Thursday, February 28, 2008

roots


I love old pictures. I love the mystery they hold of another time and another place. Even old pictures of strangers are intriguing but even more so when they are of my family. I could get lost in the untold stories behind these moments frozen in time in stacks of yellowing photographs.


This one is my dad at about 4 years old I think. I was always enchanted by his stories. He was evacuated to Wales during World War II. When they returned home to London, their house and the pub were the only things on their block not hit by the bombers. What was, I'm sure, a nightmare for his parents, seemed like a delightful adventure in his memories of the beauty of Wales, seeing fighter planes in the London sky, romping around damaged buildings and collecting shrapnel with his brother. His family didn't have much. All five kids slept in one bed for a time with boys on one end, girls on the other, feet in the middle. But the stories of his childhood were nothing less than magical.

This one is of my Aunt Vigee. I think this photo is darling right down to her delicate dress and her coy expression. Her name is Kathleen after my grandmother. Her family noticed she looked like a child in one of Vigee Lebrun's paintings, and she has been affectionately called Vigee ever since. Vigee LeBrun was a French painter from the eighteenth century. I'm not sure which portrait was the one that gave my Aunt her nickname, maybe one of these.




This last one is of my grandmother, Kathleen. I never met her. Both of my dad's parents died before he married my mom. I think there is a peacefulness and strength in her face. I don't know much about her. I don't have anything that was once hers. I don't know how she met my grandfather or if they were in love. What I do know is that both she and my grandfather exhibited their artwork in London. She played the piano, her favorite wildflowers were Indian blankets and she loved to laugh. Sometimes I wonder what she would think of me. Do I have her eyes or her hands? I don't know, but I do know I have much more from her than this little box of curious photos. She is part of the roots of my family tree.

6 comments:

heather said...

Funny you should post this today, I've been thinking a lot about our roots lately. Even had out one of my old flower fairies books and read the one about horsechestnuts (or conkers) and had to smile at the thought of some of Daddy's stories. Looking at these photos makes me feel so wistful . . .
Beautiful post as usual,Linda. Love you.

chesnye said...

What a beautiful post!! I love family history and heritage. We named all of our children after grandparents and I love that. Old pictures are just magical. I could just get lost looking at them.
Thanks for sharing!
Love,
Chesnye

the rileys said...

Very beautiful Linda...One of the reasons why I admire you is your deep love of family and of the past. I've been meaning to write to your Aunts now I must! Thank you for always sharing such lovely thoughts.

Mom said...

Please do try to print this out and send it off to Aunt Vigee. I think it will really please her. I wish we had asked many more questions and listened to many more of daddy's and the aunts' remembrances. Love, Mom

Paige said...

lovely post, linda.

em said...

what a beautiful post, linda! i feel the same way about old family photos. so many stories which led to our own...