We Remember

Julian Harel

Forgetting Ted

Memories are strange things. Just when you thought you had forgotten someone, along comes a sound or song or image and that someone comes rushing back in. It’s only then that you really begin to miss their presence. You cannot control it, nor should you try especially when it comes to someone who was as loved as Ted Jarrold was. Ted, being such a larger than life personality, left an disproportionally large amount of memories behind when he left us. In fact, Ted left a bloody great big hole full of memories behind, from his childhood in the Blitz to his teaching career then onto opera, Germany, kite shops, camera shops and franchising. These are not our memories, they are second hand, but Ted had a way of making them yours as if you were in his mom’s kitchen in 1942 hiding under the table from the falling bombs or designing album covers for the Beatles (who he affectionately called the “lads”).

I can still see him sitting outside, napkin tucked in to stop the falling food from staininghis shirt, which it inevitably did, calling me “my boy” and taking me back to West Ham football ground for some long forgotten incident in his childhood. The fact that I had heard this story ten times before didn’t matter to him or me; they still held some kind of old magic that made you forget that you knew the story better than he did.

Then there are the songs. Ted’s voice is so distinct that it is impossible to miss filling up the lower registers that make me feel like a squeaky dolphin next to his humpback whale resonances. It is still difficult for me to talk of him in the past tense when I play his songs at a Ready-Steady-MoveTeacher Training Course. “That deep voice you hear belongs to the late Uncle Ted” I tell them, often to get the reply of “Yes we know.” Ted was well known, he made himself that way, he was never one to watch life go past; he was a player, not a spectator, who sought out the limelight. 

Now he is gone and the stage is empty, but there is no forgetting the presence that once enriched our lives story by story, song by song. If I could I would arrange a fly- by of Spitfires for him because he loved the sound of the Merlin engines as many of his generation did as it reminds them of freedom and victory. I don’t have any Spitfires for him, only these few words and enough memories to last a lifetime.


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