Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Potluck – My Dad’s a Goldfish – For John M by Mary Smith

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

My next guest in the new series of Posts from Your Archives is author Mary Smith.. I have two blogs to select the four posts from and the first is from her blog My Dad’s A Goldfish, where Mary shares here experiences caring for her father as his dementia worsened. In this post however, she shares the tragedy of the dementia of a school friend who she has remained in contact with, who developed the disease at a much earlier age. Very poignant…

My Dad’s a Goldfish – For John M by Mary Smith

A friend has recently gone into a care home. He has a rare form of frontotemporal dementia. It is progressive and irreversible. The brain’s frontal lobe controls planning, judgment, emotional control, behaviour, inhibition and its temporal lobe affects language, along with emotional response and behaviour.

We have been friends for over fifty years – from when he used to walk me home from school carrying my books. We did our homework on the phone. I helped him with English, he helped me with French. We shared so much over those growing up years. Our lives went off in different directions but we always kept the connection – until very recently.

He can no longer take care of himself. He is only sixty three.

I owe him a great deal for the windows onto new worlds he opened for me. I’d like to think I opened some for him, too. This is for him.

For John M

My family went to Fleetwood or
Scarborough for holidays but you –
you went to France, brought back
snails in a tin. We ate them
with garlic butter in the house
on Edinburgh Road. They were
chewy but delicious.

You played me Debussy’s
Clair de Lune, explaining how
he broke harmony’s rules.
Not a pianist, I didn’t understand
but loved the music.

You gave me Francoise Sagan novels.
I felt so grown up, worldly wise.
Introduced me to
the little sparrow, Edith Piaf,
to Collette, Camus:
opening windows onto new worlds.
I gained much from your love
of France and all things French.

Now, with clumps of protein
gumming up your brain,
you don’t read, conversation almost gone,
thought processes wrecked
you can’t remember
all you gave me.

I hope I let you know
before time ran out on us
how important you’ve been
and how thankful I am.

I think, though, you might
still remember those snails
and carrying my books home
from school.

©Mary Smith

My thanks to Mary for letting me have the freedom to browse her archives and select posts for you.. I am sure that you have felt the same emotional connection to this tribute to a dear friend.

A selection of books by Mary Smith

51yks9fxhfl-_uy250_ 51ujjsusehl-_uy250_ 51arfsi2ffl-_uy250_

A recent review for No More Mulberries

I always enjoy a love story set in another culture because reading feels like a voyage of discovery. The kindness of the Afghan people warmed my heart as I followed the central character. The setting is completely alien to me, and I loved this backdrop.

People get on with their daily routines in spite of the war in Afghanistan. Scottish born Miriam has to adjust to the rhythms of Afghan life but experiences conflict. Smith manages to identify those elements of a new culture that alienate Miriam. The simple things we value are not familiar in Afghan culture. I found the conversation between Miriam and Fatima poignant.

‘Don’t you ever feel like walking – just getting out?

‘Why?’Fatima looked startled.

In Afghan culture women do not have thinking time. All the small differences contribute to Miriam’s sense of unease. The pivotal value of Afghan culture is ‘this thing about face – respect – reputation – honour.’ But to understand how this translates into the culture one has to read the book.

Charting Miriam’s marriages, this is a love story with a difference. Miriam goes on a journey of discovery to find out ‘what happened to the woman who married Jawad’.
No More Mulberries is a sensitive examination of love and cultural barriers. A fascinating read!

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads:

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Connect to Mary Smith

Facebook address
New Blog:

Thank you for joining us today and Mary would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

33 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Potluck – My Dad’s a Goldfish – For John M by Mary Smith

  1. I remember reading this a beautiful elergy to a friendship, a celebration of things that were and will always be- unaltered in heart and mind. I would be honoured if someone wrote something so accomplished and tender about me when I passed. Pxx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A gut-wrenching loss to lose one’s mind and memories. I can’t even fathom it. You’re a true warrior woman Mary, to have endured such loss of your friend and dad where their minds lost their way before their time. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.