Places in our Memories: With Robbie Cheadle

A huge thank you to talented author, Judith Barrow, for hosting my article in her Places in our Memories series. I have shared some of my memories about the births of my three sisters which obviously changed my life significantly. You can find out more about Judith’s excellent books here: and read my review of The Heart Stone here:

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I’m welcoming Robbie Cheadle, someone I’ve known and admired as an online friend for many years.

Thank you, Judith, for inviting me to talk about my memories.

As a little girl I was quiet and self-contained. The oldest of four daughters, my mom was often busy with a new baby and so I spent a lot of time alone. I do believe I was a lonely child and passed my time reading, listening to Broadway musicals on my mother’s record player, and doing numerous artistic projects.

By the time I was eighteen, I’d lived in twenty-one houses and attended fourteen schools. Twelve of my school changes occurred before I was twelve and once, I changed schools twice during the same academic year.

I never developed lasting and strong friendships with other girls which may have been a consequence of all these disruptions. Instead, my sisters and I played together. Their births were the highlight moments of my younger years.

A typical picture of me as a child

My time as a baby and a toddler are grey mist to me, but the first powerful memory I have is of the entrance of my sister, Catherine, into my life. She displaced me as the only one and I wasn’t pleased about it at the time.

Continue reading here:

44 thoughts on “Places in our Memories: With Robbie Cheadle

  1. As I mentioned on Judith’s blog, I enjoyed these memories. As the oldest of 4, I could relate to your feelings when younger siblings arrived. Mine were brothers though, which was always a disappointment for me at the time. Happy to have them now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Darlene, it is funny that you were disappointed with brothers at the time. I don’t recall ever giving it a thought. I did like having sisters because they were fabulous living dolls. I used to dress them up all the time and we did performances of plays which I used to script. We even did one on the street once at Christmas time. My dad was horrified. So much fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful, Robbie. I really enjoyed it. I was the third of ten so I was followed by seven others – two sisters and five brothers. The birth I remember most was that of the third youngest, a brother, who was born four days before my tenth birthday. I always considered him special because of that. This year we both celebrated 0 birthdays, so we were in the same decade together for just four days! It doesn’t happen many times in our life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Norah, that is very special. There are four years between me and Cath, another four between Cath and Hayley and only one between the last two. My poor mom did struggle with a 13 month age difference and two older children. Well, she didn’t struggle much with me as I was very self contained.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. what a wonderfully honest story about your early experiences with your sisters. I was glad to read at the end that you are able to spend time together with your sisters and their families.

    and I can’t imagine changing schools that often!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Robbie – this was a wonderful look back into your life and the arrival of your sisters. You have lived an extraordinary life, one that has influenced your writing and has given your a special delight in exploration. It is a joy to follow your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rebecca, this is a lovely comment. Strangely, I see my life as being rather ordinary. I told my mom the other day that her life was far more of an adventure than mine has been. She seemed a little surprised, but she moved from the UK to SA and has had three husbands, one of whom died of a massive heart attack in front of her (my biological father). She is very strong, my mom.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Roberta,

    I tried to start my day with a visit to Marsha’s Story Chat and the comments about my story. I wanted to make sure I’d replied to everyone but it looks like she’s closed off the comments as she prepares her closing summary – which caught me because it looks like I miss replying to one of your comments.

    You are a new acquaintance for me and I wanted to find a way to reach out to you and a few others in particular to say thanks for joining this story chat and that it’s great having a blogging friend from South Africa.

    So I popped over to your blog and found this story and smiled because writing and collecting my own memoirs was how I got started blogging. I did not want to write traditional memoirs, which are often little more that data dumps and are kind of boring, but I wanted something that was legitimately entertaining to read or even laugh at.

    Your being the oldest sibling and your reaction to the arrival of your sister made me smile as I too did not agree with my parents that bringing home these loud annoyances was somehow a good idea.

    So, while you and I met over a sample of what I like to write now; clean, short fiction of credible human drama, I actually got my start laughing with whoever would join me with stories like my version of growing up with sisters.

    Thank you for joining that story chat. You may have read that Marsha decided to reduce her work load and that this was her last story chat event.

    I welcomed your contributions and hope to hear more from you and your story-telling journey.

    Kind regards,
    Gary Wilson

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Gary, thank you for reaching out and sharing this link. I will go over and have a look at it shortly. It is a shame that there will be no more story chat’s as they are a fabulous idea and way of engaging with other writers. I do understand that they are time consuming though.


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