This is a really random blog post but a comment posted on Facebook today prompted me to think about this one particular place in a shopping centre I used to visit every week with my late Mum and Nan. It used to be a Wimpy and then ‘upgraded’ (it really wasn’t an upgrade to be honest) to The Pentagon Grill, and it still stands to this day, some thirty years later.
We’d go most Saturdays. Have a wander around the shops first and then stop there for lunch, and all three of us always ate the same – cheeseburger with fried onions, chips and drink. Strawberry milkshake for me, and tea for Mum and Nan. Such a British thing to do. But the unusual thing about the burger was that we all had a fried egg in it (living life on the edge) and that’s how I always eat my burgers now. My kids think I’m an absolute freak.
I was reminiscing with my best friend about the ex-Wimpy and she said her Mum used to go there too, but she’d always ask for, “A Wimpy and chips please. With a coffee.” I don’t know why the idea of a dry burger with nothing in it, followed by a coffee makes me laugh so much, but I guess it’s just the idea that the memory of a place, or a taste, or a smell can conjur up such vivid images and take me back to that feeling I had of being with people I loved the most. The banality of it all is what I took for granted, and it’s what I now miss.
I think as I get older, I’m searching for those types of memories more and more, trying to cling onto them and perhaps impart them to my children whilst I still can. I’ve noticed Dad doing this with me when we meet up for our weekly coffee – a new highlight of the week for me. He’s opening up more and more about his childhood, and the things he got up to, and I’m learning more about him the older he gets. And I get it. That feeling of time running out maybe? Although I reckon my Dad will outlive us all.
Sunlife have created an interesting visual showing images of major cities in the UK, how they looked years ago and how they look now, and it’s fascinating to see how things can change but still look and feel so familiar, and that’s how I feel about The Grill. It’s the same, but different, and I haven’t been back because it won’t be the same going on my own and I don’t want to taint the wonderful memories I have.
But life does go on, as painful as that can be sometimes, and it’s about creating new traditions with my own children now, so that they have something to remember me by when I’m gone. And hopefully, we’ve got another forty years or so to do that, starting today … with a new tradition of Dexter making me a cup of coffee before I go to work as he’s got two weeks off school!
*This is a sponsored post.