FATHER DEAR FATHER

28 Sep

I wrote this piece a couple of years or so ago and although it’s not like me to repost old stuff I thought I would this time because it’s somehow very personal to me.
MY PARENTS CIRCA 1940 photo image0-8_zps1e50fdb7.jpgMy Parents, circa 1940

Time and Relative Dimensions in Space..
TARDIS
The fictitious time and space machine that has graced the television airwaves since 1963 when the good Doctor took his first monochrome meddling walk through the Universe. The one thing in the Universe that I really, really wish was physically real.
And it’s not that I want to go and check on this or that significant day in history because I might find myself meddling with what ought to be left as it was despite all that happened as a consequence. Like I might learn obstetrics and give Mrs Hitler an abortion early in 1889 before her son Adolf was born.
It would be a temptation to interfere with any number of significant historical events and try to change the course of history for the better, and that might be bad because the unseen better might turn out to be worse than the seen actuality.
No. That’s not why I want to travel through space and time with the ease of the good Doctor.
What I really would like to do (and it’ll never be possible for perfectly obvious reasons that I’ll tack on at the end) is go back a bit and see how accurate or selective or downright wrong some of my personal memories are.
I’ve mentioned my father in blogs before, though not necessarily on this site.
You see, despite the fact that he was alive for the first four years of my life I can’t remember a blind thing about him, not can I remember ever remembering him, if that makes sense.
What I can remember is me, aged four and already a schoolboy, running down the stairs one morning (short trousers, jumper, tousled hair, untidy socks) to be greeted by “You’re not going to school today, Peter, your father died during the night…”
And nothing.
The man, he who donated his most excellent sperm to my mother, vanished from existence in my mind as though he’d never been.
There were references to him spasmodically during the ensuing years.
He smoked and it was the cigarettes that killed him… you must never smoke, Peter…”
He had an abscess on the lung, Peter…”
And that was all. A man who clearly produced really quality semen was no more, never would be any more, and suddenly, as if my mind had passed through an impermeable wall, there was no trace of him anywhere.
It wasn’t until I was in my sixties that I actually got hold of a few photographs with him in them. I might have seen them before, I don’t know, can’t remember. But those black-and-white images showed a few fragments from the life of a man I have no recollection of whatsoever.
You’d have thought, wouldn’t you, that there would be something there. Some shadow of the real man, an echo, maybe, faint and distant, of something he said, a suggestion in my mind of the father I had.
But there’s nothing, and the photographs, the faded monochrome images, are of a stranger. A man I never met.
That’s why I need that Tardis. Like the wonderful Doctor Who I need to ride the oceans of space and time and see who my father really was. What he did. How he met my mother (he was, according to Internet records, and they are the best I have, born in 1899 and I was born in 1943 so he was a bit tardy when it came to breeding, especially in a time when women outnumbered men quite considerably because of the bloody mess that was World War 1).
And was it childish grief that wiped him from my memory or did he spend so much time in bed or in hospital that I never really knew him?
So many questions, so few answers. I need facts! I need to sort out personal truth, personal guesses, personal facts.
Only then will I begin to wonder whether I should get a degree in obstetrics and deal with Mrs Hitler and her obscene pregnancy…
And the perfectly obvious reasons, the ones why my time travel is never going to happen? If it ever becomes a reality we’d find ourselves bumping into shadows from our futures, maybe far distant futures, and we haven’t, have we? So they’ve never come to see us, with their superior knowledge and well-thumbed history books and medical instruments. So the technology (thank heavens, I suppose) is plainly never going to be possible…
© Peter Rogerson 06.05.13

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