Saturday, 11 November 2017

'TIMESLIP' - 30 YEARS AGO REVISITED...


A photo of the house from a few years ago, taken in passing

I had an interesting experience earlier tonight (Friday) and, because I know all you pantin' Criv-ites devour every word I type like ravenous wolves tearing into a mountain elk, I'm going to share it with you here.  (Maybe some slight hyperbole there, but not much.  Cough.)

30 years ago, when my family returned to the house in which I now live after four years living in another, I was overjoyed.  I had never wanted to move from here in the first place, and to flit back fulfilled an ambition of mine.  I never spared much thought to the new house we'd abandoned, but after around 20 years, my buried memories of our former abode started to resurface, and I developed a warmer and fonder regard for the place than previously.

A few years ago, I was looking for something in my loft, but couldn't find it, so began to wonder if I'd inadvertently left it behind the water tank in the loft of our former residence.  I'd done the exact same thing before in 1972, and 19 years later, in 1991, I returned to what was then our previous residence and reclaimed the item from where I'd unknowingly left it.  Could I have carelessly repeated the oversight.  (Behind the water tank seemed to be my favourite place for storing certain things - not quite sure why to be honest.  Because no one would look there perhaps?)

The thought started to grow in my brain like a canker, and a few weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and contact the new tenants/owners of the house we'd left back in 1987.  I explained the situation and, surprisingly, they consented to allow me access to their loft to determine whether I'd left the item there or not.  Whatever the result, at least I'd be free of the nagging doubt that assailed my brain.

In case you're wondering, the 'item' was a small cardboard box containing two diecast metal ships (can't remember whether they were by DINKY or TRI-ANG) of, I think, the QUEEN MARY and the QUEEN ELIZABETH, as well as two small wooden tops.  I'd owned these items from the early '60s and was loathe to be without them, so if there was a chance of them still being in our old loft, I had to explore the possibility or never know peace.

Anyway, tonight was the night, but unfortunately, the item wasn't where I last remember it being.  Either I did take it with me when I left, or perhaps the tenants between us and the present inhabitants found and disposed of it.  However, it's a relief to know that it isn't lying up there abandoned and forgotten, and there's still a slim chance that it could be in a box somewhere in my current loft.

I can't finish without mentioning how welcoming the family who now own the house were, and how kindly they treated me.  I was under no illusions as to just how weird my request might seem, so to be treated so well (being given tea and biscuits) was extremely heartwarming.  It was strange to step foot in the house again after 30 years (I'd been back once, a fortnight after moving out, to collect an ironing board we'd left), but there've been quite a few changes made since then, so it doesn't have quite the same degree of the 'familiar' as previous former homes I'd revisited.  (For an example of what I mean, click here.)

It was an odd feeling to say hello again and goodbye to the house for what was most likely the final time, but at least the place as I knew it yet exists in photographs I took when I lived there, and I can visit it again whenever I like in the hallowed halls of memory.

The view from my old bedroom window in my day

14 comments:

-3- said...

Oh, you Big Tease.

It's hard for me to imagine being able to revisit former homes so easily. Mine typically have at least a thousand miles or an ocean between them. But, quite nice to hear how well received you were. We don't hear about the good people nearly so often - reminders that they're out there are always pleasant.

Kid said...

All my former homes in this town are in neighbourhoods no farther than half an hour away (at the most) from my present one, so I suppose that's facilitated my boldness in revisiting the areas over the years. However, the very first place I lived in is in Glasgow, which involves a train or a car journey, but as I have no memory of living there (having flitted when I was one and a half), I tend not to revisit it quite so often.

Yes, the people were very nice - it wouldn't have surprised me if they'd regarded my request as distinctly odd and declined.

Christopher Nevell said...

Imagine if you’d known that you were going to return, on the day you left. Sometimes I make a point of walking down a road that I haven’t done for years, slowly veering left to right and back again so that I know that I have once again crossed paths with myself. I know that there are other tracks that I will return to after a long interval. When I do I will walk them silently conversing with my former self.

Kid said...

That's interesting, CN. Whenever I walk along a path in one of my old neighbourhoods which still has original paving slabs from when I was a child (or teenager), I'm aware that I'm walking in my own footsteps - and that there's sort of two of me walking along the same path. Maybe that doesn't make any sense, but that's what's going on in my head at the time.

Christopher Nevell said...

It makes a lot of sense. I do the same thing. Nowadays I’m more conscious that I will later be nostalgic about what I’m doing at that very moment. I have though found that the clutter of thinking about my job, money, health, love, etc is easily forgotten about when looking back. When I reminisce little of that comes back whereas the larger things like family members being dead or alive and where I was living are recalled ( probably the state of my comic collection too).

Christopher Nevell said...

Another thing. If you could travel back for one day with the guarantee that you could bring something back with you (even lots of items), would you follow yourself all day and watch from afar or instead have a day in London hoovering up cheap silver age comics and art?

Kid said...

I was always too busy looking back to the past to realise that one day I'd be looking back to what was then the present. I think that's what happened with the house I revisited - once it was sufficiently in the past and represented a vanished period of my life, then I started to miss it.

Good question. As long as me going into the past and bringing back a few (or a lot of) items didn't alter my present or future, or create some kind of time-paradox, I'd rescue certain items I threw out before my younger self did so. Toys that I've so far been unable to replace because they're so rare.

Dave S said...

Christopher, I love the fact that I can walk the same streets as I did in the past - I've read a (little) bit about eternalism, the idea that time is just a dimension like distance but we're not equipped to see into it the way we can look into the distance (Alan Moore has discussed this in interviews) and find it very comforting to think that I'm walking alongside my younger self or family members who are no longer with us.

I totally agree that nostalgia seems to edit out all the moments of boredom or worry that were often woven in among the good times - I sometimes find myself becoming nostalgic for an event in the past and then realise that the rest of my life at that time was not especially pleasant. I suppose my brain just considers the good memories more important than the not-so-good, and I'm totally happy with that.

If I can answer the question about going into the past too, I'd go back and steal all my cool stuff from my younger self - the frankly awesome comic collection that I once curated, books, matchbox cars, Top Trumps sets, Usborne books - and bring them back to the present day for safe-keeping. My younger self would be distraught when he found out they'd vanished, but he'd appreciate it when he reached my age.

Kid said...

That's an interesting answer to the question, DS. If the current theories are true, the grown up version of your younger self would exist in another reality created at the point you returned, because supposedly you create a divergent timeline from that moment, while the future you came from continues on unaffected. Your alternate adult self in that other reality might be a total psycho, turned that way by having all his comics and toys nicked from him by yourself. Ach, what the hell - your reality would be unchanged, except for you having all that great stuff again.

Dave S said...

Hmm, I might just settle for leaving my younger self a note then : 'Don't get rid of all your cool stuff, you'll regret it and it'll cost you a fortune to replace it. Put it all away somewhere safe if you think you've grown out of it, cos you'll grown back into it again.'

My younger self was a Doctor Who fan so he'd have no problem believing in a note sent from the future. I'd also add another warning to myself: 'don't buy a red tie-dye Led Zeppelin t-shirt in 1994. It might look good it the shop but it's not a good look for you'.

Kid said...

Is it a good look for anyone?

Yeah, a note to your younger self might do the trick. But if your younger self kept his stuff, you wouldn't be consumed with a desire to replace it (having no need to as you still had it all), so you wouldn't go back into the past with your note, your younger self would't keep his stuff - and then you'd be consumed by that collector compulsion and it would all begin again. Talk about time loops, eh?

Dave S said...

Yeah, its all getting a bit Sapphire and Steel. I should just be glad I've managed to replace so many of the items I've enjoyed over the years.

PS - that t-shirt was only worn once - I realised how awful it looked on the way to meet friends and spent the rest of the night with my jacket zipped up to the throat. Not my finest sartorial hour.

Kid said...

Apologies for the delay in replying. I intended to put my head down for 10 minutes and then fell asleep for over 2 hours. I've worn some dodgy styles myself in my youth - none of them ever in fashion at the time either. I think I was still wearing flares in the 80s for crying out loud.

-3- said...

Dave - In gaining the awareness in time to hide the shirt before being seen, it might have, in fact, been quite a fine sartorial hour.

I was busy out flaunting my parachute pants in the 80s. Still miss all those pockets...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...