Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ghosts

Wow, if you want to get a cute Budgie like Disco, you've really got to be prepared to commit.

Budgie 10 -15 yrs
Cockatiel 15 -20 yrs
Conure 25 - 30 yrs
African Grey 50 - 60 yrs
Amazon 50-60 yrs
Macaws 50 - 80 yrs
Cockatoo 60 - 80 yrs

I was just enjoying once again that lovely glimpse of Old Britain, just before it all ended forever, one has in the old Ealing Comedy films. The Ladykillers remains one of my all time favourites, and always reminds me happily of the ladies who lived near my grandparents' house where I spent a lot of time as a child. (Two of them, Mrs. Helen MacDonald and Miss Dorothy Black, a widow and a spinster, lived in separate but adjacent houses where they allowed me to play, very carefully, with the antique - and I now realise extremely valuable - porcelain figurines of ballet dancers. But never let me win at Scrabble.)

It always gives me a terrible case of nostalgia and it occurred to me again today, rather sadly, that everyone in the film (which was Peter Sellers' first screen appearance) are long since dead, starting with the darling Katie Johnson as little Mrs. Wilberforce who was so wonderful she stole the show from no less a person than Alec Guinness (not yet "Sir" at the time).

Then I realised that not all the actors are necessarily gone. The cockatoo and Amazon parrots could very well still be with us.



And the internet has astonished me again by bringing my distant personal past, that I now think of as semi-mythological, into the present.


Here are the little ballerina figurines, made in Ireland, that were in Mrs. MacDonald's glass cabinet. Not the exact one, of course, and she had quite a few, but this is the exact style. It gave me rather a strange feeling looking at all the photos of the Dresden figurines. I suppose there were quite a lot of them floating about the world in old ladies' knick-knack cabinets, but now I imagine they are priced out of the range of normal people by these monomaniacal loons we call "collectors".

So much has changed, with me and in the world since then, that I sometimes wonder if my memories are really memories. So far away and so utterly vanished are all the figures from my past life that I often have the odd feeling that my memories are just my imagination. Virtually nothing remains of my childhood and life before my twenties, neither people nor artifacts. My life now is almost entirely recently constructed, and no one I currently consort with has known me more than five, or at most, ten years. It really does contribute to the feeling I have always had that I'm really just a replicant with implanted false memories. Am I haunted, or am I really a ghost from the past who's doing the haunting of the modern world?

Now and then, something physical bobs up from the depths to the surface and I am left with a strange shocked feeling. Who are we, really, other than our pasts?



~

4 comments:

The Sanity Inspector said...

"Permanence is the illusion of every age." -- Mark Steyn

Teresa B. said...

Our first budgie died after about 2 years of kidney failure.
We bought 2 more and I was tired of having to clean up the cage etc... when my kids said they would be responsible for it so I gave them away - cage on wheels and all.

I have never seen the Ladykillers and I ended up watching various clips after the one you posted. Those are the kinds of movies I've always enjoyed.
Though no one else likes them.
Thanks for posting it.

Teresa B. said...

Oops! Not 2 years of Kidney Failure! That would be pretty rough.
...after about 2 years FROM kidney failure.

Reginald said...

You ask: "Who are we, really, other than our pasts?"
We are, really, souls who hope they are of the elect, who hope to go to heaven.
Don't be sentimental about the past. Press on!