Monday, February 03, 2014

Celebrating togetherness and the human condition.


The Celebrating Couple
It must be over 40 years since my maternal Grandparents (Tom and Winnie) celebrated their Golden Wedding and today one of my memories from that day came back to me.

Both my parents were born and brought up in Leicester and it was for them (for better or worse) always their hometown, in 1970 or 1971 my Grandparents reached the milestone of 50 years of matrimony and a large family event was organised. Two out of three of my Grandparents children lived in the Midlands but we lived in Essex and on this and similar occasions we'd  stay a night or more often two at my Grandparents house when we visited.
That darned cake
Although the journey from our home to theirs was around 100 miles door-to-door this seemed a hell of a long way back in the early 70s with no motorways to use with the associated motorway services  ( for this route ) the requirement would be whizz up the 'A' roads and hope that we didn't hit any traffic problems en-route.

At 4 Hillcroft Road where my Grandparents lived my parents would use my Grandmother's room (she'd temporarily share a room with my Granddad) , my brother would have the 'box' room and I would sleep in a 'Z' bed with my parents in the room they 's been allocated. Ahead of this particular party (held at a hotel in Leicester) various tasks had been allocated and my Mum and Dad were to supply a commemorative cake, baked by my mum and decorated by my dad but in the haste to get to Leicester it was realised on arrival on the eve of the party that the cake had been forgotten at home in Essex, initially this was not considered to big a deal but early the next morning (I think) it was decided that my father should complete the 200 mile journey to recover the cake for the party.
From Left-Me, Tom Artrocker, Tom Beesley (the third)
and Laura at the party.
Well you might wonder (as I do) why this memory has come back to me and why I'm recalling it perhaps these are some clues:

Having noticed in Foley's book that  modern research is increasingly revealing of the human memory being noticeably fallible and that the act of recall somewhat buggers up the integrity of the event I'm interested to revisit something that is not always on my mind. (I take this to be about recalling events rather than something like Ohms law) so I think what I say is correct but my parents are no longer around to corroborate the event (and I know that even if we agreed on the 'facts' they would provide quite a different gloss).

The other thing in my mind is what made me think of this, I reckon is as a result of hearing some sad news about  someone where I worked (ITN) losing their life and not being in a good state when this happened this reminded me of a time when my father was unwell, which again made me reflect on my consideration of him at this time, I was concerned but in reflection I feel I should have done more - this in turn reminds me of listening to Jimmy Tarbuck on Desert Island Discs (his second time as a castaway)  regretting that he did not take more time with his own father, I think one of the conditions of many of our lives in the time when we're 'thrusting' and attempting to achieve some place in the perceived hierarchy of our society we neglect other important things (and I would expect many parents are comfortable with this wanting their offspring to succeed).

So when I then connect this with the famous Turing Test can I imagine that a synthesised computer could feel these emotions and make this connection I think no (at this time anyway) and wonder at how and why we behave the ways we do.
 
It's around 18 months since my Aunty Iris passed away after the service to mark her life bulbs (Irises) were available to takeaway and plant to help us remember her, here's a snap of them in flower (today)
In memory
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