Monday 11 December 2023

Neverending Top Ten #6.6: Home Movies

This a photograph of me, aged... I dunno, 2? I have posted it here before, but's one of only a handful of photographs that document my early childhood. I have more from when I was slightly older, by which time I had a camera of my own... but baby and toddler photos are scarce.

This is a photograph
A window to the past
Of your father on the front lawn
With no shirt on
Ready to take the world on
Beneath the West Texas sun
The year that you were born
The year that you are now
His wife behind the camera
His daughter and his baby boy
Got a glimmer in his eye
Seems to say, this is what I'll miss after I die
And this is what I'll miss about being alive
My body
My girls
My boy
The sun

By contrast, Louise and I have thousands of photographs documenting Sam's childhood, stored on phones, computers, even printed out and stuck in albums, or designed into calendars. He will have the option, when he's older, or looking back through an entire visual history of his youth. He might not appreciate it at first... but when he reaches middle age, this will be a treasure trove.

Old photographs and places I remember
Just like a dying ember
That's burned into my soul
Even though we walk the diamond-studded highways
It's the country lanes and byways
That makes us long for home

We found an old video of him in his high chair eating mushed up baby food last week. I welled up watching it. Here was my little baby again. It was amazing how it all came flooding back. Like the fact that he used to call Louise's dad "Surname" Granddad, or the way he referred to one of the cats we had back then. When he was little, we had three cats: Molly, Murphy and Wispa. In the video, he talked about them all: "Molly, Murphy and... Der Der". Sam always used to call her that and we never knew why. Wispa is hardly a difficult word to pronounce. But Der Der it was. And to be honest, she was a bit of a Der Der.

If you go reaching for your past, 
Make sure your grip is iron clad
Open up your mouth don't laugh, 
At all the pretty people living in a photograph


  1. My baby sister always referred to me as Tiffy. I don't know why, it sounds nothing like Ernie or any other name I might occasionally use.

  2. This hits home, same for me and Amusements Minor. Like how he would call gloves "glubs", and many, many more besides. I don't even need video clips to well up, I have some audio recordings on my phone of pre-speech burbling - gets me every time.

  3. Oh - that pic, all buttercups and rosy cheeks, are you sure you weren't the child star in a 1970s advert for Kerrygold or the like?
    - On the subject of children's mispronounced names/words, I was thinking the other day just what an incredible innate ability we all have from such a young age in ever learning to speak at all - I mean, when you really analyse it: the process, of knowing nothing and then just picking it up, putting it all together, understanding meaning, just from sounds and expressions and pointing, etc. etc. I had one of those kind of 'meaning of life' moments thinking about it and had to sit down.

    1. No, but I was being chased by an enormous Dougal.

      Yes, the infant's capacity for learning language is astounding... particularly when you consider how hard it is to learn a new language when you're older.

  4. Cute picture.

    My daughter unwittingly came up with a portmanteau. When still in those nappy like pull up pants she called them her “nants”


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