Friday, April 19, 2019

The rustle of brown paper and smell of new books


Are you overwhelmed by a flood of memories when you encounter certain situations in life? A situation similar to Proust's 'madeleine moment' though in my case, the instances have nothing to do with food - most of the times.


Each year, at the start of my daughter’s school term I find myself thinking of my late father. He died when I was eight years old and my memories of him are quite foggy. 
 
Yet, as the books and labels come tumbling out of the packet, I have a vision of him, hunched over the table (he was a very tall man), enfolding each book gently with brown paper and sticking labels, that he had written out neatly, on them. He was quite fastidious about the ritual. Even had a label maker he had bought from one of his ship voyages abroad.
 
The other day, while cleaning out my desk, I found the last label he had written for me. School started in January that year. He died a few months later. 

It's uncanny how similar our handwriting is.

Blurry and frayed memories of long - lost routines. The rustle of brown paper and the smell of new books bring them on. Makes me wonder what my daughter will remember about me.