My Very First Mend

My very earliest memory of mending goes back to when I was three or four. We lived in a top floor flat in London – eighty six stairs up (no lift back then), and sash windows with deep window sills both inside and out.( No child locks then either). I loved to sit on the window sill, leaning out to watch the Old Brompton Road traffic down below. It then must have occurred to me that it would be interesting to drop something out of the window and watch its progress to the pavement below. For some reason I chose a rather pretty pink patterned china cigarette box with matching small pot for matches (everyone smoked then too). Out they went. The next thing I remember is my grim faced mother, firmly clasping my hand as we went down the eighty six stairs, collected the broken bits from the pavement, and climbed the eighty six stairs again. We then set about mending the box and pot. Very wonky they were too. But the lesson went firmly home; it was the principle that mattered. I had broken something, therefore I must be responsible for mending it. I seem to remember that the next things I fancied throwing out of the window were newspapers, which were actually much more fun, as they blew about before wrapping themselves round the ankles of passers by, and of course, did not require mending afterwards.

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