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?