cracks in the ceiling, windows on childhood

This bedroom.  Where she knew the pattern of cracks in the ceiling better than any other fact of her life.
Shipping News, p.54

Reading this, I realised I also remember the patterns on the ceiling above Mum and Dad’s bed in the big bedroom in Bangor Street, where my sister and I also slept in bunk beds.  As I lay, falling asleep with monkey held close, the pattern above seemed like the face and shoulders of some giant that had slept in the attic and left his impression in the plaster like the smaller dent in the sheets when I got up in the morning.

I had forgotten it, but I can see it now, patterns upon light green woodchip ceiling paper, as clear as the sky and grass before me where I am sitting now, and mornings with tea from the Goblin Teasmade and Dad bringing up marmalade-laden toast cut in triangles before, workman-fashion, he sipped hot tea from the saucer.

3 thoughts on “cracks in the ceiling, windows on childhood

  1. Dad, I’d like to use this as a monologue! Can I? I love the way it’s written and I thought I could do it in a Welsh accent. I wondered if you write another paragraph at the end… maybe about why this memory means so much to you. Not anything contrived but just whatever your instinctive reaction is to that question I guess: why is this memory important to you? Not if you don’t want to though! Love you xxx

  2. why this memory means so much to me?

    I guess as I’ve grown older, childhood almost seems closer, and in particular those early years before dad died when life seemed so perfect as a family. Now maybe memories even more precious since mum died and the human links becoming thinner. Those mornings having breakfast in bed, some of the most precious … and I still like toast cut in triangles with marmalade and sliced banana laid out in a special pattern just like dad used to make for us.

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