A LIfe In Haibun (ii)

Having started with my first memory, I assumed that I would move on to the next. I faced a dilemma. I was not sure whether the memory I had was from actual recollection or from recollection of hearing the story from my mother, who frequently retold family mythology. This was mostly because one or other of us four siblings wanted to hear how another – more often than not me – got into trouble. Then everyone would laugh, though I very much doubt my parents did at the time.

Unreliable memories, as Clive James almost titled his autobiographical series. Talking this over with my sibs, on the most hilarious occasion over a couple of drinks after my Father’s funeral, they have quite varying accounts of the same family events; events where we were all present.

This is not an unusual or unknown phenomenon. In fact, it is the norm, as any Policeman or Detective will tell you. No two witnesses give the same description of a person or event. Unless they are conspirators, maybe.
So I am not going to run this in strict chronological order. My memory is far too shabby at this advanced age anyway. No apology for any confusion caused, it will only mirror my own.

in order
not my life


A Life in Haibun (i)

I cannot pin it down.
My first memory is a mayfly – darting, vivid, short-lived.
I am running through an English wood, near the college where my military father was undertaking a command course. I think my older sister was with me, because I believe I was returning home from nursery school and she was at the corresponding primary school, but I am not certain of that.
My head collided with something swinging from a branch. A hornets’ nest.
I ran home in a cloud of angry insects, painful lumps springing up all over my face and scalp.
I remember being dunked in a cold bath and…well, that’s about it.
What bothers me is that, while my sister confirms the facts, I must have been just short of three years old at the time and that seems somewhat young to remember, even if it was a fairly traumatic event. (I get a massive histaminic reaction now to any insect sting, though short of anaphylaxis.)

Swarming hornets
Swirling, darting, painful
Nest of memories