A couple of months ago I read a request on Linda Jones’ website ‘Have a Lovely Time’ for women who would be willing to share their memories of childhood family holidays. One specific holiday type they were researching was the package holiday to the Mediterranean from the 1970s. I had only recently posted a photo of a 5 year old, nut-brown me pretending to paddle on a Majorcan beach for the Young At heart Photo Meme so I thought this category fitted me particularly well.
So began a fortnight of meandering through my childhood memories, accompanied by an enthusiastic mum who became my researcher. Mum hunted through albums at home to find suitable photos and helped to jog my memory. She bundled up the pics and sent them off to me so I could sift through them and find good ones to scan. My memories of dates and locations were patchy but Mum was fantastic, reminding me which hotel we went to which year and even how much the holidays cost. Left to my own devices, my own recollections of these years started to trickle back to me. I remembered a cine-film my Dad took when he raced off the plane first so he could capture me coming down the steps dressed in my stripey poncho and sombrero, carrying castanets and maracas.
Olivia, the journalist writing the article, was very happy with the photos and the email detailing my stories. She arranged to interview me by telephone a week later. We had a great chat and I babbled on, not quite sure how useful the information I was giving her actually was. She assured me the magazine, which I was now told would be Prima, were pleased with the photos and my inclusion in her article would go ahead.
Last week Mum rang me to say her subscription copy of the July issue of Prima had arrived. I was slightly nervous about her reaction as my memories had included adults getting sozzled on local cocktails and children running around on the beach all day with hardly a Factor 2 to protect them. Fearful Social Services might pay her a retrospective visit, I hoped she would take it all in good part. She did! She was so excited as there is a whole page devoted to our family recollections, surrounded by the snaps she had helped choose for me.
Mum and Dad are celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary on 6 June so we visited them this weekend. The magazine article became a focus for the celebrations: “Oh look at your brother in his football kit!”, “What a handsome chap your dad is?, “Wow, Mum, that dress is gorgeous!” I was so thrilled that my blogging, which began as a personal diary, would lead to something like this which I had no idea would bring such pleasure to my family.
We travelled back last night with a teeny stripey poncho in the boot: Mum had kept it all these years.
So hunt out the July copy of Prima (it should hit the shops this week) and turn to the Summer Special section. You will see the lovely Linda in a beauty parade at Butlins on page 70 and my own story on page 72.