I've always had trouble with childhood memories and reading Janet Frame, one of our best writers, I am amazed how she seemed to have total recall, showing the world through a childs' eyes.
I remember my elder sister and I, we were very young, coming home and into the kitchen where Father was cutting a big loaf of white bread saying your mother wants to see you in the bedroom.
Mother was sitting up straight backed in bed in a blue nightie with a dead baby, our little brother John, in her arms. It was a wasp sting she said perhaps because menengitis was too unpalatable and that day was never mentioned again even though Mother and Father are long gone. It's strange that I can't see the face of John, only the big loaf of bread.
I remember too Father saying no to me using the dinghy and I got up early and dragged the heavy boat inch by inch into the estuary that bordered the farm and tried to row upstream. They found me gone and I couldn't understand the fuss.
And the anger and beating and no dinner when I walked home 7 miles in the dark after rugby practice.
And my younger sister rolling in the surf at Buffalo beach with her eyes closed and thick sand in her hair and Mother running down the beach... running... running.
I understand the anger now of course, coming from the desperation of losing a child, but then it only created a distance of misunderstanding.
Now I see it in other mothers eyes, that quiet, watchful desperation of loss