Sunday, June 11, 2006

A new view

I've been searching for more family photos, and yesterday found this one:

My mum's parents (location and date unknown; click on the image if you want a larger view.)

They married in 1932 and had seven children, but apart from this I don't know much about them, particularly my grandfather. He died before I was born and the people he left behind didn't talk about him. I can't remember my grandmother ever mentioning him, not even once, and I never asked.

And during my grandmother's lifetime I was too selfish to ever see her except in relation to myself: she was my grandmother, my mum's mum. I didn't wonder about her life as an individual or a woman or the remaining half of a couple until it was too late to ask. I don't know how she felt about her life or about the years spent with my grandfather. From what I've heard, their lives were quite hard, and I've always wondered whether perhaps they were tied together by financial circumstances and family obligations more than love.

So it's something special to see them sitting together on a sunny hillside, a bit stiffly maybe, but considering the time and their upbringings, they were probably being daringly affectionate. That photo lets me believe that for one brief moment at least (and I hope it was longer), they really liked each other and were happy. So here's me saying thanks to the anonymous photographer and all the people responsible for bringing that photo through the years and into this house. They've changed my view of history.