Memories can be brought to life by the simplest of things. I am looking at my Easter cards. And my Mothers’ Day ones. And my Christmas ones. Will keep them up for a while. I like to keep lots of cards up for ages. Some forever… Some even get framed. I was about to say that I have more framed photographs of family , framed joke cards, ones of sentimental value or just beautiful in themselves, than grand art. I guess that is true, except for ‘art ‘ drawn by me or by friends and family.
Funnily enough, though, probably the best Christmas card was sent to me, and was therefore chosen by, a friend who is an artist. One of the favourites, still on my whirly bookcase, shows a tall Christmas tree. Another, a tree bare of leaves, a bright red post box and a tall person with a small one in front, walking to the post box. In the middle a house with many windows, decorations strung between, and a door which has a smaller Christmas tree either side . And of course a holly wreath on that door. Behind the house, so near that the house could be the vicarage, rises the church. It is a pen and ink outline design on a golden brown card, with just two colours. White of snow on trees, rooves of church and house, along the ground , and on the house’s front door steps.
Red in decorations of house, both trees, post box, people’s hats and scarves.
And, I thought, there you have it all: the personal and individual in the people and what they are doing. Are they going to the house, the church, or to post a card? They appear to be standing looking at the ordinary tree. Then you have the community, the municipal. The post box. The Christmas tree . Maybe the vicarage. And finally the universal, you may say eternal, in the church.
I once told a friend that my happiest memory was the time of the Queen’s Coronation.
It was the coronation. We had celebrations at school, part of which was a special assembly with the warm and joyous singing of ‘Jerusalem’. And Nymphs and Shepherds. Oh, how I love that one, and maybe it is because it was part of such a lovely overall feeling , that it is still one of my favourite songs. If not in fact the most loved. I was reading a book which somehow held a magical atmosphere for me. It seemed to be in keeping with the mood of the coronation because it had a pageant in it. The book was by Noel Streatfield and I have never been able to find it since, as I don’t remember what it was called . Can anyone help me?
Of my lovely memory, my friend said, well, there you have it all: the personal, you love reading. The community, the school’s celebration. And the wider world, which was the coronation of a country’s queen.
Neverland is written about the academic year which has the 1953 Coronation in its middle. And we see how Brenda, her school, her family, and Mary’s, navigate this special time in history, in their own way – dictated as that may be, by character and circumstances.