Sunday, January 10, 2010

Memory Loss Is Snow Joke.

I'm not going to post a rant. I'm not going to post about the weather. I'm not even going to post about our Italian trip last summer, even though doing so would probably warm me up a bit.

NOOOOO, that wasn't really a weather reference but just a comment and I'm allowed those.

It seems that everyone and his frozen dog is posting and ranting about the weather where they live and as we've all GOT weather, I think enough is enough on MY blog.

So what's left ? Well some people have asked me for more WalMart stories but I've none left to tell. Still, as the place is such a rich source of blog material, I'm sure another visit will provide quality fodder.

Meanwhile, a friend back in the UK was telling me about her 20 something son and his friends going sledging yesterday and how she was happy that he could do this as he's rarely had enough 'decent' snow over his lifetime to have gone sledging more than two or three times.

This put me into a retro mood and I started thinking about my childhood memories, vis-a-vis snow. Of course I immediately hit the same problem that I hit every time I need to access my memories. Most have tipped permanently into the trash can with no chance of recovery !

In fact most of my remaining childhood memories deal with the years '63 till '70 when I was at boarding school. Hmmm I wonder why I remember those days ? I'd really love to access the years before I was 11 but I just can't do it. I've very few photos to call upon to stir these memories and maybe that's why I take so many photos these days.

I'm pretty sure I was born before I was 11. For one thing, I do know I threw a brick at another kid at primary school and hit him on the head and as part of my self imposed punishment, set myself a period of 2 years during which I'd hold myself fully responsible for any brain damage he might suffer. Thankfully I never had to deal with what I'd actually DO if he collapsed at his desk over the next 24 months but I know I asked my parents for my own passport so rapid flight may have been on the cards. I know I breathed a sigh of relief when he passed his 11+ exams as I then felt he was on his own.

But back to snow. Apart from when I was at boarding school, I have NO memories at all of snow during my yute. And before YP or someone points out a spelling mistake, that's a reference to My Cousin Vinny and we use it a lot here. Yute = Youth and is a lot funnier.

My school was perched a few hundred feet up on a mountain ledge, but don't go thinking it was like a Swiss chalet, even a large Swiss chalet. The mountain wasn't THAT tall. But that said, it did tend to attract snow when the rest of N. Ireland was clear. So on certain winter days (pre internet and probably pre weather satellites), the day boy's buses would usually set off from far flung towns only to find it impossible to navigate the very steep 2 mile private road up to the school. They would turn around and give the day boys what Americans call a snow day while we boarders had to suffer classes.

Not EVERY class, as the lay teachers lived away from the school too and they couldn't get up the road either. Hurrah. But we had enough teacher priests to ensure we never had a full day off school even if the phrase 'private study period' was frequently invoked when a priest took over a lay teacher's class.

So yes I do have memories of snowball fights and sledging and once you've seen a nun and a priest together on a sledge, I can tell you the memory will stay with you forever. And it wouldn't have been a boarding school if the snowball fights didn't turn out to be lots of fun for the hulking 6th form boys and pretty much a white massacre for us plebs. I remember having to go to the infirmary nun when a mostly ice filled snowball hit me a glancing blow on the forehead, giving me mild concussion and a bruise worthy of a prize fight.

I queried the nun's medical credentials when she put a cold compress on my forehead (enough with the cold stuff already !) and followed it up with a generous dab of iodine, her answer to every ailment. Now it was an orange coloured liquid and I'm sure it was the stuff used on skin before you have surgery but we just knew it as iodine. Sore arm ? Slap on some iodine. Something in your eye ? Flush it out with iodine. Sore throat ? Gargle with iodine. I'd never heard of iodine before her but it's firmly locked in my mind that if anything can cure cancer, mend a broken limb or shift red wine stains from a white carpet, it'll be iodine.

It just needed Billy Mays to give it publicity and credibility !

But back to Sister McSqueamy. She sent me back out with a head bandage, partly orange from 'the iodine', and for weeks afterwards I was called Borgy after Bjorn Borg who I assume had been hit by an iceball at some time in his tennis career and received similar treatment.

So my yuteful memories of snow are really all mixed up with school memories and of course since attaining adulthood and then having to drive to work for 30 years, snow became something I could well live without.

Now I'm in Florida every winter and apart from the very occasional foray to Michigan, I really never expect to experience the stuff again.

Oh sure it looks very pretty when it covers the landscape with its white blanket of silence but it comes at a price. It means it's damn cold and thanks to my black hole memories, it will always remind me of iceballs, iodine and a certain Swiss tennis player.

Note : the author rejects the suggestion that there MAY have been several weather-type references in this blog post. Although non fictional, all such references were unintentional and no one was injured or hurt during the typing of those references. Except me.....emotionally.


Jennyta said...

Ya see - ya just can't do it! Ya can't do even one post without mentioning the weather. You're just human, like the rest of us. ;)
(And you're probably dead jealous of all our snow, ice and freezing weather over here!)

Daphne said...

I love reading about your yute. So I hope more memories will come back to you, whether or not weather-related.

rhymeswithplague said...

I think that stuff is called beta-dyne. And now I can't get the picture out of my head of a nun and a priest tigether on a sledge.

Thanks a lot.

rhymeswithplague said...


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