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This blog has been retired. I won't respond to any inquiries but have retained it in case it is still of interest to anyone passing by.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Birthday Thoughts

From 'Look Mummy!' - E.M. Dawson

Many thanks to everyone who left birthday wishes for me earlier this week.  As my blog is a celebration of childhood memories I decided I would take a childlike (and hopefully not childish!) delight in the occasion and end the week with a birthday post.

First of all though - Colleen's comment that 'maybe we are young at heart because we are April girls', made me think of something I wrote inside the cover of a photograph album way back in 1976. 

The album must have been a birthday present as I have written my name, the date (5 April 1976) and the following inscription - copied from somewhere but unfortunately I never recorded the source.  It holds as true for me now as it did then :- 

An April mother will teach her youngsters 
to believe in leprechauns
She'll take them for walks in the park,
And point out the sparkling necklaces left on the lawn
By the fairies when they danced under the moon
Where others might only see early morning dew on the grass.

April mothers create a magic world of fantasy for their children - its where they live themselves

 (These beautiful little fairy illustrations come from a book called 'My First Book of Fairy Stories' published in 1959.  I have featured it in my blog before and mentioned that the artist of this exquisite work was not acknowledged.)

While I was unpacking books that have been in storage for such a long time, I found two I have had for exactly 50 years this week. Both were given to me as birthday presents in 1962.  The first is called 'Look Mummy!' and has the most delightful illustrations by an artist called E.M. Dawson.  What I really like is that the picture at the beginning of this post is celebrating a 3rd birthday - the age I was at the time.

The book does not have a date of publication so I was thrilled that it has this inscription on the inside cover, allowing me to confirm exactly how long I have had it.

The illustrations take me right back to my childhood. The little girl in these picture even looks a bit like me so it is like peering into a mirror of my past.

The second book was given to me by my grandparents for the same birthday.  Besides a note from them inside, the cover in this instance handily pinpoints the year!

This book also has lovely illustrations, so evocative of the period. I think the scene of children playing in the park is just wonderful.

I also just love this little bedtime prayer at the end of the book - goodnight to every little star, good night big moon so wise, good night to all those little flowers before they close their eyes!

This card was given to me when I turned 5 and I still think it is the most special birthday card that I have ever received. I always loved these girls in their pretty rose trimmed dresses and longed to have a flouncy gown just like them.

Our birthday parties were full of games played outside in the garden.  One of the most popular and my all time favourite was 'Oranges and Lemons'.  This picture is from one of my own birthday parties - I'm the left hand part of the arch in the pale cardi  (my mom was forever keeping me 'warm'!).  One of my aunts is keeping us organised.

"Oranges and lemons" say the bells of St. Clement's
"You owe me five farthings" say the bells of St. Martin's
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow rich" say the bells of Shoreditch
"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney
"I do not know" say the great bells of Bow
"Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head
Chip chop chip chop - the last man's dead."

Two thoughts struck men when I looked at this again. One was how old the rhymes and games were that we played.  (The origins of this one go back to the 1600's.)  The second was that we sang them without any notion of what they were really about which in many cases (including this one) was quite gruesome!

Today's children have somehow lost these rhymes and games - I'm guilty myself as my son does not know them.  They fell out of favour - replaced by bouncy castles and activity centres.  It is strange that hundreds of years of tradition suddenly disappeared between my generation and his.


CraveCute said...

Oh Sharon! What a magically wonderful post! I love your poem and the fairy pictures! I hope your Birthday was equally magical! Have a wonderful Easter weekend! ~~Diane

Kylie said...

A lovely, lovely post Sharon. Happy birthday. Your present is wrapped but not yet posted. Hopefully I'll make it to the post office on Tuesday (they're all closed here until then)

Two beautiful books from your childhood to treaure. The illustrations are lovely.

It is very sad that kids today don't know nursery rhymes. I loved playing Oranges and Lemons, especially the chip, chop part. Always so exciting. What a great photo too, look at you all in your pretty party clothes.

And we've talked about "that" card before, I wish I still had mine.


Barbara said...

Sharon, I so enjoyed your post. It's like looking at a little bit of my own past; my mum was always keeping me warm too! The bedtime prayer is beautiful as are the illustrations. I think it’s such a good idea to include photographs. I may have to look out some for a future post. Barbara

Megan said...

Oh I love this post because I'm an April birthday girl too! I think I'll copy that little poem down too so that I can remember it forever! Lovely images as always, I love visiting your blog :)

Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

Barbara said...

Sharon, your post is in the EndPoynt Daily via Twitter
I hope this link works. Are you on Twitter? If so am I following you??? (showing my age!) I was trying to find you so I could Tweet you the link.

sharonssunlitmemories said...

A big thank you to everyone for the lovely comments!! You have really made my day.

My goodness Barbara - the link worked perfectly - that's a amazing! Thank you - I don't know how you did that. Now I'm also showing my age!! (I'm afraid Twitter is still a bit beyond me!)

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Our radio is having an ad to sell citrus plants, and they play this song. I can never sing the whole of it, so I teach my school kids, just a few lines. Oranges and lemons.

Three Hoodies Save the World said...

I don't have a single good childhood memory but your post has let me know what other kids' must have been like and I can pretend that they're mine. Thanks.

Unknown said...

What a awesome post. I love your books and photos. I have relived my childhood memories. Love the Fairy's. Happy belated birthday! I'm your newest follower!

GardenOfDaisies said...

I hope you had a very happy birthday. These illustrations are so sweet. I especially love the little fairies. I used to read nursery rhymes to my children when they were young. And then when they were in elementary school it was fun to jump rope to rhymes. (some of them old, some of them new).

barbara said...

I've just read this post again (followed the link from Donna’s sunbeam award), and I enjoyed it every bit as much the second time around!

Unknown said...

Sharon, I don't know how I missed this post. It's delightful. Memories from childhood are so precious, aren't they? I love these pictures, especially the fairies.
We have gotten away from all those old rhymes, but I remember many of them. Such a nice post, and sorry I missed your birthday, so I send late birthday greetings.

Tazas y Cuentos said...

Oh! I really love these illustrations. Fantastic books...and from your childhood..., you have a treasure!


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