frieze when we got home – a series of white pieces of paper on which I drew the Good Friday story that we had been told at High Ham Church of England Primary School. Would a seven year old in the infant class of a two teacher school have known the word ‘frieze’? Probably not.

The only thing I remember from what I drew is my attempt at Pontius Pilate – a figure, drawn badly, of a man seated behind a bowl of water. For some strange reason, I coloured him bright yellow.

Yellow is the only colour I remember from those drawings. Maybe there has been filtering in the memory, yellow, white and gold being the colours of Easter celebration in more recent times.

Why that single afternoon remains so vivid in my memory, I am not sure. There must have been many other moments of more significance, many moments more exciting. Perhaps there is in it the security and contentment and spring like hope of childhood.

Were I to be seven again, I would wish to again walk to Pitney woods.

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  1. Miss Everett would have used the word frieze frequently. It’s one of the words that sticks in my mind as having learned it’s meaning at school so you probably did learn the word before you were seven.

    I remember spending many a Good Friday making the Easter garden for the church and primroses also remind me of Easter and good Friday. The bluebells would have been out for the Ascension. I’d like to be wandering through pitney woods too. I have lovely memories of being there.

  2. Aww, as we age, our long term memory improves even if you can’t remember what you did last Saturday or where you put your socks! I remember being about the same age and going to Church with little baskets of flowers and hand painted eggs . .. bluebells and primroses . . .Ah yes, we had a field behind us stacked with the things but they never lasted when picked. Rolling in the grass . . can’t do that here for fear of bugs and bindis! And being stung by nettles and rubbing the redness with squished dock leaves!

  3. Ian, Paula I too can remember picking the wild flowers for the Ascension Day service. The flowers I can remember were ‘cowslips’ and ‘Primroses’.Can you remember the ‘treat’ after the Ascension Day service was to be allowed up onto the tower of High Ham church? The flowers were all put into holders on a large plywood crown and hoisted up onto the screen by the pulpit.

  4. Les, the visit up the church tower stopped towards the end of my tome at High Ham P.S. The beginning of the health and safety going barmy.

  5. Paula I might of guessed, they have poked their noses into every other bit of fun kids used to have.Hers an example- A neighbour came into our house the other day and James (6) was walking up and down the stairs with his roller blades on, ‘OH ISN’T THAT DANGEROUS’ they said ‘YES’ I replied!!!!!!! fun though isn’t it James?

  6. Les,

    Good for you. I work in a playcentre and thankfully my boss has very liberal ideas about risk taking and children’s ability to judge their own capabilities.
    We used to have an old brick pyramid in our playground until the locals had it demolished. The kids loved tying ropes around the rails at the top and using it for absailing – never had any accidents – but this did not always meet with approval by certain members of the public. Children need risk in order to develop and discover. Anyway, this has gone completely off the point but nevermind.

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