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Back to my roots… August 25, 2011

Topic #229:

Have you been to where your parents were born? What was it like? If you haven’t been, describe how you imagine it to be.

I’ve never seen where my parents were born, well technically I would have been taken there when I was little; but that hardly counts. Both my parents moved around when they were growing up, as my grandfathers both worked in the food industry, advising on factories – one was an expert in biscuits and the other in jam – how cool is that?! Ironically they knew each other through work and my grandmas met for the first time at a bus stop, after my granny had dropped my father off for his first day at school. It’s weird how things come full circle.

I’m not sure it really matters to me where my parents grew up; but I guess if they had lived in one place for their whole childhoods then it would have more of an impact. I did go to Gunnislake in Cornwall, where my grandma was evacuated to during the war. That was really amazing and emotional for her – especially as it had changed so much; but the house was still there. I love hearing my grandma’s tales of when she was growing up. My favourite is when there was an air raid warning and my Great Nana got her up dressed her and then went to get something, she came back and found that Grandma had got back into bed and gone to sleep again, ignoring the horrendous screeching of the sirens!

I’m not sure I’d want to take my children back to where I grew up. It’s got such a range of emotions tied to it, that I’m not sure I’d want to revisit it, especially if it had changed and wasn’t the way I remembered it. I think it’s more important to show them the person you are now, than to dwell on who you were or where you came from.

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2 Responses to “Back to my roots…”

  1. Yesterday, I took my Dad to where he lived from the time he was about 7 and where his parents, my grandparents, continued to live till the mid 1970’s.

    It was a strange feeling for me, wandering around the farm-yard, even being able to go into my grandparent’s kitchen for a chat with the present occupants, memories flooding back and seeing things totally different. Remembering my summer holidays and the Saturdays that we had spent there as a family during my childhood. For my Dad, it obviously brought back lots of memories from his own early days. His memories of wartime are mostly from this place, his memories of early days at working with horses, his memories of leaving for National Service and the memories of his parents, all firmly based around this tiny area in Tilney All Saints.

    Things had changed, not for the better, (as we were wearing rose tinted glasses) but the experience was fantastic, even with that hint of sadness that always accompanies memories.

    Should you go back? I don’t know, it is a very personal thing and I can’t tell you what is good for you, it may be too difficult, it could rake up too many bad memories, but it could just put them away, in that shoe-box in the cupboard, to keep, to bring out when you want, rather than have them rattling around your head all the time. Bad memories rattle around like a stone in an empty biscuit tin, put the stone in the box too, wrapped in tissue so it doesn’t rattle!

    • Claire Says:

      Thanks Glynn, that’s really interesting. It must have been incredible, reliving three generations of memories. I can definitely see why you would want to go back.

      I love the sentiment of the shoe-box and the biscuit tin, it’s beautiful and very true. I think there’s a few things I could do with wrapping in tissue and putting away – thank you!


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