FIRST MEMORIES EMBEDED AND WRITTEN IN THE CONSCIOUS
AT THE AGE OF FOUR I WAS ALIVE AFTER GOING THROUGH THE GATES OF HADES WITH A DEADLY DESEASE. HOLD ON ALL THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE NOW SUFFERING WITH COVID19. HOLD ON AND FIGHT BACK AS LIFE IS INDEED THE FRUIT OF HOPE, THE FOOD ND NOURISHMENT OF HOPE!
ON THE TRAIN WITH A BANDAGED FOOT;WHY?
This is the earliest memory I have of my childhood and I was about four. Yes, I cannot remember how old I was exactly but I have this trauma logged in my conscious, reminding me where I came from and who I really am. One scene and one memory, one image as vivid as anything, so alive, that nothing can dislodge this traumatic and yet sweet memory from there because that is me, my being and my life some seventy years ago.
I keep talking about mother, love of mother and child and this is the first real memory of how a mother suffers with her child, agonises with her offspring and struggles forward into life. No memory of my father anywhere as perhaps he was not around, he was doing something else to feed us, somewhere else. Some dads cannot show their love, even if it is there very strong. Yes, that was that. Proud fathers, fathers unable to share their feelings with children and their spouses. Males unable to shed a tear and admit they after all human. That was the mentality of the male species in my village and in Cyprus of the 1940s and 1950s as I grew up to remember and experience it. I am sure there were exceptions but that is not what I know myself.
There it was a black and white photo of mine with my uncle Costa, who immigrated to Australia at about 1951-52. There I was with him in one of the nearby empty spaces of the village with a small coat, proud and happy but my shoe, the left shoe was deformed, it was different to the right one. Yes, I had a sixth toe on my left foot and my specially made shoe, the one my dad made for me, he was a shoe maker, what else could he be but a shoe maker, a barber, a furniture maker or a farmer in a village so poor and so much in need of work that was nowhere.
Yes, I had sixth small tow extending left and ….. that was the fact that my mother and I assume my father took care of. They arranged for that to be removed, I cannot remember anything of that operation, the pain and screams and fear but only the sweet memory of myself with my mother stepping on the train with my bandaged leg, all white and no shoe on it.
Imagine this memory, imagine how it is to remember the only thing of those years with two things , perhaps three or four standing out and holding me as a person together:
Mother, Love, devotion, train and movement, bandage and health and I, I was happy to be on the train in those days a luxury for anyone, who could afford the fare. Of course soon after, that train was gone, those rails disappeared and a kind of motorway was built in the 1960s.
The rest of the journey to the doctors, to the hospital, I assume is not here. The trip is not here, the disappearance of the bandages and normal way of life is not here until a couple of years later. What was there to remember you might think? A birthday? no such luck. A present ? no such luck but…..
I will come back to those years with nostalgia and sweet thoughts because poverty and hunger are sweet too in their own ways and their own power. In spite of all the misery, in spite of all the hunger that was nearly always satisfied with a piece of bread, fresh or stale, I felt happy like the rest of the boys of the village. We were all friends, we were all close or closer and we all together lived to survive in hope for a better future. It was sweet I can assure you and I very much long for those old days and those old friends some of whom are now gone. I do hope to return but I know it is a hope and wish of dreams.
That most of us managed to wish and hope. But, that is a long story coming over the next few months and perhaps years! Follow the journey, my journey that is the journey of many, perhaps you too!
Dum Spiro Spero!!!
Peter Constant, I remain a refugee.
ps: This is a working document I want to share with fellow humans. Apologies for errors!!!
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