Seemingly mundane memory 1

We always recall and talk about the significant memories but how often do those little insignificant memories come to the fore? The ones that drop like random rain drops upon the rooftop of our museum of fond recollections but never quite pour. One of mine involves just one statement uttered nearly fifty years ago when I was barely a teenager. One lousy anodyne statement that never dried up but drops on my rooftop from time to time.
I was with Dad at the bus stop when one of his colliery neighbours stopped to chat. Their conversation sounded like pit talk, which I didn’t understand and therefore didn’t take much notice of. What they said flew over the top of my head. That was until they evidently switched topic to Sunday newspapers for suddenly my ears received a message loud and clear from Dad’s neighbour: “Well, I mean to say, I get the Mail and Post.”
That was it; the one utterance out of many that found its way into my memory and has lodged there ever since. “Well, I mean to say, I get the Mail and the Post.”
For those who don’t know, the Mail and the Post are Scottish Sunday newspapers. On its own the neighbour’s declaration is not worthy of note. So what, he gets the Mail and the Post. But how come that information stuck in the memory. Well being a man with a deep gravel voice I suppose it was the way the neighbour said it and the clarity with which he said it that enabled the statement to embed itself in the memory. However mundane the utterance was, it could easily be expanded into a social comment thus converting into a memory of significance.
Why did he furnish Dad with this information? Was there an underlying reason for doing so? We had only the Post delivered on Sunday; most people did. It was the most widely read paper in Scotland at the time. The Mail was a colour banner paper but did not have as much reading content. Besides, the Post had Oor Wullie and The Broons for us kids to read. So was Dad’s neighbour boasting that he had two papers delivered? There’s evidence to support this possibility. For example very few people had a car in those days whereas today not a few households consist of two car families. Therefore the two Sunday papers’ family  could have been a forerunner of the two car family as represented by the neighbour. If this was the case, then the memory is not so mundane after all, even though as a kid I could not grasp the social significance. The neighbour could have been a ‘keeping up with the Jones’ symbol for Dad to compete against. Therefore his declaration might have been an invitation to Dad to ‘beat that.’ Thankfully, as a father of eight, Dad had more important things on his mind than to order a second newspaper on Sundays. We continued to be a one newspaper family.


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