Gran About Town by Pat Ellingham
I have to confess there was another plan for this column. It was just about finished too, and then I could not find it when I logged on the other day. "Help," I yelped. Grandson No1 was staying over, and he ambled to my side.
He had his iPad and was playing a superhero battle game. "Please be a superhero," I muttered as I looked for the piece I had written about half-term duties for gran. "I cannot find my column." He replied: "Did you save it?"
Did I save it? I wanted to scoff. Me, the greatest saver in the world who at the moment is going through a massive clear-out following necessary building works.
I am learning what a great saver I am as I empty the water-damaged loft space, and box after box comes down for final judgement. And to remind me that I save far too much – a pause. Memory returns to the moment of the last descent from the loft, a pile of boxes and bundles to be sorted with help from grandsons and their mum, just as I was in first draft of the column about half-term and Hallowe'en.
Their mum said: "We will order a pizza and get on with this. I hope you have decided what needs recycling."
As a baby doll came out of a storage box, together with a family of Care Bears and a shocking pink tutu, grandson No1 declared: "Gross."
"That is your mum's stuff," I countered. His mum was looking at another box stuffed with grey net and satin which I wanted to destroy.
"Those are for the recycling bag," I declared. But she wailed: "No, they are my bridesmaid dresses."
And so out of the attic came our life, all the bits and bobs of our history, from birth bracelets to birthday cards.
As the next box came down, I said: "I think I am going for the minimalist style from now on." My daughter replied: "You? Hah – you save everything."
Except I did not that night. Just at that moment we got our pizza delivery. I was distracted. Maybe I closed the laptop without thinking. Somehow the column I had been writing disappeared, unsaved.
But I was left looking at the keepsakes and thinking of the way we share with each generation who we are – cards from old birthdays and anniversaries, letters where handwriting can haul you back to the shape of a person long lost, and pressed flowers.
"Maybe your computer has not got enough memory," said grandson No2 as I stopped looking for the lost column.
I replied: "Never mind, I have."