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Last night a 95-year-old patient told me that he remembered being a small child in the first world war, and rushing with his parents to the window to watch searchlight beams over London trying to pick out a German zeppelin.
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(no subject)

15/5/09 22:09 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] bikerbar.livejournal.com
lovely old photo

the memories of the very old for their childhoods is fraught with sadness. Your job is about people at the end of their lives sitting and dying, recalling in their last few days or weeks what happened to them, and their earliest days.

And your job is also like Star Trek :) ... Star Trek needs more of that reminiscing

(no subject)

16/5/09 21:25 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] benicek.livejournal.com
I think you misunderstand entirely. They tell me these stories gleefully. It amuses them to have a genuinely interested audience, and the remoteness of these sometimes stressful events lends them the colour of high adventure and even comedy.

(no subject)

16/5/09 21:53 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] bikerbar.livejournal.com
I didnt misinterpret. I just posted a sad response. But I can see how they happily reminisce with you and can see in their mind's eye these early memories. Its nice.

(no subject)

16/5/09 14:31 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] pomposa.livejournal.com
I'm sure your job must be extremely difficult at times, but moments like these are precious.

I wonder what he remembers the elderly telling him as a boy?

word-of-mouth time travel

16/5/09 21:46 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] benicek.livejournal.com
I lived in a village in Surrey (Mickleham) when I was a teenager in the 1980s and one of our neighbours was an Irishman who had come there as a young farm labourer in the 1920s. He told me that he'd talked to elderly men back then who were in their 90s, and they had told him what the same village was like in the mid 19th century. It didn't sound very nice.

There was a public bridleway around the back of our house where I walked our dog. It used to form part of the private drive leading to the manor house. "You know that path up there where you walk your dog?" he asked me. "If you'd been caught there back then you'd have been shot on sight. Let nobody tell you those were the good old days. They were the bad old days. These are the good old days, now."

(no subject)

17/5/09 17:08 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] jennie-jay.livejournal.com
Moments like this, when an eye-witness tells me about "things that I've read about in books kind of stuff" make me feel as if I'm in a time-warp.

My father actually did walk barefoot to school, and my grandfather put forward a proposal in parliament to abolish "midden-inspectors" after WW2.

Mum remembers the first "banana boats" - can you imagine a life WITHOUT bananas??

(no subject)

17/5/09 17:21 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] benicek.livejournal.com
No I can't imagine life without bananas, and I had a privileged childhood of holidays all over south east Asia where they were even more ubiquitous and cheap than they are here. Strangely, my wife still calculates her living standard by the number of bananas she can afford, because she grew up in communist Czechoslovakia where bananas were hard to get and expensive. It's a bit like living with a time traveller from the 1940s.

(no subject)

17/5/09 17:37 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] jennie-jay.livejournal.com
LOL to the time traveller thing! Doesn't it help you to keep things in proportion?!?!

You know, on days when we whine about how they didn't have the right brand of pineapples in the shop, it helps to be reminded about how lucky we are to have pineapples AT ALL!! F'rinstance.

(no subject)

17/5/09 17:45 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] benicek.livejournal.com
Bizarre that pineapples used to cost as much as a house in 18th century England. They are a fairly mediocre tasting fruit, I find.

(no subject)

17/5/09 17:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] jennie-jay.livejournal.com
I find it even weirder that tulip bulbs could cost as much as small village at one time... you can't even eat those ;-)

Hmm, I rather like a nice ripe pineapple, not my favourite fruit though. A perfect mango isn't bad. Hard to find here, though.