Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Wedding – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Alex Craigie

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Alex Craigie shares some of her childhood escapades and encounters with nature, and how a regret still remains with her 47 years later.

Alex/Trish with her brother on her wedding day

If I knew then what I know now by Alex Craigie

There are countless things that I know now that I didn’t know then. With hindsight, most of them were trivial and inconsequential.

As a very young child there were more mysteries in life than answers. Clouds, beards, mirrors –all were beyond the comprehension of someone so unfamiliar with the world.

When I became a toddler, my knowledge came through human responses. Playing in the sink with my rubber duck was fine; playing with it in the toilet bowl wasn’t. Running around the garden in the altogether was perfectly acceptable; removing my clothes in the street, less so. The pictures I drew with my wax crayons were crooned over, but no one appreciated the colourful mural in the sitting room. When I sat in a field with my faithful collie companion to share some sheep poo, the response was as rapid as it was unexpected.

In my primary school years, mystification with mirrors and sheep poo gave way to a bewilderment about adult behaviour. Adults could do what they wanted, so why did they choose a cup of horrid tea when they could sip something fizzy through a straw? Why watch the news in preference to cartoons? In one of my Noddy books he was allowed to order whatever he wanted from the café; he chose four ice creams. Who would voluntarily opt for Brussels sprouts?

I once went horse riding with a friend and when I pleaded with my mother for a pony of my own, she flatly refused. Apparently, living in a basement flat with a tiny shared garden was an obstacle to horse ownership. She could be so unreasonable.

When I was twelve, it was the issue of socks that took on a massive, unfathomable importance. The school uniform requirements specified brown, woollen socks. They then changed, mid-year, to allow white, trendy knee-highs. One by one, everyone at school swapped their brown socks for the new ones. I pleaded with my mother, who’d bought several years’ worth of the frumpy horrors, to buy me some of the pretty white ones. She responded with that infuriating line, ‘If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?’ Yes. When it came to white socks, I would.

Another peer pressure issue concerned my wavy, unruly hair. Hair in the sixties was sleek and straight. I tried everything, including ironing it, but never achieved the fab, groovy look I yearned for. I did sport white lipstick, though, and shiny blue eye shadow…

In my hippy college years, I wore long cotton dresses and padded around bare foot. Work was frequently left until the last minute and involved all-night sessions to meet deadlines. I saw Pink Floyd live in a smoky student gig and took part in sit-ins about student grants. It was also a time when I experienced love in all its glory and heartbreak.

In 1975, the love of my life and I finished our degrees and were married in the college chapel. There were a few niggles on the day. My anti-pony mother doted on my younger brother and stopped outside an angling shop on the way and sent me in to get him two pints of maggots. I sat with them in the car at my feet, worried at the lateness of the hour.

The college had allocated a room where I could get ready and, clock ticking, I dressed hastily, jabbing my veil on squint. In a box on the table was the bouquet backed by trailing ivy and fern that I’d ordered. No trailing anything. It was a simple posy. On arriving at the chapel, I discovered that the groom had been persuaded to have his long hair done at a salon. It had been blow-dried so that he resembled a standard lamp. None of these mattered. If I’d known about them, I could have made the changes but they were cosmetic and unimportant in the bigger scheme of things.

There were other issues that cut deeper. Painfully deep. I’d gone home the week before the wedding. My parents’ divorce hadn’t been one of those amicable ones you sometimes read about. I was running a high fever when my father phoned to say that my grandmother had died. I adored her. Struggling with this information, I went to bed, dosed with paracetamol. Later the next day, I discovered that my mother had told him that, in the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for him to come to the wedding. Her delight at finding an obstacle to my father’s attendance had made her upbeat and insensitively happy.

I phoned him. I phoned him repeatedly. But there was no response. I wanted my father at my side, not my younger brother. I was still phoning him on the day itself and for all the days afterwards until I got through to him. He’d gone to Scotland to lick his wounds. His quiet understanding of the situation, and his generosity of spirit despite the nightmare he’d been put through, did nothing to ease a guilt and shame that remains to this day.

Knowing about mirrors, eating sheep poo and the prerequisites of horse maintenance would have made no difference to me at the time because I lacked the capacity to cope with that knowledge. Neither would an understanding of peer pressure have done anything to ease the very real suffering I went through. As for my student days, they were an experience I wouldn’t change – it was a learning curve, a rite of passage. And when did the heart ever listen to reason?

However, if I’d known about my mother’s decision to block my father from the wedding, I’d have done everything in my power to prevent a shameful incident that’s haunted me since and been the one lasting regret of my life.

©Alex Craigie 2022

My thanks to Alex for sharing her childhood adventures and a poignant event that she would have given anything to have changed.

About Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Both books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the NHS at its heart.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Books By Alex Craigie

My review for Means to Deceive May 14th 2022

You know you are in the hands of a master storyteller when you are so engaged by the story that you want to reach in and offer hugs to the main character and some swift justice to others!

Alex Craigie writes very good books and this is no exception.

Gwen Meredith is between a rock and a hard place at work and at home where intimidation, misunderstandings, secrets and childhood memories cloud judgment. It is even worse when it is played out on social media in a town where everybody feels they have a right to voice their opinions on the situation.

With a grandmother’s dementia developing rapidly, there is little time to sit and work through the evolving mystery and at times the interference of others, though kindly meant, creates more havoc.

This is probably not the best time to fall in love especially if you don’t know who to trust but it does offer a glimmer of hope in the dark place Gwen now finds herself in.

Clues are dropped in, and events point in a number of directions, but the puzzle is missing a lot of pieces until the final chapter. This is a clever mystery which will have you on the edge of your seat and wondering if you are perhaps not going a little crazy too.

The climax is dramatic and comes with surprising revelations. A fabulous ending to this highly recommended book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex: Goodreads – Alex Craigie via: Facebook

 

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Alex’s post.. thanks Sally.

128 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Wedding – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Alex Craigie

  1. Isn’t it a shame that our regrets stick with us so viscerally? In some ways, more than our triumphs. Sorry about your dad missing your wedding (and even moreso, why), but I’m glad he understood once you reached him. Thanks for sharing your story, Alex/Trish.

    Sally, thanks for hosting.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I am so sorry about your father missing your wedding but what a kind man he was not to make a fuss and spoil your big day …The lampshade hairstyle made me smile..I am loving this series, Sally and this post from Trish is no exception a brilliant snapshot of Trish’s formative years…Hugs xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m sorry your mother put her desires in front of your own on such a special day in your life. And I’m sorry that memory still brings you sadness. That would definitely be a moment in my life I would want a redo as well. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Alex/Trish. Though that moment cannot be erased, it seems you were able to work things out with your dad, which is still a small blessing. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Wishing you peace with the wedding situation, Alex. Believe it or not, my mother did something similar. She told my father he wasn’t allowed to bring his fiancee, so he chose to stay away. She made HIM look like the bad guy. Who knows why people grandstand like this. Wrapping you in a warm hug!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Thanks for a very moving story, Alex. I, too, am sorry that your father missed probably one of the most important moments of your life, but it is to his credit that he didn’t make it worse. I certainly understand your regrets. Thanks for sharing this with us. Hugs
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    Liked by 4 people

  6. Trish, I adore how you’ve told such a moving story with so much humour threaded throughout. You made me smile even while sharing such sad events and moving me. The guilt is your mother’s, yet I fully understand how and why you carry it. The things our parents do to us, eh? I’m so pleased your dad understood. At least you two didn’t have to suffer a rift over that misunderstanding/misleading. Wrapping you in hugs and love. Thank you for sharing your story with us 💕🙂

    Sally, thanks for sharing! Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Teri. Perhaps if he’d been less graceful I wouldn’t feel so very guilty now! He was a good man and I was lucky that he made it easy for me to share his life.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. HI Trish, you have shared a lovely picture and your story is an interesting one for someone like me who grew up so conservatively. I think the guilt you’ve assumed about your father not coming to your wedding is unwarranted. It was not your decision and your mother shouldn’t have done that. I am currently reading a book called The Midnight Library and the most recent part I read is about how we can have regrets about things that were not our fault and out of our control. To date, the book has been very insightful into the human psychology.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thank you for sharing these beautifully written poignant memories, Trish. Yes, a pity that your father was blocked from attending your wedding, and shame on your mother for being selfish at that time. If only you’d known. Thank you, Sally, for hosting these! Just amazing!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. What a beautiful post, Alex. I’m sorry about your father missing your wedding but glad he understood the situation so well and your mother. Doesn’t sound like it had anything to do with you but effected you the most. The little lessons you learned along the way made me smile, we all need them! Xo

    Liked by 3 people

  10. A touching story, Alex. My daughter was also a product of a broken home. Her mother wanted her stepfather to walk her down the aisle. My daughter refused since she always wanted me to do the honor, and the mother threatened not to attend the wedding. We all had a great time without her and her husband. I hope you get rid of the guilt since it was your mother’s bad manners, not yours.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I agree with John, Trish. Time to let go of the guilt portion of your sad feelings, at least. YOU weren’t guilty of anything, and went out of your way to try to reach your father so he could be part of your special day. (And I have to wonder if your mother ever felt bad that her actions hurt you as much or possibly even more than they hurt him?) A sad story, indeed!

    I have to confess, though, I laughed at several parts of your childhood. I mean, it’s not every day you get to read about a kid and her dog sharing sheep poo!! 😁As for the socks, I can totally understand. No twelve year old in the world would want to be the only one NOT wearing cool white knee-high socks!

    Last, I want to say that lampshade hairdo or not, your groom was a handsome young man, and you were a BEEEE-yootiful bride! What a sweet picture! Thanks so much for sharing with us today! Wonderful post! 🤗❤️🤗 And thanks, Sally, for this super fun series!❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bless you for that, Marcia! My mother was a manipulative woman and I think she managed to justify all her actions to herself. This post has been like therapy and I’m incredibly grateful for all the supportive comments. I thought it might seem trivial (one day in a lifetime) but everyone has understood. I’m also glad that you understand about the white socks. I’d sit in assembly and look along the rows of legs and mine were the only ones in the sloppy brown ones.

      The other person in the photo is my younger brother. My husband is 6′ 2″ (I’m 4′ 11″.) His shoulder length hair must have given his head a diameter of 18″ at the base – it was fairly spectacular! ❤ 😀 ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oh, thanks for explaining that’s your brother. I was thinking he looked incredibly YOUNG … like 14-ish — to be getting married!! Sorry for my confusion. But you WERE definitely a beautiful bride, my friend!

        And 6’2″, huh? Why is it always the petite ones who snag the tallest men??? I’ve always been eye to eye with the guys I dated, if not taller than. 🙄Good thing I never cared, either way. I liked them or I didn’t, no matter their height.

        Liked by 3 people

  12. Thank you for sharing your memories and your regrets. It’s so sad your mother couldn’t see how important the wedding was to you and to your father. I suspect that over the years she realized her error, and I also suspect that she hopes you forgive her even in her absence. Bless you. 💗

    Liked by 4 people

  13. I love your childhood memories Alex and the way you have added a dash of humor with each one. I am sure even the children of today can relate to “no one appreciated the colourful mural in the sitting room.” I can relate to “‘If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?’’ with the difference that “jumping into the well’ was my mom’s favorite refrain! Alex, I know the pain of absence of a father at the wedding, as I death cruelly snatched away my dad when I was a child. But life goes on! Thanks for sharing that lovely image, you are a gorgeous bride. 😊 And what a handsome couple!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for this lovely comment, Balroop. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the humour and love the twist on it regarding the well! I’m so sorry that your father died before your wedding. It puts my situation into perspective – my father wasn’t there for the day but I did have many more years with him. The other person in the picture is my younger brother who took my father’s place. The groom was considerably taller and with an impressively bouffant hair-do! x

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Sally, thank you so much for including my piece here – the comments have been amazing. It’s a wonderful series, I’ve enjoyed every one of them and I know that there are still delights to come. I also need to thank you for posting your brilliant review of Means to Deceive. It’s been an emotional day but one that’s been hugely life-affirming and heartwarming. Smorgasbord rocks!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Oh mothers. I’m sorry for your hardships with you mother and for your father not walking you down the aisle. No doubts that one would still bite through the years. Thanks to Trish for sharing some pieces of herself here today. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Thank you, Alex/Trish, for your profound thoughts and insights on family dynamics. While I have only had the privilege of knowing you for a short time, what comes through you writing and responses is a deep and abiding compassion for others. It seems to me that you used the hurt that occurred on your wedding to act as a guiding light to show love and hope in all that you do, say and write. We are defined by our memories, but our choices on how to use these memories remains with us. You have chosen well and have inspired others to do the same. I am glad that we connected.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Thank you Trish for such an eloquent piece. As you explained so well, a lot of the things that we see as problems are merely minor inconveniences and yet they seem so important at the time. My heart is sad that your father was not able to attend your wedding. I had many parent teacher conferences where unfortunately the divorced parents wanted to fixate on why the other parent was so awful instead of concentrating on what was most important to their child.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Pete. I’ve also witnessed the bitterness between divorced parents that puts the children in the crossfire. It’s so sad that your own rancour can supplant the maternal/paternal instinct to protect the young from harm. It’s a terrifying situation to be in as a child without any control over things. x

      Liked by 2 people

  18. What an interesting glimpse into the past, Alex! That wedding photo – at the time I imagine you and he both felt totally grown up, but how YOUNG you look!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thanks for sharing your story, Trish, both the fun of learning as a kid, as well as the harder experiences, choices, and regrets of adulthood. If only we didn’t make those mistakes, but they also teach us valuable lessons about compassion and forgiveness, for ourselves and others. Now stay out of the sheep poo, sport some white socks, and enjoy your beautiful hair. 🙂 Hugs.
    A wonderful share, Sally. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Oh the account of your early life and sheep poo did make me giggle.
    This certainly was an interesting account.
    Yes, what a shame that your dad didn’t get to your wedding.
    Indeed sometimes things happen that stick with you.
    It becomes something you never get over you just have to get used to it.

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

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  23. It’s incredible how adults can put themselves before the happiness of their children. When my daughter got married, we all gave her away, me and my husband and my ex, her father, and his wife. It was a nice moment and everyone acted like grown-ups. I don’t think you have any reason to feel guilty, it was out of your hands. I do love how you opened this post.

    Liked by 2 people

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