Wednesday, 19 October 2016


That's one of my old houses second from the top

Here's a curious thing:  I've noticed that, in most of the houses my family lived in over the years, there was a discrepancy between the official tenancy commencement dates and the actual dates we moved in.  (Same goes for the tenancy expiration dates.)  So, it's on file that our tenancy of my present abode began on Monday 12th June 1972,  but we didn't actually move in until Wednesday 14th.  "Why?" you may ask.  I assume that the 14th was the earliest date that we and the family with whom we swapped houses could jointly book our removal vans.

So we lived in our old house for two days longer than we should have, and moved into our new one the corresponding period of time later than we were supposed to. As for our previous domicile before that, we were meant to take possession on October 28th 1965, but didn't do so until ten days later.  That means I was cheated out of my first Hallowe'en in what became my new house, but had an extra one in its predecessor.  "So what's your point, you nutter?" I seem to hear you all enquire of me in unison.

It's just that I sometimes find myself wondering in what subtle way it might have affected (if at all) my perceptions and memories of those times and places if events had unfolded in the way they were meant to?  I had seven birthdays and seven Christmases in that house, but only six Hallowe'ens.  If we'd moved in on the official date, I'd have had the full complement of seven All Hallows' Eves. However, I'd only have had one in the previous house if things had gone as the council had prescribed, and only one birthday - whereas my next birthday fell on flitting day, meaning it belongs to both houses.

Does it make any difference though?  That's just it, I don't know.  Part of me says no, another part can't help but wonder if it might have, because on such seemingly inconsequential events, the repercussions can be potentially immense.  For example, if I'd lived in my new home from the official date we were supposed to have moved in, a speeding car taking a corner too fast might've knocked me down, and then I wouldn't be here now boring you with this tedious exercise in pointless 'what ifs'. However, because we didn't take up residence until ten days later, that possible fate was avoided.

Yeah, that's an extreme example, and not quite the direction I intended to take. What I was trying to get at is this:  if we have a different sense of our own history, can it affect the way we participate in our own future, and, if so, in some peculiar way, affect that future to such an extent that it wouldn't unfold in the manner that it did? (Looking at what was once our future in the past tense of course.)  Yes, I know that's kind of vague, but it's the best my aged and addled mind can manage, alas. Hopefully, you'll be able to see the target I'm aiming for.

If so, feel free to jump in with your thoughts and theories in our captivating comments section.


Anonymous said...

I was born in Islington, North London but when I was 15 months old we moved to the highlands of Scotland (I don't know exactly where but my mother had a little jug with "West Highland Pottery" stamped on the bottom) and then nine months later we moved again to South Wales where I've lived ever since. It's often occurred to me what if I'd been brought up in London ? Or Scotland ? Either of those scenarios could easily have happened which meant I'd have had a completely different life - living in a different house, going to different schools, different friends, different life experiences, different memories, even talking in a different accent. Would I still be "me" ?

Kid said...

And, even assuming (for the sake of discussion) that none of those changes of location had any significant effect on your character or personality at that point, would having a different set of memories and associations to look back on as you were growing up, affect how the future you turned out? That's what I find fascinating to ponder. Would a seemingly small thing like remembering buying a particular comic (or series of them) in one local newsagent's while living in one neighbourhood, make any kind of difference to you later than if you remembered buying it in another?

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