Friday, April 13, 2007

In another land

Warning - this is a very photo-heavy post.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to visit my mother. She gave me a not too large box of old photographs, and at one point in the latest schemozzle chez nous, I gave myself a moment or two of peace and browsed through them. Many of them I had seen before, of course, but some of them I never had, and I find myself feeling all sorts of whirling emotions. I want to record and share a few of them here.

There were many of my father as a young man - I haven't included any of those here, they are happy family type shots of young people having fun. I particularly like the ones of him with a group of friends on a walking/camping holiday in Dorset, I think. This was in the 1930s. There is one - I should have included it, on reflection, but haven't, of "Lord Henry and Mr Richard", two dashing, elegant blades standing in a doorway, oozing confidence and noblesse oblige.

But then comes World War 2.

Officer Training Group

This first, I assume, is of my father and the group he did his officer training with. he is front row left. I sadly have no idea who any of the others are.


My father talked very little about the war. I knew he had been in Belgium, but that is about all. Amongst the photos, I found this - an invitation to the formal handover of the City of Brussels from the Allied Army to the Belgians.



And two snatched shots of the parade itself. I have tweaked these a bit (as I have all of them) which I hope makes them more viewable. I feel incredibly moved to know that he was there at such an historic occasion, and I know that because he kept these things, he was all too aware of the significance as well.


And after the parade - the Ball! Sadly, not photographs of that.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty...........

I never knew my maternal grandfather, Len Lake - he died when I was six months old. I did know that he had been an engine driver, a very prestigious job in those days (the elite of the working class, I was once told by a friend) and a reserved occupation. So to find photographs of him with his engine was a real thrill. He looks so proud, every inch aware of the status and the responsibility.

Len Lake

But what I didn't know, and I am again thrilled to find out is that he was also a beekeeper. I'm not sure why it pleases me so greatly - I had heard many tales from my grandmother, his wife, of their respective families who were Norfolk country people and knew all about raising animals, killing chickens, catching coneys and poaching pheasants.....

(no subject)

And then, there was this one, almost the biggest thrill of all - my grandparents were bikers!! I think they look just great, so full of fun and pride in their machine. I would just never have thought to see my grandmother on the back of a bike, which just goes to prove for once and for all that we should never, ever imagine that we see the entire person.

(no subject)

And then there was me, circa early 1950s. I am so familiar with these photographs that I can no longer tell if I can remember the incidents or not. I certainly can't remember the person they depict, and just maybe I should be getting back in touch with her.

Carol and the elephant

Carol and the bear

This last one may bring to mind some reminiscences of the first time SOAR was at Granlibakken and Vicky Yost and I went hurtling off through the kitchen to have a look at the bear rifling through the garbage bins.

This one is, sadly, stuffed.


Marie said...

Thank heavens that bear was stuffed! Before I read that sentence, I was thinking, "what EVER were her parents thinking". The pictures are wonderful as well as the history they depict, whether family history or world history.

mountainear said...

It's hard to believe sometimes that the people we see in faded photographs or know only as wrinkly oldies ever had warm and vibrant lives - in colour. You're right - try and see the bigger picture, so to speak.