Julie S.

The first cloth in my memory must have been my blanket. I still have it. A piece of candlewick with a picture of a rabbit (I think) on a swing. The creature has a black eye and I would wrap this bit around my first finger and rub the bit under my nose while I sucked my thumb. Now I know this wasn’t the first blanket I had. I have a distant image of being in a car, it’s dark, we’re going somewhere, and I think this somewhere was Liverpool airport. This was 1965 and I now know we were going to fly to Spain for a holiday. Nobody did that in the 60’s, we were privileged. I seem to think I am in the footwell of the passenger seat of the car, it’s dark. This image is stuck in my head and as I am now 55 years old and have many other memories I am unable to verify it. Maybe I should ask mum. I’m going to see her today so I could ask. But she’ll say “I can’t remember that!”. I’ll ask her anyway just to prove to myself that she will reply that way…. I may surprise myself, she may surprise me. Let’s see what happens.

I was 5 years old when we went to Spain. But as I said, I know that I had a blanket before this. The blanket was a piece of cot blanket, not necessarily my cot blanket. This could become a search for the truth, or I may just get the blanket out of the cupboard and suck my thumb and rub the bit of my face under my nose and feel the satisfaction once again. Of course the word blanket conjures up the image of a huge thing, this item is less than a foot square. The more I write the more I want to take it out of the cupboard where I know it is hiding, yet now I am not so sure of this. So many things that I seemed to be sure about I am now questioning. Were we going to Liverpool in the car? Or were we going somewhere else? For a fleeting moment this seems to matter to get the facts right, as if it will gnaw away at me if I don’t find out the truth. It was my left hand I sucked my thumb with, or was it? It is always my left hand now when I come across the blanket and have a secret thumb suck. Then there was the smell of it. After a time the blanket would get dirty and obviously mum would wash it then it would take some time to gain that special comforting smell again, then the washing, then the smelling. A circle. I wonder why I kept this item. I have a connection to objects from the past. I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I believe that I am trying to capture moments from my past that evoke happiness. This is a recent idea. For years I have been the keeper of stuff, must to the disgust of my family who don’t believe in books or clutter.