Tuesday 27 August 2013

Forgotten Memories

I have mentioned before about my families decision when I was fourteen to forgo the traditional gift giving Christmas and instead we would spend a couple of weeks in Florida. My brother and I were in our mid teens, so most of our gifts were of the useful kind, socks, underwear, shirts and school supplies, and really who cares about that?

The first time we went, we flew and as I recall we arrived at the Beach Terrace Motel around nine o’clock or so. The first thing we did after checking in was to go for a walk along the beach. We were all so very excited just being there and the sound of the night time surf as well as the smell and moonlight reflecting off of the ocean, told us that this would be far better than new underwear. We noticed lumps on the beach and as we came up to them we realized that they were conch shells of varying sizes that were washing up. We each grabbed a couple and eventually found ourselves back in the lobby of the Beach Terrace.
One of the other guests staying at the motel, a long time regular we found out later, shrieked “Where did you get those?” Mom told her they were all over the beach and we continued up to our room while this woman ran down to the beach. It turns out that we were very, very lucky, as no one had ever seen that many shells wash up. There must have been some kind of underwater disturbance which was just fortunate for us as we managed to get some real good souvenirs. In all of the years we went down to Florida, we never found another shell.
When we got home, I commandeered one to make into a shell bugle like they had on the Disney movie “Swiss Family Robinson”. I took it downstairs and spent what seemed like hours cutting the point off with a hack saw. I managed to get it cut off, but it either wasn’t a big enough cut or I couldn’t blow hard enough to make the thing work. There was no way I was going to try cutting more off of it and it ended up sitting in a pile with the others some where in the basement or the garage. Every now and then, I would pretend that I was one of the crew of the Nautilus and these shells would be my “brass knuckles” for my under water fighting.

The next time I saw that shell, it was years later decorating mom and dad’s new home in London around the outside of the pool. They looked good there, and every time that I visited, I would look at that shell and wonder why I couldn’t make it work. The shells spent years in the sun and eventually they had most of their colour bleached out and became universally white. Mom and dad eventually passed and one of the things I brought home was a shell. It wasn’t the one I had cut, but it was similar and it sits on a shelf downstairs, a forgotten memory.
I brought it up today when I was looking after Tornado. We had been looking at some small shells I had brought back from Hawaii and we needed something to put the small shells in. He and I were in and out of the pool (inflatable) and shells just seemed the right thing to play with. He spent an hour or so with Louise making “shell soup”, pouring the shells from a bowl to the large conch shell, over and over and over again. It was fun.

Tornado’s mom came and took him home, I put the tiny shells back in the plastic bag I have been keeping them in and put the conch shell back on the shelf down stairs with all of the other forgotten memories. I guess the thing about memories is that they are never really forgotten, especially when they start making their own memories.

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