Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Digging in the archives



I was digging around in an old photo album - it being far too cold to do anything constructive either indoors or out - and I came across a lot of old photos of myself and my sister.

They are all taken between the end of 1939 and the end of 1945, when I was rising five and rising eleven. My sister is 3 years younger.

Firstly I am very proud of my father, who took all these photos. He was an excellent photographer, and a great perfectionist. This had the big disadvantage, however, in that I was so tired of waiting while he got it right I mostly lost my smile! Though maybe I didn't smile much - I remember I was a solemn little girl, who loved reading and playing with my various dolls (a battered rabbit, a much-loved bear and a rag doll called Rosie)

Secondly, I am amazed at the difference between us and today's children. My best clothes (top right) look so formal, and uncomfortable. We never wore trousers, so cold legs had to be clad in leggings, with lots of tiny button up the sides. Murder to get on! Mostly we wore dresses, which a friend of my mother's made for us. I am sitting on my Grandfather's knee in a beautiful blue velvet dress, which I loved to bits!

The woman with my sister and me by the pond is not my mother, but a very much loved aunt. She had married my Uncle only two years before the war, and when he was called up (disappearing for 5 years into the African desert and later fighting up Italy) my Aunt worked in the Admiralty in London. She came over to us for a bit of a rest and recuperation from the bombs, and her busy life. I loved her dearly.

I was terribly envious of my sister who had lovely long, blonde curly hair. Mine was straight mouse, although it darkened later to a good brown. My sister stayed blonde and curly until she turned grey and curly (only a great deal shorter by now!)

It was amazing what emotions were stirred by looking at these photos. I can't put myself back into the mind of an 8 year-old child now, of course, but I can still sense some of the feelings from then. Or maybe they are the more mature thoughts of a 74 year-old interpreting those of a small child. Either way, I was quite surprised at how deep those feelings ran!

But its good to reconnect with those years. So far away that they are almost a different culture. I wonder if our own children will feel the same when they think about the times, 60 or more years ago, when they were tiny?

13 comments:

Sue said...

Mum you look so pretty... love your curious bright face :-) Auntie Connie looks such a glamour puss doesn't she? I wish she was still here. Wish they all were.

KathyA said...

Lovely photos; so rich with memories! What beautiful children in such precarious times.

Cloudhands said...

What nice souveniers of your life. I haven't looked at my childhood in ages. To remember a special dress and see your grandfather again is so sweet.

Hollace said...

You have a happy smile in several of these photos, and I think the reflective one of you is charming (upper right).
There are a lot of childhood pictures of me scowling at the photographer to "hurry up and get it over with". Thank heavens for digital cameras and auto focus!

kenju said...

They are lovely photos. How well I remember never wearing slacks, and having to tug on leggings that matched my coat and hat. By the time I got them off and hung up, it was time to put them on and leave!

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Lovely Gilly and wonderful memories too. I love to look through our old family photos, some taken before my memory but good to look at for all that and all well before the digital age.

dennisthemennis.co.uk said...

lovely memories and photos.

cheshire wife said...

Nice to see old photos.I remember wearing a hat and a coat in the fifties but I never wore leggings.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Lovely pictures! It's so much fun to look back through old photos and remember our younger days.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Those are beautiful pictures! You can tell that's you! You still look the same! My mother and my aunt were the same way--my aunt had curly blonde hair, real prissy, and mom had poker straight hair, darker. Plus she never smiled in the pictures either! So cute.

Marja said...

What a gorgeous pictures. I've got
boxes and albums full of pictures but not many of my childhood as they are all stuck in one album and they are at my mums place.
I still need to buy a scanner to put them on the computer. I love looking at them too and than time travelling I find that I am only connected to some photo's I've forgotten a lot

Twain12 said...

great pictures :)
Yes we do have hills but this is frozen over marshland I'm walking on

Tea With Tiffany said...

Love all your pictures. I'm a big picture taker too.