Saturday, March 06, 2010

R.A.M.


Random Access Memory (mine)

The long stone slide in the small village of Ballincurra near where my father was brought up looked like a 100 feet high, smoothed to a glossy shine by all the bum-ridden flat rocks that had slid down it.

“Ah go on,” he said, putting five-year-old me on the large flat stone he had carried up the hill, “You’ll never forget the feeling going down the hill, I haven’t.”

And I never have. For all the hundreds of times I slid that afternoon, shrieking, giggling, squealing. And I never want to go back there. For if it hasn’t fallen a victim to urban sprawl, it would never be as long and as thrilling as I remember it.
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The grandgirl and I were in Cavendish on Prince Edward Island, she armed with a day pass to the fairgrounds, me with my knitting. She was just tall enough for her first roller coaster ride.

“How many times?” she asked me, clutching the miracle of the unlimited access to the rides, bouncing up and down, wild with excitement.

“As many as you want,” I answered, hauling out the knitting as I sat on a bench.

It could have been five hours, maybe six, and she never got off the roller coaster. Each time she sailed past me, she had adapted herself to the personalities of the changing cast of characters who shared her trolley. If they screamed, she screamed, if they were cool, she was cool, if they put their arms in the air she did too, if they leaned to the left, ditto.

She finally staggered off as the sun was going down and threw herself on the bench beside me.

“I will never, ever, never, ever, forget today, Grandma!” she panted, face flushed, eyes shining.

It’s about ten years ago now. And she hasn’t.

17 comments:

  1. I am surprised she didn't vomit at the end of all those rides? :) This story made me smile...

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  2. This story brought back the brilliant memory for me of going to Alton Towers on a day when there was practically no-one else there. My brother and I must have gone on the Pirate Ship at least ten times over the course of an hour while my parents sat on a bench enjoying not having to go on with us, getting off one side, and running round so that we could get on again for the next one (for some reason, they wouldn't let us stay on the ride each time, even though we were only occasionally sharing with more than two or three other people).

    My brother was only just the right height to be allowed to ride it, and, to his chagrin, the ride operator measured him every single time!

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  3. That must have been a perfect afternoon for the both of you, because I'm sure you enjoyed it a lot too watching her.

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  4. Five or six hours on the roller coaster? She must have been enjoying it! I like roller coasters but I haven't been on one for years. There isn't one in Northern Ireland as far as I know.

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  5. I bet it was that 'changing cast of characters' that enchanted her, almost as much as the ride itself - sharing her experience, excitement and joy with others. Good experience for life in general eh?

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  6. what wonderful random memories--vibrant, in motion, exciting. the way life should be.

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  7. The husband was always hot on "making memories" for our son and his two daughters, so we trotted around hell's half acre every weekend, took them on holidays in Bermuda, Ireland etc. where he mercilessly frog-marched them to every museum and landmark he could find. And now, when we talk with them about their childhood, they come up with the daftest things as the memories they'll never forget. None of them, of course, of the variety manufactured by the husband! They're like those kids who ignore the expensive present, in order to play with the box it came in.

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  8. Nevin:
    She has a cast iron stomach like her grandmother, otherwise it wouldn't have been a pretty sight!
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Jo:
    Oh I love the thought of your bro being measured endlessly, how daft!
    XO
    WWW

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  10. GSW:
    It was wonderful, afterwards we played miniature golf and she beat me!
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Nick:
    She still does though they've gotten much more sophisticated!
    XO
    WWW

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  12. Actually T, it enchanted me just watching her adapt like a chameleon, that's my favourite memory!
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Laurie:
    You're right, I hadn't realized it was the motion linking it all....
    XO
    WWW

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  14. Tessa:
    Which just goes to show the memories have nothing to do with the manufacturing of more sophisticated pursuits. It goes back to the saucepan and the spoons=complete happiness for a toddler.
    XO
    WWW

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  15. Simple pleasures make the best memories. Sharing them with Grandma makes them all the more special.

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