A bigger pool

IN COMMON WITH most people, I have little or no memory of the first two or three years of my life. My earliest recollections are the birth of my sibling when I was four years old, and walking with my parents to St Albans Church Hall in Golders Green to collect the free orange juice that the government provided in the 1950s. That was issued to children under the age of two, so it must have been for my sibling within the first two years of her life. At that time, I would have been less than six years old.

Recently, a cousin sent me scans of some family photographs. They include several of me before I was four years old. One of them taken of me in our garden in Hampstead Garden Suburb shows me standing beside a circular inflatable swimming pool filled with water. In the photograph, I am bending over the pool with a small jug in my right hand. None of this can I recall, except the crazy paving garden path behind me, which remained in existence until the 1990s, and might well still be there.

Seeing the photograph, which must have been taken before 1956, did jog my memory. I recall that after my sibling was born, my parents bought a bigger paddling pool for use in our garden. This was a rectangular affair. It consisted of a metal framework that had to be assembled and a plastic pool that was hung from its four sides before being filled with the garden hose. At each corner there was a small triangular metal seat. Well, I doubt I would have remembered this had I not seen the image of something I cannot remember at all.

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