We hear a lot of famous last words, but rarely are the first words of the great and good recorded.
Most of us ordinary mortals, presumably, start off with mama or dada but I’ve heard of a few who didn’t.
The first words of our god-daughter Harriet, for example, were “Lewes, this is Lewes”. Her mum lived in the town of Lewes and, every morning, she’d put Harriet out in her pram in the back garden which was close to the railway station. So the first words Harriet heard every day were the station master’s tannoy announcements, “Lewes. This is Lewes.”
And then there was little David Scott, the son of former school teacher of mine. David’s first words were, “Baby seal lifer’s pogrom”. His mum used to get up very early and switch on the radio before broadcasting had started (who else remembers those days?). Then she’d set about making the breakfast and, after a while, transmission would begin. So the first thing David heard every morning was the announcer saying, “This is the BBC Light Programme…”
And how about Cathy Robertson, the daughter of a very literate and talkative Edinburgh family? She took so long before saying anything at all that Ma and Pa Robertson were worried that she might never speak at all. Suddenly, at the breakfast table one morning, Cathy said, “Pass me the sugar, please.” She had been, they later concluded, perfectly capable of speech for many months. But, with a family of four to look after everything she required, she just didn’t use it until she finally had to.
OK, so none of those people are famous, but you get the point. I was discussing this once with a friend who said he’d heard that the first words uttered by Oedipus were, “I’ll be back.” So there’s one in the eye for Arnie.
So famous first words anybody?