Thursday, 31 May 2012

Childhood Treasure

I often talk here about the fact that I grew up in Ghana and one of the things that was pretty hard about leaving Ghana under difficult circumstances was leaving behind a lot of childhood treasures. Ten years after both leaving Ghana and my dad passing away, my mum decided to make a poignant trip back. When she was leaving she asked if amongst some of our belongings still residing with relatives in Ghana there was anything in particular I would like her to return with. Two of my favourite books sprang to mind immediately, in particular 'Shadow the Sheep-Dog' by Enid Blyton. I have fond memories of my mum reading this book to me and it was one of few things that I often thought of and longed for. My mum did indeed return from her trip with the very treasures I had missed so much. I knew back then that when I has children of my own that I wanted them to enjoy these books alongside me and this week that time has finally come. I am in the midst of pure nostalgia as I read this wonderful book to my boys! The inscription in 'Shadow the Sheep-Dog' is equally special, it was a gift that my mum received on her ninth birthday from her friend Elizabeth in 1952. I remember as a child being so fascinated and a little baffled by the idea of my mum ever being nine years old. I was talking to my mum about all of these thoughts and memories this week when she visited and as she spoke of her deep regret that my siblings and I had been separated from many of our childhood treasures. As a parent myself now, I empathised with her desire, even now, to 'make it all better'. I wanted to reassure her that actually it didn't really have a deep impact on me having to leave our extensive collection of books. Just then I glanced up from the lunch we were sharing and all I could see right before me were floor to ceiling bookshelves with rows and rows and rows of my books. I looked at mum and we laughed a little as we recognised that perhaps the experience did have a deeper impact than I had at first thought. Books truly are wonderful, they are dear friends, good company, they are familiar and comforting, they serve as reminders of space and time and their presence on my shelves offers a much greater meaning than simply the words contained within their pages. 

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