Tuesday 7 July 2015

Too late

There is, in existence, only a minute and a half of movie footage of me as a child. I know this because, in around 1980, I found a yellow cardboard Kodachrome box amongst my dad's slides and asked him what was on it. 'Search me' he said. I replied that the father of my girlfriend at the time had a cine projector. 'Take it' he said, 'and tell me what's on it.' So I did.

Although it only lasts for about 90 seconds, it is a very moving piece of film: only a handful of days after I was born, sometime in January 1961, friends of mum and dad shot a (very) short reel of 8 mm cine film of them bathing their new born. You've never seen a more happy and proud young couple. And, as you can imagine, I am both very young and very clean. Priceless.

If only I hadn't lost it.

Or at least, I thought I'd lost it. Three Sundays ago after we returned to dad's after visiting mum in hospital he gave me a load of slides. 'I'm making you custodian of the Medd photographic archive' he said. Well, not in so many words, but that's what he meant. This next bit is quite hard to write, because, in amongst the the plethora of slides he gave me was the very same distinctive yellow Kodachrome box I thought I'd lost all those years ago. I recognised it straight away - but didn't say anything: I'll get it transferred onto DVD as a surprise, I thought, and we can all watch it together. My folks will be made up.

'It'll be ready next Tuesday' said the man in the photo shop when I took it in a week last Friday. 'Brilliant' I said. 'Mum's not so good at the moment, it'll make her day.' And then some.

It would have done too. If only she could have hung on for a few more days.

I'm seeing dad tomorrow. We'll watch it together and pretend mum's there.


  1. I'm sorry to hear of your loss John; a very poignant read

  2. Oh gosh... how moving. And how sad and happy and special and strange and raw and lovely too - so many mixed, but vital, emotions. Priceless, as you say.

  3. Sorry to hear the news John. As you know, I've lost both now. That first year is the worst - all the significant dates, anniversaries, birthdays etc..

    Unbelievable as it may sound now. The clouds do begin to clear eventually...

    Take care ol' pal

  4. John, I've tried a few times to find some adequate words to write here - I can't. You are all in my thoughts. Take care of each other.

  5. Thank you everyone. Normal service will be resumed shortly, I promise.