vrijdag 23 maart 2012

Repeating history: the little house next to the jungle

After six months, I still had not been back to our old house. (Sister F. on the contrary managed it on her first day in her Singaporean stop-over - there is some truth to the statement that less time makes for more efficiency.) So when brother W. joined our little Tamtam-gettogether, we all piled into a taxi and drove off for the past.

Unfortunately, the taxi driver could not find the spot. "Didn't it used to be off Sixth Avenue?" asked grandmother F. apologetically. "I think we just passed that." So grandfather Tamtam, who has a built in gps-system which works across the whole time-space continuum, guided the poor taxi driver back to the right cul-de-sac.

This is where four-year-old me told my surprised father, when he returned home from work to find me walking purposefully down the road, that "I was going travelling". I had a cardboard suitcase with cookies in it. In my mind the street had been wide, with tall grass waving slowly in the afternoon breeze. Sort of like a tarmacked road in the middle of an African savannah.

It turns out the reality is quite different.

In fairness, the lack of streaming light might have something to do with new houses built. When we lived there, it was in a white bungalow surrounded by a large garden. But as you can see, in that formerly wide open space now stands an imposing three storey house with a little clock tower blocking the sun from its smidgen of garden. 

Next to our house the jungle started. I was never ever allowed to walk down that way, because It Was Dangerous. I remember my father once stepping out of the jungle in the dark. It made him seem like superman.

Unfortunately, this also did not live up to my expectations. Even though there are still snakes (large ones) living there - as there are in most overgrown areas in Singapore. Those snakes snuck into our house a couple of times and scared the living daylights out of our helper (I was calmly sitting at the dining room table drawing, making sure my feet didn't touch the floor and feeling supremely safe on account of having short legs and therefore being out of danger). But no more! Even though we get ants and pigeons in our apartment on the 23rd floor, I am very happy to report that snakes appear to be landlocked.

In short: this trip did not trigger a single memory. In fact, I still retain all my original memories since my brain has not accepted the reality (and really, why should it? What good could it possibly do to exchange those halcyon days for some humdrum grown up existence?).

But I did take a picture with E. Here's us, repeating history, at Cassia Drive no. 40.

5 opmerkingen:

  1. What a very nice story! Especially your father likes it very much.

  2. Correction from sister F.
    It was actually the last day of our stay in Singapore...
    The first day was occupied by watching the World Cup final!

  3. Wow! Always knew you wrote well, but loved this story. I can also imagine your dad being quite proud to have once been superman (maybe still is in his own mind ;))
    How does repeating history feel without replacing memories with new situations? Maybe you'll be Superwoman to E?!
    Love (and still planning trip to you if you feel like it), Rens

  4. @grootmoeder F.: Ja, dat zijn de betere herinneringen voor een vader! :-)

    @zuster F.: Ik dacht dat dat de eerste nacht was geweest? We noemen het poetic licence en de achterliggende gedachte is in ieder geval waar: jij bent veel effectiever dan ik.

    @Renske: Ja! Kom langs! Afgelopen weekend voor het eerst gefietst, E. vond het maar niks zo'n moeder met helm en handschoentjes. Fietsen, dat is voor vaders. :-)

  5. @Renske: ik bedoel dus te zeggen: het supermannenschap is vrees ik voorbehouden aan papa's.