All her life, my mother sang a great deal, not only formally, but also at her needlework, to her children, or by woods and water. When she sang to an accompaniment, it was always to my father’s accompaniment, and when he died – she being then fifty-five – all the songs she continued to sing to herself were German songs he had taught her during their married life. After the age of seventy, these gradually slipped away from her and we heard her singing the French songs she had learned during her school days in Dieppe and Paris. When she reached the age of eighty-five, these in their turn seemed to fade, but she still sang to herself, snatches of odd English popular songs which she had picked up in her childhood in London, from servants-street cries, sentimental broadsheets and the like, current at the time. The various stations of her life being well marked, it was possible to see a clear example of the way memory works.
H. M. Swanwick I Have Been Young (Victor Gollancz, 1935) p19