strong shadows

I don’t very often remember my dreams. 

I read that we all dream and certainly there have been occasions when something has stayed with me, not to haunt me but so that I should pay attention.  Psychotherapeutically a dream is a safe place to deal with the big stuff we have to make sense of.  The other night was nothing like that

What lingered upon my waking was the face in the front of the frame, so to say,  a man’s, with a woman behind him,  his sister I think,  but all of this and where I was in it pales in the astonishing peace and joy and sweetness I felt for however long, much more important than them or me, what was said or what was going on.   Practically speaking this takes us back to the subconscious mind and memory

because I was quite sure when I woke that the group (about five in all) were the same kind of Jews I am, that is, almost but not quite, and that idea leads back to my father.

If I have a romantic idea about being a little bit Jewish (which sounds suspiciously like being a little bit pregnant), it is my mother’s fault.  My father’s youngest sister, almost professionally madcap with a Christmas pudding voice, had a married Jewish lover who was kind, funny, could fix anything and was generally delightful :  my mother adored Gerald. 

So between my father’s mother Julie Rosenbaum whom both parents loved deeply and who was a better mother to my mother than her own and Gerald, I had a series of positive ideas linked to that heritage from the very beginning.

And the feelings related to the dream were confirmed by the truck driver.  

There is a cement factory up the road and the drivers move out vast lorries from the early hours.  One morning, several years ago in the dark as I was going up the road to get my newspaper, a man got out of the cabin and said “Didn’t you used to be on the radio ?  Know that face anywhere …” which is a wonderful contradiction in terms though in essence true, because radio nudged me towards bits and pieces of television. I said yes, he beamed and I have smiled and waved at the truck drivers ever since.

So it was like a kind of blessing or a coda that, as I was off up the street to the post office, one of the lorries drove into view and the driver waved and grinned.

I don’t know very much about them, can’t drive anything, but I have always like the idea of trucks – big things, helpful.  Our Cretan friend George Vargas had a modern Japanese edition on which he used to transport the three of us through the island countryside

when my son was small and standing on the back flatbed, I sang for sheer enthusiasm.

And I remember hitching a lift on the milk wagon in the West Riding of Yorkshire with my mother, going to the wedding of friends. The wagon was high up, that I loved,  I could see further, but my eyes were really full of my mother, hair upon top in 1940s curls, earrings and a soft blue dress with a silver fox cape.   She was beautiful.

In a dream of myself quite other, I’d like an ex-military flatbed that you could make a home of the back of, everything boxed and fixed, and go anywhere with a dog.   The wonderful thing about dreams is that they are cheap, untaxed and if they are happy  – and fortunately mine mostly are – at worst they make you smile for the person you were – and sometimes still are.

I say and write over and over that my father was a big man with a big mind, wide vision, great generosity of spirit, a big voice, an enormous personality – “And you’re just like him” said my mother would say drily, surviving us both.  And this was in a big frame with a certain kind of density which I associate with safety, whether in terms of furniture, dogs or motor vehicles.  My son has it – “Of course” my mother would say wisely. “The rich have portraits and the poor have grandchildren.”    

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