On the news this morning they spoke about how rare it is to get more than two generations of a family together. It got me thinking about my family and those occasions when we come together. Outside of the obvious births, deaths and marriages we’ve managed to hold onto a weekly get together for most of our adult lives, certainly for most of our daughter’s life, she being the only third generation amongst us and likely to be the last of our line of the family.
Our weekly meet up normally centres on my mum and sister’s house. It involves food, obviously! – You can’t pass up a chance of mum food – general chit chat and Kate’s aunt and uncle mercilessly picking on her, which she secretly loves. This is all normal family behavior, and although we don’t consciously intend to talk about childhood it inevitably comes up in conversation, more so as we’ve gotten older.
Reminiscence is like a comfort blanket you unconsciously reach for. I guess it’s because it’s safe, the past is certain, the future not so. Those days we choose to look at through rose tinted glasses, when the sky was always bluer than blue and you had the energy to run everywhere, even if it was just to the kitchen to get some luminescent orange Kia Ora juice and back in time to watch Top Cat on TV.
Nothing seemed bad, even though our family consisted of a single parent, three kids and my aunt and uncle who looked after most of the time as mum work permanent nightshift in a tea factory. Nothing was bad really. We didn’t have money to waste on fashionable clothes, we had lots of hand me downs, but being teenagers in the late seventies and punk rockers, – well I was, my brother liked metal and my sister was too young to like anything credible! – Clothes weren’t high on our priorities.
Mum cut our hair, obviously, and terribly! With a huge pair of tailor’s scissors! But again the seventies hid many bad haircuts as well as fashion mistakes! We could afford a holiday once a year, mainly Bultin’s in Filey but later trips as far afield as Ostend and Camping in Salou in Spain, where we discovered mayonnaise on chips, a food revolution in 1978.
But most of our reminiscence is about daily life; school, home, sibling rivalry, mums ability to fetch us a clip faster than Bruce Lee, and school holidays. Gloriously long schools holidays when you were kicked out of the house after breakfast and were called in from the doorstep for your tea. My daughter loves hearing those little stories and my mum loves telling them to her and us three kids love being the connections between the first and third generation in my family.