A few weeks ago I wrote about, putting my story so far down in words to help me take stock of who I am at what my values are. Since then I have taken my mind map and have started adding detail. So far I have about 5 different stories. I have found the experience immense fun and quite enlightening. What I have realised is, after speaking to my sister that we all have very individual memories of events that are not necessarily accurate. Also our memories change as we get older, for the obvious reason of time passing, and our recollection is affected by the recollections of others. Our brain likes to have a complete story, so when you are bringing a memory to mind your brain will gather all the information it has on this memory including the memories of others. If there are still gaps in the memory the brain will try to fill in the gaps by guessing what would have happened based on what similar events they have recollections for, however these may not be real events as the brain does not differentiate from real events and those that have been told to you through story telling.
What I am writing is not an accurate biography of my family life, but more a series of recollections that influence how I react to events and future plans, and that is exactly what I was wanting.
Below is an extract of what I have written so far. It would be wonderful if you feel inspired to do the same to help you understand your own motivation. Mainly enjoy the story and let me know what you think.
I was born in Gosport, Hampshire, on the 3rd March 1971. Apparently it snowed. I added that meteorological snippet of information because for the 10 years I lived in Gosport I never saw snow, and it is also something I always say to people (if you have known me long enough you have probably heard this several times) when talking about my birthday. It might not be true, and I cannot check now just in case it didn’t snow.
I lived in Gosport for the first 10 years of my life. My Dad was a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy and Gosport is near the Naval Base in Portsmouth. We moved from Gosport up to Chester in 1981 when my Dad retired from the Navy.
I was youngest child of Dorothy and Glyn Smith. I have a brother and sister, but more about them another time.
For the last 3 years of my life in Gosport we lived on a brand new estate on near Grove Road in Gosport. It was so new it was being built! For a 7 year old boy this is so exciting! With all the piles of mud and half-built walls this was the perfect place to play war. As I remember most of the games we played involved some kind of conflict, if it wasn’t war it was cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers, and if I wasn’t outside I was playing with my Air-Fix soldiers or Action Man.
I don’t see many boys playing war now, I know my boys would play call of duty, but they never really played war when out with their friends. My theory for this, is that the exposure my generation had to war was romantic, rather than based in reality. All the war films depicted a rather romantic image of war where there was heroes and villains, and the consequences of war were not always obvious. Nowadays with rolling news and realistic films, war does not always appear quite so romantic. As a consequence young people today need more realism that can only be achieved though computer games and not hiding behind a pile of mud with a stick for a gun.
The estate was a fantastic place for kids. All the houses and flats were set back from the roads so there was plenty of space for us to play safely, with each Close having a play ground. This meant that we had free rein across the whole estate without being in danger. Well apart from the time I fell off a wall into a big bush of stinging nettles! Oh and the time I got stuck in the mud and lost a welly! Traumatic times, but I survived.
If we weren’t playing war we played cops and robbers. One of our favourite TV programmes of the time was CHIPS. For those of you too young to remember CHIPS it was an American cop show about the Californian Highway Patrol. We would reenact the show, by riding around the estate looking for malcontents and hooligans. To add to the realism we would attach football cards to our spokes to make our bikes sound like motorbikes. Wonderful times.
Being a Highway Patrolman in the summer was hot and thirty work, so the arrival of the Ice Cream Van was always a welcome sight. The sound of Greensleeves would set off a frenzy back to our houses to get ice cream money. Our Ice Cream Van was Lyons Maid and I can still remember the menu on the side of the van. Cider Quench was one of my favourites.
After a big film release there was always an ice lolly version, which meant this was the lolly to get. I remember the chocolate flavoured Star Wars lolly which was not great, however the Star Trek blended lolly was the business.
Those summer weekends were magical times, that estate was a wonderful place to grow up with freedom to play outside with friends.