Getting much older, past your seventh decade of existence, your memory works differently. It’s as if what you labelled as “nice” becomes an unpleasant memory, as if your true unconscious self were coming up to the surface replacing the conscious labels you gave to your life experiences.
I had been surprised once when visiting my aging “godmother” she said she was tired of hearing old ladies bitching around all day. I wasn’t sure what she meant then. I see it now. All those lovely photos of your past life looking pleasant, happy and fun, suddenly come up with the true blue feeling of the time that you repressed in haste.
I’ll digress for a while to talk about my “godmother”. When I was 16-17 in France living outside the boarding school in a kind of foyer, I walked one day to the protestant pastor’s place. I had questions! His wife opened the door and from then on she welcome me every time, taking me in as an extra offspring! I kept in touch with her throughout my life and visited her at a retirement home when my little boy, son of my Fulah partner, was about 4 years old. She’s been a spiritual motherly guide to me. She was Swiss.
So, low and behold, I have become one of those bitching old ladies!
In my 20s I lived in Canberra, Australia. I had a good job as a clerk in a federal government Department and was happily married. A rosy life. My first contact with adult life happened there in the late sixties.
|from left to right: my mother Rachel Lagarde, me Frankie, my husband Brian Smith. |
In CANBERRA, Australia, in 1969
Brian James Smith was my husband. I was Frankie Smith in those days. He had a job in the Department of External Affairs and was paid a lot more than me. He was trained to become a computer programer and worked on the implementation of computerized pay lists for civil servants and diplomats. One day he told me that he had been offered to work in Geneva in the Australian Embassy there to implement computerized pay lists for the diplomats in Europe. And he had refused it.
I never ever forgave him for that. In my memory he never asked me my opinion beforehand. Maybe he did. In which case I would have been terribly enthralled at the idea of living in Geneva. But I don’t remember he asked me. He simply told me he had turned it down and passed the offer to a good mate of his. I never forgave. To this day I feel so mad and cheated about it. My grandfather never made the slightest decision without referring to my grandmother. My parents used to talk at length about any decision involving the family. There I was presented with a final decision involving my very life. Hatred built up and was repressed. I pretended everything was fine.
|Me now in 2018. Photo taken yesterday.|