Friday, November 30, 2007

Meme - earliest memory

We went to a multicultural festival recently. We live in the now-deposed Liberal G4ry H4rdgr4ve's seat, who stated some weeks ago that people in his electorate were 'exhausted' by the presence of Sudanese refugees. I did find the festival a little exhausting - we had to stand in a queue for a delicious African spiced pancake, and there was so much face-painting and choir-singing and dancing that it was all a bit overwhelming. If only they weren't here and we could have nice normal undemanding fetes, with coconut ice and a spinning wheel and a devonshire tea tent.

I've been tagged by Meli to tell you about my earliest memory.

The earliest I can remember is my sister's first birthday, so I would have been four. We were holidaying with cousins in Sydney at the time - we'd all gone up on the Southern Aurora, the overnight train from Melbourne. I remember being really excited about the idea of having breakfast in the dining car (Mum of course had packed our dinner so we hadn't experienced the dining car the night before) but come morning I felt too queasy from the constant rocking to eat anything. Mum made me a fabulous dress for Zephyr's party - white chiffon with big pink polka dots all over it, worn over a petticoat. It's a shame I don't have my photo albums up here, I really looked a treat. It could be that I only remember this dress so clearly because Zephyr wore it three years later. Mum also made Zephyr a Humpty-Dumpty birthday cake, out of the Woman's Weekly birthday cake book. It was a square cake, stood on one end and iced in brown, with the outlines of the bricks etched into it with the end of a pipe cleaner. And Humpty-Dumpty, a blown egg, perched on the top. He had little pants on but I can't remember what they were made of! We had that book for years - every year as a birthday approached, we would pore over it for hours to choose this year's birthday cake design. Mum always tried to convince us girls a Dolly Varden cake was the best - basically a cake baked in a pudding basin, decorated with rosettes of cream and icing, with a legless Barbie shoved in then top so she looked like she was wearing a big crinoline. Boring for us - but I guess less complicated than the trains and teddies and farmyards we invariably chose.

We slept in a caravan in our cousins' backyard and it flooded - I remember being woken up in the middle of the night with water coming up through the bottom of the caravan. How is this possible? I might have to check this detail with my parents - it sounds inconceivable that there would be that much flooding while we slept soundly.

The other thing I remember about this holiday was a family walk around Circular Quay. I looked over the edge into the water and asked my mother, 'What would you do if I fell in?' She said, 'I would throw you a flower,' and kept walking. I was shocked! and remember vivid nightmares, in which I thrashed about in the water while my mother walked off, for some time. I told my mother about this quite recently - she couldn't remember it. It's frightening, in a way, they kind of off-the-cuff things you can say as an adult that have a profound impact on literal children. Then again, I don't think I'm truly scarred by the experience.


JahTeh said...

I remember every dress my mother ever made for me which astounds her but I think I loved fashion even as a small child.

I just popped in to see if the kids were still on board. There can't be much room left so you think they'd be fighting to get out.

meli said...

thanks for sharing! i think we had the same cake book. i remember one year having the cake with chocolate fingers all around the edge of it to look like a picket fence. or maybe i just wanted it...

Mikhela said...

Yes, I remember that! that cake had green coconut on top to represent grass - it could then be turned into a farmyard, or a racetrack, or a swimming pool, depending on how the top was decorated (I liked the swimming pool, which involved a jelly 'pool' and little dolls in lolly life-savers floating about)

Mikhela said...

And yes, the children's latest hobby is Morris-dancing on my bladder.

meli said...

yes! the swimming pool was amazing! i don't think i ever got to have it, just stared at the picture longingly.

hope they dance their way out sometime soon.