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Monday, May 31, 2010

Memories are made of this

The Hungarian violinist Gyorgy Pauk was on "Desert Island Discs". By the time he was four both his parents had disappeared into labour camps, never to return. He said he had no memory of even a kiss from them. It was only when he said this that it struck me just how memorable even the most glancing flesh-on-flesh contacts can be. My parents have been gone a long time but if I close my eyes I can still remember the texture and the smell of my close encounters with them, most of them in early life. I can feel my mother's lips on my cheek and the proud weight of my father's hand on my knee as we travelled to his work. It's somehow more remarkable because I wasn't making any effort to remember at the time. Had I known, of course, I would have been concentrating.