It’s been an age since I’ve blogged here. Life has been somewhat messy, but I’m hoping to start again.
I wanted to post this random stream of thought.
I’m not sure there’s any real message behind it other than hope. All of us will go through difficult times at some point in our lives (some more than others), but usually, there’s something good that we can hold on to, or hope for better days ahead.
It’s really easy to let the bad things in the world – and our negative thoughts – get the better of us, but fun, inspiration and joy can strike just as quickly and when we least expect it.
I’ve never lived in Deptford, but my dad (and come to find out that almost his entire lineage basically dating back to the dawn of man) did.
He died when I was 16.
And due to a combination of me being an 80s kid and my family being skint for much of the time, I have no home videos to look back on.
What I do have is a cassette tape.
I must have been three or four years old when my dad sat down with me in my nan and grandad’s kitchen and decided to tape us being daft.
In the 33 or 34 years since then (yikes) we had a few years where we moved house six times due to redundancy and bankruptcy. Business were started, business were folded. Boxes were moved. Things were stolen by villainous “friends” of the family. And many, many clear outs happened. But somehow, I kept hold of that cassette tape.
The other day I remembered that I bought a USB cassette converter last year. I’d moved to my own flat since then – which should have been a cause for celebration, but it only happened because my mum died after a very sudden illness and I had to move from the flat we’d been living in for 25 years. The place that started as emergency accommodation and became the first stable home I really remember.
Of course, it’s been seven months since I moved out of London and into a place of my own and I still have some boxes to unpack.
I found the cassette tape in the cardboard box full of memories.
It was lunchtime, and I needed something to reset my brain. So, I opened the box, and there it was, no case or anything.
Pessimistic by nature, I thought the USB Walkman thing wouldn’t work or that the cassette would somehow be blank. Or that I’d gotten the wrong one despite it having “me and dad singing” scrawled across it.
Anyway, I connected the Walkman to the laptop, put the cassette in and pressed play.
Cue toddler me screeching at 100 decibels.
Somehow, after 34 years, the tape survived, and I heard my dad sing.
That sounds very poetic and all, but we sounded like Chas and Dave – if Dave was on helium, and a three-year-old girl – and we sang songs like The Grand Old Duke of York and Humpty Dumpty). I sounded like a mini version of my dad! My accent was totally different (I decerned, as I listened to myself, yelling random countdowns into a cassette deck).
What really stood out to me though is how insanely happy I was. Screeching, giggling hysterically until I had coughing fits, singing extremely badly (one thing that’s not changed).
It was like having an out of body experience. I can see us in that kitchen. I can feel how happy we were.
Most of the people who had a hand at raising me are long gone now. But the memories remain. Sometimes you just have to look for them.