Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Childhood memories

Once upon a time, a girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead went missing. This was before the times of over-protective parents, so it wasn't until dinner time that her mother noticed and sent her sisters to find her.

When the sisters returned alone, the mother sent out the father. Again, he had no luck. Mildly disturbed, neighbours were roused and checked, and entire streets meandered up and down, enjoying the late summer sunshine, and checking with each other. "Have you seen her? No. Ah well, she'll turn up."

When she didn't, perturbation moved up a notch to worry. Not panic, not yet. Soldiers from the nearby barracks - since this was the seventies, and West Germany - were called in. Teams of squaddies hunting high and low.

Where was the girl? Well, she was playing in a sycamore tree. She liked climbing trees and had played happily all afternoon. She had heard her sisters calling, but wanted to play. She saw the neighbours, and whistled to get their attention, but they didn't look up into the branches. She dropped "helicopters" - sycamore seeds - down on the soldiers' heads, but they didn't look up either.

Bored finally, the girl slipped down the tree while it was quiet and went home. She probably helped herself to some cold dinner since she would have been hungry. Had she chosen a damson tree to climb she may well have stayed up there longer, spitting the pits at passers-by. Her parents may well have found her at home, reading a book and bemused by the fuss. She was a very laid-back child.

The ending of the story fades into the mists of memory, but one thing remains to be said.

Sorry, Mum.

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