Curating Memories – Boys and Girls

Little Notes

October 24, 2015

I was on the tube and sitting next to three young teenage boys somewhere between the ages of 13 – 15 — the age where they can still look like little boys or almost fully grown men.

In this case, there was a tall one whose voice had broken and a pair of identical twins with chorister voices who were half his height. So there they were, a bunch of mates hanging out and the tall one says, “But then I have to walk her home and listen to her tell me she loves me. And then she’ll say she doesn’t love me and that she’s going through a tough time. And then the next day, she loves me again,” he says in exasperation. “I mean what’s that all about?”

No. 1 Niece's impression of London expressed through a "word cloud".  I'm very proud that I have made it in as "Auntie Christine" as I'm in good company with her beloved Harry Potter.

And on the subject of girls, my two nieces — aka surrogate daughters —  have graced our household with their presence for the last two weeks on their visit from Singapore with their parents, my brother and sister-in-law. Ages 11 and 8,  these two girls were born with pencils in their hands and draw as a matter of course wherever they are and whatever they happen to be doing.  Their visit and continual stream of drawings reminded me of when I went to look after them for a week in Singapore six months ago. The concept of My Contents Have Shifted at that time was nameless, formless and daunting. Vague in my mind, I didn’t know where to begin and was debating if I even should begin. My nieces’ uninhibited flow of creativity was the impetus of my inspiration. If they had an idea, they just sat down and drew, sewed, taped, glued and made. Sometimes they didn’t even have an idea. They had a feeling and once they started, their thoughts and hands would move together. They never stopped to ask, “Can I do this?’ They just did it.

A magnificent pitcher of lemonade on a table with a red and white gingham tablecloth drawn by No. 2 Niece.

Channeling their energy, I started My Contents Have Shifted. Throughout the design process, whenever I got stuck or struck by self doubt, I just thought of the girls and their pencils and I kept going. Two months in from launching,  the feedback on the site from MCHS readers has been so positive and encouraging — thank you! I’ll keep going and as I continue, I’m sure there will be many more times when I will find myself recalling the muse of my nieces so this is a thank you to them as well.

The girls were thrilled when I said I might put their drawings up on the website and asked to be billed as No. 1 Niece and No. 2 Niece. I have three other nieces from my other siblings and I’m not sure how they’ll feel about this, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll go with that. And also, how cute is it that they are reading the site?

No. 2 Son tries out his newly acquired bartending skills.

Back to boys — No. 2 Son decided that he would start off his gap year by learning some useful skills and has just finished a month long bartending and mixology course at The London Bar School. He is now certified to serve a drink anywhere in Europe.  If anyone needs a bartender, please let us know. Two hours after he passed his arduous exam where he was required to memorize 80 drinks, he went to work making Shirley Temples for his dear cousins, No. 1 Niece and No. 2 Niece just before their car whisked them away to Heathrow and back to Singapore. We toasted his success and their visit. They told him that he forgot the maraschino cherry.

Happy Weekend.

N.B.: This post was originally published on My Contents Have Shifted.

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nothing like pre-teen girls to keep you honest. and on your toes. (and truth be told, inspired.)