I went through some of my old family photos the other day. Flipped through album after album and noticed most of the pictures taken when I was young had me laughing candidly. If ever the pictures were posed, it would mainly be pictures of birthdays where I was still smiling but my eyes were seldom focused on the camera but on the cake or the fried chicken or the juicy watermelon!
And when I look at the photos I can remember so distinctively the feelings I had felt. The beach photos were the most abundant taken throughout my 7 years in Penang. Almost every Sunday morning, daddy would make the windy drive to the beach. Out of the car we would spill, running around selecting the shadiest and cleanest spot and out unfolds the poncho. Mummy would have packed up a picnic lunch and some fruits. Even remember there being curry chicken and Sunshine bread one of those times. Don’t remember if we were messy though or if mummy ever found it too tough cleaning up after us. Can’t be though coz I never recalled mummy ever scolding us at any of our outings at the beach.
Remember out little pails and spades. Taking water from the sea to make the castle more compact. Remember burying mummy’s legs under piles and piles of sand and laughing our little heads off when she wriggled her toes free !
Remember running down to the waves only to be chased back up again. And after a while finding the guts to stand at the edge of the water and allow our little toes to sink deeper and deeper at each break and pull of the waves along the shore !
Remember walking with daddy and seeing all the Pros at work creating their own sand castles. Maybe my love for architecture was developed at this early age by the beach.
Remember also one Sunday when it rained and we parked under the tree and ate our prepared lunch and watched the waves and the rain instead ! And daddy scolding me once when I threw sand in the air and it entered cher’s eye ! That was my first lesson in physics I reckon…Do not throw sand into the air if the wind will blow it in the direction of people sitting down! Learnt the concept of me standing is high and them sitting is low – DANGER !
Funny how all these photos bring back to me so many memories and lessons learnt. I realised that my daddy must have either loved taking photos, or we were great models or he understood the importance of capturing memories on film.
When we left Penang, the photos were less. I still remember having happy memories of my stays in Kuching, Kuantan, Ipoh and finally KL but they were somehow not the same. Perhaps I have grown and memories become clouded by duties and responsibilities and exams. They start to become classified as experiences more than memories! And there is a great distinction in that!
The camera is a beautiful thing. Burdensome or not in carrying it when we have diapers and feeding bottles and play things to lug along, we owe it to our children to help them retain these memories. Although I can still remember these childhood memories, it is those worn out photographs that trigger the whole effect. It invokes and breathes life into the imprints within the heart that would have been buried if not for the physical imprint that the eye registers.
I hope I can also fill my kids’ memory bank with happy events. Just like those beach outings equals happy childhood memories for me, what can I do for my kids that they can also carry with them well into their adulthood? Something that can perhaps even define the person he would become.
Waves that crash into the sand still play in my head
The rhythm of their beckoning
The whispers of their leaving
Sunsets so beautiful still I see beyond my eyes
No words can describe
The fiery hues and the clam blues
Then they intermingle
Everything else forgotten
They demand everything and yet ask for nothing
We take in and take in more
But we do not give anything back in return
Only silence is required
For beauty and sounds to reach the soul
It is memories like these that create the writer in me.
To my parents, I give all thanks – this is your greatest gift to me!