The Museum of Recollections, Part 1

Of course the Museum of Recollections contains some remarkable mileposts in the life of me, the wedding day when I was basically anonymous, the births of the two kinder while I read a book and slept a lot, the passing of relations, life events that most people have are stored in the closest filing cabinet to the door on well-thumbed record cards, but there are other record cards that seem to be randomly filed, often in the wrong drawer, and they pop up without prompting from time to time for no apparent reason, with no connection to that day’s events a memory will suddenly come to mind, a smell, a colour, a phrase uttered or even just one word and an unconcious trip to the Museum of Recollections will bring up a record card, often incomplete, but on record never the less.

Dancing for instance, I don’t dance, never have, as a youth at a disco on that quaint past-time known to Northern lads as “Birding”, I would be the one stood at the bar watching while mates who should have known better would be pointing index fingers at the ceiling and at the floor to a soundtrack of three millionaires singing in very silly high pitched voices, invariably someone in the place would turn up wearing a white suit and a black shirt and that would be my cue to leave or be beaten up for pissing myself laughing at him.

This inbuilt aversion to dancing can be traced back to one record card in the Museum of Recollections, its an incomplete record but still worth dragging out and offering to the world at large via the internet – I was five years old, no more than five, but definitely five because it was at a school friends birthday party, it was fancy dress, I’m there dressed as a cowboy, think Woody from Toy Story, its a girls party in one of the terraced houses near to where we live, her parents are Polish, left over from the war, her father has a cine-camera (very unusual) and someone suggests that they have a twisting competition – this record card is making me cringe – and so each kid has to stand on a small square of lino in the corner of the room and “do the twist” to a Chubby Chekker tune while her father films it on his cine camera. The record card also states that some weeks later after the film had been to the chemists to be developed, my mother was invited to the house after she’d picked me up from school to view the horrible filmed evidence, so not only did I have to suffer the ignominy of being in a twisting competition at a girls party, I was then forced to watch it all over again several weeks later while my mother laughed at me.

And THAT is why I don’t bloody do dancing.

Put that record card away at the back of the box…

Dogs, here’s a strange one, I should have been terrified of dogs for the rest of my life after this one but we’ve always had dogs in the house ever since I’ve had a house, I had a dog before I had the wife, I’d prefer…we’d better not go there, you never know who’s reading…

Anyway, I’m five again, I’m in the filing cabinet of ancient memories here, and this record card relates a dream I had just after I’d started at Brudenell Infants School, it was a nightmare actually and I can still recall it fifty years later so a proper nightmare then – we’re sat in the school assembly hall at Brudenell Infants and the fat Headmistress (Miss Trenholme ?), fat old bag in tweed who smelled of cigarettes due to an eighty-a-day habit, taught every child in her school to read by inviting you three at a time into her smoky office and listened to you read a Janet and John book to her while puffing away on Players No 6 – so she’s taking the assembly and out of the window some other kid points at the huge white dog thats in the playground, its a Pyrenean Mountain Dog and it walks into the school hall and sits next to the old bag headmistress.

And it speaks to us, in perfect English and tells us that its come to eat one of us and now its going to pick one, and it picks me and I have to walk to the front of the school hall to be eaten by this dog that towers above me, and no-one seems to think this is unusual, or call the Police or anything, and its only when the dog has one of my arms in its mouth and is starting to gnaw away at the bone when I wake up…

Put that record card away at the back of the drawer for gods sake…

Now then, there’s a filing cabinet drawer with a stencilled name on it called “Being Sick” here, this should be good…

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