It seems every week I am a bit last minute in deciding what Friday’s new prompt is going to be and waiting for the universe to provide the answer. Serves me right as I guess it has! I’ve been up and down all night – I won’t go into details but suffice to say I thought at first I may have eaten too much fruit yesterday but, no – it would appear to be more that I’m playing host to something my body’s doing its best to expel!
Of course, it had me thinking of being ill as a child when the grim reaper had to be hanging over my shoulder before Mum would agree to a day off school!
Ah ha! Perhaps then, it’s time for a prompt of “Childhood Illness”!
Other people’s responses to these weekly prompts hold surprises for me every time. It’s clear as the time goes by, how curious we are in the seemingly ordinary, especially experience different to our own or reminders of things we’d forgotten. Sometimes differences in age simply mean a bit of history can be told and what we may feel to be our ‘ordinary’ is fascinating to someone else.
So, let’s stick to a constraint of childhood but allow it to be up to late teens – Covering a lifetime’s illnesses might be too tricky – Remember too, it can of course be told from different perspectives – for example your memories as a friend, sibling or parent of a child.
If you’re new to Bite Size Memoir, it’s designed to help anyone record some personal memoir in small manageable bites. There’s a prompt every week and some constraints to keep it small (with full details at the bottom of this post). Feel free to dip in and out as a prompt grabs you, without the need for a weekly commitment.
To catch up on how it started, please read here. If you have your own blog and want to participate, please feel free to incorporate links to and from your post to encourage readers to blog hop.
I’ll start you off with my memories in two formats:
10 x I remember statements
I remember going for tea with a boy called Simon, so I could catch measles and get it out of the way with.
I remember chicken pox at thirteen and being disappointed I only got 14 of those incredibly itchy spots to paint sodium bicarbonate on.
I remember a winter vomiting virus or food poisoning in our cold, cold house.
I remember projectile vomiting across my bedspread, my brother doing the same. I assume my parents made it to the bathroom.
I remember we were all so bad the GP visited, went away and came back with medicine and that was my mother’s measure of how bad it must have been.
I remember vaguely all four us in one bed. My brother and I must have been small but we’d also run out of bedding.
I remember M having loads of molluscum growing on his body and being told they would take two years to resolve.
I remember the GP being amazed as well as delighted when I got rid of them in 4 weeks using lavender and tea tree oil. Apparently it couldn’t be done.
Another time, I remember sponging down and holding his hot and sticky little body, watching rapid breathing and flickering eyes.
I remember a sense of rising to my ultimate responsibility, to keep him safe until he’s ready for the world.
150 words prose
We weren’t often ill but probably had our fair share of childhood illnesses. Mum was the district nurse and she knew what being properly ill looked like. Many times I would be forced to drag my self to school even when I felt wretched.
Of course, she needed to go to work so us being home was an inconvenience. My complaints were usually met with a suspicious smile..
“Right!” as she drew the thermometer from her blue uniform top pocket, poked it under my tongue whilst she checked her pin-on watch – No temperature, no pass. Sometimes an aspirin and “Go on, You’ll be fine.” My friends seemed to have days off for much less.
Precious rare occasions when I warranted sympathy, scrambled eggs and hot buttered toast sat propped up in bed. I learned to drink tea so I could dip that thermometer in it when she wasn’t looking!
What do you remember?!
Here’s how you join in:
A REMINDER OF HOW THE BITE-SIZE MEMOIR CHALLENGE WORKS
1.Each Friday I’ll suggest a topic by 2pm UK time (BST) via my blog and Twitter (using the hashtag #BiteSizeMemoir – You don’t need to be on Twitter to participate.)
2. The challenge will be to write about the topic using
10 x “I remember statements”
150 x words (prose, or poem if you want to stretch yourself)
Either will make you pick and choose your words carefully whilst keeping a tight focus for time’s sake. You might want to write more, to keep at home, but please only submit one option within the limits for sharing (i.e. 10 statements or 150 word prose/poem)
3. The Deadline for sharing your ‘Bite’ will be 2pm (BST) the following Thursday. You can share in either of two ways:
a) Post your response in the comments section of the current topic – I will find it and cut and paste to the compilation of responses. (You may not see your comment appear immediately but don’t worry – I will find and share it)
b) If you have a blog you can post your response on your own blog with a link back to this post, and then also provide the link to me in the comments section. I will then link your contribution back to your post, in the compilation of responses.
4. It would be great if you felt able to include the country the events took place in – I won’t enforce this but I think it provides a significant context for other readers. As an example look at the compilation for “School at Seven”
5. I will aim to compile responses and share them via another post before the next challenge is issued.
A few rules:
1.If you need or want to be anonymous that’s fine – When you post a comment just put ‘Anon’ or a nickname in the name field. It does ask for an email address as part of spam filtering but only I will see it.
2.Please keep others anonymous to protect their privacy and dignity – change names or use initials etc.
3.If you’ve got an axe to grind, please do it somewhere else.
4.If you stumble across this after the deadline, do feel free to contribute and include your blog link in the comments section of the compilation, so others can read it.