Sandy speaks on matters of life and mirth.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

A Memory

I sat in the back of the car, and I watched as my mother-in-law slipped a sweet out of the bag. Something caught at my memory, and I frowned. I recognised the packaging - the red Bassett's logo, the green text... the way the wrapper curled around at the edges - even the sound the hard pastille made as it was unwrapped. I tilted my head, and I knew immediately what it would taste like, what the texture would feel like, pressed against the inside of my cheek - the raised dots rubbing against it, the sugar inside teased out, causing a kind of numbness. I took one, and as if in a half-remembered dream, I pulled the two ends gently, slid the hard pastille out of the crinkled wrapping.

I put the Sherbet Lemon in my mouth, and I remembered.

I was twelve, maybe thirteen, and I wrote for the school newspaper. We were a tiny prep school, barely 170 pupils, and so the scope of the articles wasn't particularly grand - an expose on the removal of chocolate splodge pudding here, an appeal for the older boys to be allowed to sit on chairs at assemblies there - hardly Watergate, but we got by. The newspaper was 10p, and I remember that we used to give away a sherbet lemon with each one - it was an early exposure to 'value-added' marketing. We never sold many newspapers - even fewer when I became editor, but we got by, and given that parents print-shop published the newspaper, there were never any costs to cover. What little money we made went to sponsor a young boy in Africa somewhere. His name was Issa, and he used to send us letters. I wish I knew what happened to him. The newspaper was short-lived, and didn't survive my leaving the school, but for a while, it was important. I hadn't thought of it in years - The Chorister News. I wish I still had a copy.

It was an unimportant memory, but it was a good one. Sometimes, that's all that matters.


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