Saturday, 19 July 2008

The Concert (Memory Lane)


This is the story from my childhood when my brother and I were taken to a concert.

My father was what you would call a highbrow. He was a clever scientist but sometimes not always on the ball when it came to common sense! I always found him to be rather remote and my brother Godfrey and I learned not to bother him too much because he could get very annoyed with us for the slightest thing. When I look back I realized that he was not very good with children's needs at all but he mellowed into a lovely grandpa to my children. They have very happy memories of him so I think he must have practiced on Godfrey and me, before moving on to become that lovely Grandpa!
However, when I was a child, his favourite saying was, "Children should be seen but not heard!" This was completely old fashioned even when I was a child. In some ways he treated us like adults and took us to see some operas, recitals and concerts that were totally unsuitable for young children.

I can remember when I was about five years old and Godfrey only half that age, my Mum and Dad took us to a very stuffy church concert. I can picture it all very clearly in my mind's eye......... a church hall that was very dreary and rows of chairs filled with very old people. The women all wore hats, so where we were sitting, we couldn't see much of the stage at all, even though we were quite near the front. We were the only children there. Large fat ladies trilling out arias that seemed to go on for hours. We were getting very bored as there was nothing at all to interest young children. Nothing to see, no reason to be there at all. Naturally we were restless and must have whined and moaned, as the lady directly in front of us, turned round and offered my brother and me a boiled sweet each out of a white paper bag. I popped one into my mouth, glad of the diversion, but before Mum could stop him, Godfrey had put one into his mouth and promptly started to choke! He literally couldn't breath.

My Dad swooped him up under his arm and calmly walked out of the hall. My Mum looked very distressed and after what seemed like an hour but could only have been a few minutes, father and son returned to the hall and walked with smiling faces to their seats and Godfrey was munching his sweet! Apparently Dad had turned him upside down and slapped his back and the offending sweet dislodged from his windpipe!

We both sat still as mice for the rest of the concert and I think that little emergency shocked us into silence while the arias droned on.................!
Funny I should remember that so clearly!

27 comments:

aims said...

That's quite the memory! Wow!

Mae said...

nice memories....I can remember my mother saying some of those same things. Thanks for playing along with the tag.

Mrs. Fox said...

Great story and well told! I could almost imagine being there.

Irene said...

You almost lost your brother there. Thank goodness whatever your father did worked. Quite an impressive story and with a happy ending too. Did your Mom stop giving you those sweets?

Eileen said...

What a great story and the details are still so clearly with you. As a child, I can only imagine how scary those moments must have been.

Granny Smith said...

I seem to remember interminable concerts when Allen and I were little. Choking can be so scary! My mother once had a choking spell that scared us all very much. We called the fire department which was only a block away, but lots of pounding on her back managed to dislodge it before they arrived.

Lindsay said...

My son, then aged 4, choked on a peanut, horrible, thought he would die. Your story was beautifully told and brings back same sort of memories. My dad was interested in opera . . . . . . . . the rest of the family were not!

CrazyCath said...

Oh it's not so strange to remember something that at your age, must have been quite traumatic! A great memory you have and I love your wanderings down the lane of memory to recapture some of that time. For all his remoteness, I sense a deep respect and love for your father.
Thanks for sharing it Maggie.

Maggie May said...

aims & mae........ only with some things when I was very small.

Mrs Fox ...... that's kind!

irene ....... my Mum never gave us sweets like that!

Eileen .... I suppose I didn't realize how bad it was till later on.

Granny Smith ...... glad someone got the thing out, as the fire brigade might have taken for ever!

Lindsay .... peanuts can be nasty little things if inhaled!

Crazy Cath ........ Yes, you are right about my Dad!

Suburbia said...

Gosh, what a fright, I always worry about whether I could do what was necessary if my two choked.

The discription of your dad reminds me of the father figure in the Famous Five stories!! Uncle Quentin I think his name was!

Flowerpot said...

Amazing what we remember isn't it? A lovely memory maggie.

Trubes said...

Hello Maggie May; A choking child must be every parents nightmare. One of my daughters choked on a piece of bacon rind. I put my hand down throat and managed to retrieve it, A very scary moment indeed!
This is my first visit to your site and i have enjoyed reading
it...

As I hail from Liverpool I am curious to know why you call yourself Maggie May, The well known Liverpool character?


Di.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It is quite odd what brings these memories back to us. I am sure you will discover it.

Great story,
CJ xx

Maggie May said...

Suburbia ....... Uncle Quentin! I used to LOVE the Famous Five & had quite forgotten about him!

Thanks ...... Flowerpot!

Trubes ....... welcome to my blog! Glad you got the bacon rind out!
I married a May! Originated not far from you though!

Crystal ....... I have lots of early memories!

Rose said...

The choking incident must have been quite scary! It's funny how distant dads often mellow as they age. Glad your children have fond memories of their granddad.

Sandi McBride said...

Sometimes it's the boring with the few seconds of high drama that stay the clearest. Good post...
Sandi

Jules said...

Really nice story. I'm so glad that your brother was okay.
Funny how we remember the little things we do, and somethines in such startling clarity.

Maggie May said...

Rose ...... yes he mellowed a lot!

Thanks, Sandi.

Jules........... Thanks. It is amazing just what is embedded on our brains!

maggie said...

Another Maggie with a Japan connection? Wow, that's a first!

What a neat memory. I can just picture it. How scary but also kind of funny since all turned out well.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Goodness! That sounds like something I would never forget either....

Indrani said...

That was close, great story you have shared here.

RiverPoet said...

Maybe you thought God was after you :-)

What is a boiled sweet?

Peace - D

Maggie May said...

Maggie...... thanks for visiting me!

lavinia & indrani.......... yes a close shave!

Riverpoet ......... a boiled sweet is a largish kind of bon bon. Hard like a round mound of glass. They come in many colours and are see through! They are usually wrapped in cellaphane. They taste good but are bad for the teeth. Maybe you call them candies!

cheshire wife said...

You may think that your father was not very good with children but when he needed to be for your brother he was. Very touching story and I am sure it has a moral.

Merisi said...

What a concert interlude, horrible how fast a life can be in danger!

Two of my children choked on hard candy, thanks to "kind" strangers who insisted on indulding them.

I can only implore everybody to learn about first aid for choking victims (the American Red Cross now recommands a series of 5 back blows, followed by 5 abdominal thrusts, i.e. the "Heimlich Maneuver" - neither worked on one of my children, only when I stood her up on her head did the hard candy dislocate).

Lee said...

Wow! That's quite an experience. No wonder it stuck in your memory so clearly. Glad your brother was ok and that your Dad turned out to be such a good granddad.

Congratulations on making post of the day at David's.

Peace!
Lee

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Am just catching up - loved the ducklings in your previous post. And this story is so vivid - it reminded me of when I swallowed a large blue bead in Saturday Morning pictures once, years ago! M :-)