These brown photo albums live in a drawer in my sitting room. My mother insisted that I take them to New Zealand in order to pass them on to my children. As far as I’m aware, my sister has also been given similar albums for her children, same reason.
They never come out of the drawer, otherwise there will be too many hours spent pondering on the characters in the images and their stories. The photographs in these albums are not the snapshots of an individual life, as in my collection from yesterday. They are the story of a family, a culture and tiny glimpses of history.
One is very much an album of my mother’s people, but for some reason I’m more drawn to the people on my father’s side, found in the other albums. I’ve even pulled out a couple of those and framed them.
They are not memories to me of course, but these photographs are memories nevertheless. It’s photographs like these that keep the past alive, and souls remembered, even if we don’t know their names. I think there’s something about a face photographed in black and white that seems to reveal a little more soul than in colour. Anyway, here’s a random selection like yesterday, but I’ll fill them out with what stories I know – briefly of course. (Lots of novels here – copyright of all of them belong to me 🙂
My Grandfather is the scary looking man top left. The group is my grandparents and my uncles. The little blonde lad is Dad. I don’t know why my aunts weren’t included in this shot.
Really not sure about these ladies. Great-great Grandmother I suspect.
My Grandfather and his cousin. Here’s the mystery: Both of them had lost one eye each and yet wouldn’t tell anyone how. That was well before the war, by the way. They went from knacker men to wealthy men with brilliant business acumen and wills of steel (so dad used to say).
Naughty naughty Uncle Paul. Original ‘Jack the Lad’ till the end. Loved him to pieces. Mum used to say he was a bad influence on Dad. He was.
One that’s on my mantlepiece. Great-Great Grandmother, Great-Grandfather (who is the image of my brother), Grandfather and he’s holding his eldest son, Uncle Ben. In fact, all three of these men are called Benjamin. So is Ben’s eldest son, and his eldest son.
My father’s mother, Gladys. She’d had a hard life bringing up all those children with a hard and difficult man for a husband. When he died having made some money, she went on cruises all over the world and spent way past her means. My father had to go and rescue her, paying off her hotel and holiday bills and bring her home (so mum says). She had a fabulous time as a widow. Gladys died after a day out shopping with one of her daughters. She died in her sleep, and she was smiling.
Da Boyz. The dapper handsome one was Gladys’s brother. I met him once. He was an old man, but still dapper. I suspect this photo was taken on the occasion of my grandparent’s wedding. Again, where are the girls?
This wedding photo is special to me even though I’m not in it, being a baby or not yet born. My cousin Joe isn’t there either, as he’s the only cousin who’s younger than me. What’s special is that everyone else is there in one photo. All my Aunts and Uncles, their spouses, my brothers and sister, and all my cousins. My parents are looking at each other in the crowd, although I think they may be bickering. On the opposite page in the album is the photo of my dad and my Uncle Robert. He died in a drink driving accident, and many mourned for him. Lovely guy. Another naughty one.
Rest in Peace, you wonderful lot.
I’ll be posting ‘Q’ tomorrow – I have no idea about what yet…