Janet Wilkes

reader Jean Rogers

Can we go back to where we belong,
Familiar scenes, likely places,
Where auras remind us of times when
We were happy, when we felt safe, and
Where in whimsy, we would go again?
Can we go back there, would that be good,
Would the old be gone, the new be cold,
Would seeing it now spoil the idyll,
Would the memories scupper and fade?
Or could we see, with greater clarity,
Places, where, years ago, we were from?

Our First Holiday in Wales

Janet Wilkes

creative partner and reader Jean Rogers

Eleven years ago I had the unenviable job of clearing my father’s home. (I expect you’ve been there as well.) At ninety six, after thirty five years of gentle retirement, there was much to sort and throw away.

In the kitchen, at the back of the cabinet where unused crocks were kept, I found a little egg cup in a pretty pastel blue with ‘Glan y Traeth’ written on the side. I’m not sure what it means but I remember staying in a grey stone house on a cold sea front at Towyn in North-West Wales that might have had that name.

It was the first place we went to after buying our car – a little three door, two tone Ford Anglia, in 1960.  I was twelve and the M1 had just been opened and it was with great excitement we put our cases and picnic lunch inside the boot and headed west (instead of south) for our summer holiday.

For some reason, I can’t think why, my mother was wearing a hat and she sat in the front like ‘The Lady of the Road’ and my sister and I drew five bar gates as we spotted other Ford Anglias in the same maroon and grey colours as ours until we got to Shrewsbury. There the landscape changed and we became more interested in the mountains on the distant horizon and the sight of sheep dogs rounding up the sheep.

My father loved buying souvenirs when we went away and, although most holiday mementoes had disappeared years ago, this little egg cup – though no longer used – had survived two moves and a kitchen refurbishment but had been treasured enough to keep.

On my Wedding Day my mother (out of sheer relief that at forty two I was getting married) had expressed her pleasure by placing it on my morning tea tray with blue flowers in from the garden.

Now, I have it on my table with a pencil in it. It’s just a little reminder of that year when our family went further for our holiday, when things started to get better and of the lovely man my father was, who wanted to remember nice things and talk about the good times he had had. 

Janet Wilkes

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