Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Year's Mind.

Yesterday passed off quite well. I went across to Mum's and, after we had fuelled the Green Beastie at a Royal Dutch Shell emporium, we found Dobbie's Garden centre to purchase floors etc before going to the cemetery. After that, to pass the time, we decided a run to St Andrew's was a lousy idea due to the pouring rain and headed instead for the Odeon to watch "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" - based on the John Boyne short novel and giving a take on the Holocaust through the eyes of a concentration Camp Commandant's 8 year old son. If you've read the book, do see the film - it's fairly faithful to the novel. If you haven't then do go and see it. It's sombre but has light touches and does actually cover the ground without really harrowing the soul. It's also nicely acted - a good ensemble cast who underplay beautifully. A terrible sense of normality pervades the whole film. Doubt it'll pick up an Oscar, but it'll do well in the BAFTA's and I suspect in Berlin. Not so sure about Cannes.

Mum gave me a surprise by lending me a tape she had discovered after Dad died. It was a recording he made of himself talking to the 3 of us about life after he'd gone. It's must have been made at least 10 years ago as he has no speech impediment (ergo it's pre stroke) but after the by-pass op (therefore not older than 20 yrs). She was a bit reluctant to let me take it away ("You can listen to it in the spare room") but I really felt I didn't want to listen to it in their house with all the memories that holds and with her next door - if I want to blub, I'll do it in my own space without worrying about how I'm going to face her 5 mins later and not upset her. I didn't actually say that, but we looked at each other and she handed it over without comment. I suspect she knew what was going on in my mind - she usually does.

Part of me is curious and wants to listen and hear what Dad had to say. Like many a Scottish male he rarely talked about what he felt. Part of me dreads hearing his voice because I'm not sure how I'll react - particularly as it's the voice prior to the stroke. But I think it's something I need to do.


  1. Do it. You'll be glad. What a wonderful thing to have. I have the letters my dad wrote to my mother when they were young, and also during the war; my sister couldn't bear to read them but I loved learning and hearing someone I thought I knew so well.

  2. I will: it's just an odd feeling to hear his voice again.

  3. If you were your priest, how would you advise this be handled? Just a thought. A question I often ask myself. Split personality? What, us?

  4. I'd advise myself to do it very quietly in a room witha box of hankies on standby. I actually want to do it but I'm just wondering how I will react.

  5. Hi John, Loisten to it when you are ready, you can always stop it and start again later!
    You'll be so glad you have this, my Mum died 29 years ago... gosh time moves fast doesn't it. Not only can I still hear her voice in my head. Like you, about a year after she died we found a tape she had recorded of herself reciting some of her poetry... We didn't even know she wrote poetry. It was so special and even now I can't listen to it without a certain degree of sadness but real special joy too.
    My Dad had bought her a tape recorder for Christmas and she had been playing about with some blank tapes one day. She died very unexpectedly only 5 months later and this was in the pre video days, so it was such a joy to have and it means my kids have been able to hear their grandma's voice - even though she died before they were born...
    Sorry long comment but I hope you don't mind, your blog brought it all back and I remember how long it took me to listen to my tape after I got it!