I had a request from one of my sons in law this week to send a selection of photos of my younger daughter – to whom he is married – as she has a significant birthday soon.
So, this morning I crawled in the cupboard under our eaves where there are boxes of old photos in semi-sorted order. Inevitably, starting to look at old photos is quickly distracting, as memories of past times, events and people are brought to mind. John and I laughed at memories of past nativities where certain little girls stole the limelight, and a few years later when they were experimenting with fashion styles. There were proud moments when we thought of some of their achievements, and touching moments when something didn’t go to plan. There were photos of being dressed up for a play or special event, and dressed down just relaxing at home; photos of smiling, laughing, serious concentration, cheekiness, coyness and being extrovert.
Looking at some of the photos of my daughter I could see my Mothers expressions, and the likeness that she has to her, which she probably doesn’t realise.
We selected a number of photos, took photos of the photos, so that we could send a file. Then, of course tidying it all away, which gave rise to further distraction as we looked at albums of our parents and grandparents’ generations, trying to remember who people were. I recognise, of course, the immediate family members, my Mother’s brother, my Father’s sisters , Grandparent’s and Great Grandparent’s. All of those people had some interest and some input on me growing up; some influence on the person I have become. What an incredible richness of experience!
Some were remembered faces from childhood, but I don’t think I ever knew the relationships between many of the adults. Now we may never know as most of those people have passed on. It’s funny how we never think to ask certain questions until it is too late – as children we accept those friendly, caring adults around us without much thought to how they have a connection with us. For our generation all adults were just ‘Auntie’ or ‘Uncle’, whether or not we were actually related.
The photo I have included is of my Mother in her early twenties. There are a number of photos of her with friends, and a little later with Dad. It is fascinating to see how fashions, and hairstyles change and help to date old pictures, and to look behind the people to see the settings and trappings of the time. My memories are overwhelmingly happy, tinged with sadness that some of those people were taken sooner than I would have chosen, but I am so grateful for every one of them.