Friday 25 September 2020

The Toddler's Mite

What is the first memory of receiving enormous generosity? 

Mine is from the mid-1970s when my family lived near Cambridge University. My father was on sabbatical and my brother Nulli and I, the only siblings yet born, were enrolled in a nursery school.

The nursery school had a playground with a number of activities, I imagine, but the only toy I remember was the scooter. 

I very badly wanted to play with the scooter, the one day I remember, and I waited throughout recess for the bigger children to let me have a turn. Sadly, they did not. They did not relinquish the thing until recess was over and we were all called inside. 

That was my chance! Ignoring the call, I got on the scooter and scooted a bit. 

The next part is a blank, but I remember that I was punished. The school regularly gave us milk and cookies for our snack, but that day I was not allowed cookies, and possibly not the milk either. 

I'm fuzzy on that part, but not what happened next. My brother, who was only 2 or possibly 3, perceived that I did not have any cookies (or, possibly, milk) and immediately shared his with me.  

That was over 40 years ago, and the reason I thought of this this morning is probably because Benedict Ambrose and I are going to Cambridge this afternoon the 4 PM train to Peterborough. (I will be working on the train, never fear.) 

It's quite a lovely story: I hadn't before noticed the contrast between being oppressed, as it were, by the stronger only to be comforted by the (then) weaker. 

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