Being one of the few remaining from what had been a large family, I find great comfort and curiosity in old photographs.
I don’t know who many of these people are. I don’t even know the names of some of them.
For ages, I thought I had a distant cousin called Riehard. Like Die Hard.
It took some repetition before I realised it was just Richard in my Gran’s fancy penmanship.
But the greatest joy comes from looking at these people I don’t know, and seeing a smile like my mother’s or a nose like mine. Unfortunately, black and white, occasionally sepia, means I can’t tell who had amber-brown eyes before me.
These people meant the world to someone, and it might have been me if I’d met them, but I don’t know a thing about them.
I try to imagine what their lives were like. Pre-freezers and washing machines. When the men put the food on the table and the women had to do bloody everything else. It’s a bit of a blank.
It’s not that I don’t know I’m born, that I can’t imagine that kind of hardship. It’s that I need to hear it from someone who was there.
I know my mother’s stories. At least, the ones I was deemed old enough to hear. However, I think I’ll have to do some proper research on the rest of the family. In the meantime, I have other stories to hear.
And tell, obviously.