Thursday, 2 February 2012

Why I didn't grow up bitter and twisted

"I walked past those two brothers," my wife confided, "And they were both talking about how they'd had their model cars stolen when they were boys."
"Hmm. Actually bullying's quite a big issue," I offered. "You can't be too certain what's set it off."
She didn't seem convinced, and pressed, "Can't you expect that they'll have got over it by now?".

But before I could frame a reply, the tune started off in my mind.
"Do you know, when I was about six, my Mum used to sing this song.  The original went, 'Johnny won your marbles  / Tell you what we'll do / Dad'll buy some new ones right away...'.  Only, my best friend was called Barry, and she used to make it:  'Barry stole your marbles / Tell you what we'll do / Dad'll buy some new ones right away...'"  Now I was in full flight, unconcerned who may catch me singing.  "'...Time to go to bed now / Little man, you've had a busy day.'  Only he rarely did," I added, referring to the marbles.
"But that didn't matter.  I was consoled, and that's what mattered."

That was a word I've never used before in connection with my mother.  Consoled.  I was surprised at the strength of it.  Recalling the endless childhood times Barry beat me at marbles, I could picture our two houses, six doors apart.  No, not a hint of a hang-up.
Why did my mother seemingly manage to get it right?  How come these two brothers apparently hadn't fared so well?  I wondered how many other injustices in the world may be healed by consolation.  How do you build that into a disaster relief aid programme?  Or even a parenting course?

Our arrival at the Sunday morning meeting shut down my musing.  I wasn't bothered.  The only scripture I could think of involved 'consoling breasts' (Isaiah 66:11) and I didn't want to over-elaborate.
When I Googled the lyrics of the silly insistent song, I got another surprise.  Before the 'marbles' verse comes: 'Little man you're crying / I know why you're blue / Someone took your kiddy car away /...'  "Oh, I don't believe it," I muttered to Mary.
Later, we found the YouTube version with Henry Hall's orchestra and Phyllis Robbins singing.  But it doesn't match my Mum's.

1 comment:

pierscjc said...

Just found this one.
Brilliant blog.