Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Sometimes, the doorbell rang. The onion man came once a year. He was thin and brown and didn't speak English. Why did he cycle from far away to sell onions in our street? Except for onions, he had no luggage and where did he sleep?






The coalman, smiley, dirty and torn tossed the huge sack over his shoulder and did a fast trot to the back of the garage where he sliced open the stitching and tipped the sparkling, blue-black, jagged lumps of coal into the bunker. Then he did it nine time more.
Every Friday, the icecream man announced his arrival with twinkly, tinny music. (Thanks to endless adult warnings, I imagined myself running onto the road and getting hit, SPLAT, by a car). One of us children got to choose a chocolate, neopolitan or raspberry ripple family block. It wouldn't last long in our fridge's little ice box so we always ate it all for tea.


Once, the children of our cleaning lady came. "Have you seen our mother?" the oldest one asked. "She's been gone a week."
"She hasn't been this week," my mother said, though she didn't say that the last time their mother was here, she had stolen the Sunday sherry bottles. Mum gave them a loaf of bread and some apples which they started to eat straight away.

26 comments:

Hashi said...

Oh, so nice to see more of your memory paintings. I have missed your regular posts. And how sad about those five children! Did they ever find their mother, or did they have to go to the poorhouse?

janey said...

I hope to see these in book form someday. They really are such a wonderful way to document your memories.

Laureline said...

How I love your memory paintings, as I've told you often before. There is something so special and unique about them. I agree with Janey that they shoud be between the covers of a published book!

Tami said...

You do such a wonderful job not only of painting the pictures but of telling the stories. I always look forward your memory postings.

Penny said...

I am also glad you are back with your memory paintings. Did the fish man ever call? I remember as a child here in Australia during the war the fish man coming with lovely shiny smelly fish that he would have in a big basket with a lid on and he scaled and/or filleted the fish by the back door. I had forgotten that until your memory paintings. The other was the ice man. Oh and the baker in his specially shaped art and my mother rushing out to collect the horses manure for her garden.

Alison said...

I don't know what happened to those children, Hashi but I don't think the cleaning lady ever came back toour house. I suppose she had an alcohol problem. I do have a picture of the children's home inmy head. No fishmonger or baker, Penny - we had to walk up to town for those - 20 minute walk.

Claudia said...

I find your memory paintings so moving!...When you came up with the "coalman", I remembered our coalman as well!! I would like to paitn memory paintings as well, because I had a very happy childhood and it would be worth drawing some rememberances...

andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

Brilliant. I love these. So much more than a drawing, SO much more. It's funny last night as I was trying to fall asleep a memory came flooding back to me. I thought that I must try and draw this today. I'll have to give it a go now!

Africantapestry said...

Lovely drawings Allison! I love the coal man. You do such a great job of pulling the drawing and the memory together, I enjoy reading it.
Ronell

Jana Bouc said...

These are wonderful. I love the way the perspective on each of the pictures is from the child's point of view. They bring back that feeling of mystery that so much in the world had for me as a kid. The coal guy's hands are terrific--huge and a little scary. What a colorful life you are illustrating!

SCquiltaddict said...

lovely as usual.....so sad ab out the children of the cleaning lady...tough life...

Teri C said...

What fun!!! Just wonderful memories!!

Lynn said...

I really enjoy your memory paintings. What a wonderful way to remember your life.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Good to see you back to sharing. Lovely point of view and makes us remember too those visitors to the household - for me it was the grocer and the butcher sitting at Mum's kitchen table drinking tea. My Dad was the milkie in the night filling up billies.
Sad story about the cleaning lady and her children. You just tell enough to make us imagine the rest.
w.

takinanap said...

your memory paintings are an inspiration. i am going to keep watching your blog and see if i can come up with some of my own ideas. why can't i draw/sketch/paint from my mind? seems i can only draw what i see. thanks for such interesting work.


maggie
portland maine
usa

phthaloblu said...

What great drawings from your memory. I wish I could draw from memory this well. The story about the cleaning woman's children was very sad. Poor dears. Did they ever find her?

martha said...

Just wonderful. I love the little snippets of life - the ones we forget so easily. And from a child's perspective too. The drawings are a perfect compliment.

Rah Kyndl said...

Fascinating visual and written accounts.

Serena said...

What a wonderful idea and, indeed, worthy a book. I felt for the five children also and, part of me would like to think things turned out well for all of them. My Mum often talks of the coalman. Actually, we still love to hear Mum and Dad relate stories from their childhood. Your stories remind me of this and beautifully depicted also.

caseytoussaint said...

What a treat to find more memory paintings. You have a way of making these moments alive again.

Emma Pod said...

These are wonderful drawings and stories! Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

littlemithi said...

Wow these are amazing ... I've been thinking about the trades people from my childhood lately too - especially the 'roti man', the guy with his motorcycle laden with all manner of bread! But I still don;t have the confidence to draw them from memory - I'd need a live roti man!

Your paintings and accompanying words are SO evocative - I'd like to second (third? fourth?) the notion that they be made into a book.

Susan Brubaker Knapp said...

I LOVE THESE! How wonderful they are. Your comments -- both visual and written -- made me laugh and cry. I will eagerly await the next batch. And I will pass the word to others about your blog. (I found out about you through the quiltart messages.)

Annie said...

We miss your posts, Alison. Hope you
get to do more soon. As the rest have said, we love your colors, seeing things from a child's view, and being in touch with childhood memories.

Linda said...

These are incredible, as always! I agree with all who have said that they would make the most fascinating book!

Alison said...

Thank you all, for your comments and encouragement. I never seem to finish this project. There always seem to be about 20 ideas left to do. Alison