Sunday, 26 June 2016

Recall

Over the past few days I have had a mad cleaning period - window frames washed, curtains washed, book cases cleaned out and walls cobwebbed.   During this time I emptied my kitchen book shelves which contain all reference books I use for my crosswords etc., all books on Natural History, and a lot of cookery books.  In addition my current book is usually kept there and when I emptied the shelves and moved them so that I could clean behind them I found a paper back that I had obviously read some time ago.   It was the winner of the 2011 Booker Prize 'The Sense of an Ending' by Julian Barnes.   I have read it again - what a brilliant, thought-provoking book - do read it if you haven't done so already.

Its theme basically is memory and how it plays tricks on us - is what we remember exactly what really happened?

I also came across this photograph - apologies for the quality but it was taken in 1947, probably on an old box camera.   Do I really remember the circumstances?   Well, I think I do - at least they will be correct in part; in fact it is one of many happy memories I have of my childhood (I would be nine years old and as far as I remember we had gone to Skegness for the day on the train (only thirty miles from where we lived, so a fairly easy journey on the train, which actually stopped at our village station).   But this much is written on the back of the photograph 'Skegness 1947'.

In the photograph the ladies are - left to right - my mother (Maud), my Auntie Gert and my Auntie Ethel (always called Mary Ann for some reason).
Three sisters enjoying their day out.   Their husbands were around somewhere - one of them must have taken the photograph - my father, Jack,
and my Uncles Cecil and Walt.

They had come through the war unscathed (my brother was at Dunkirk but survived the war) and were now intent on enjoying themselves.   I love the photograph for many reasons - their sensible dresses and shoes - the fact that they all wore stockings - they all carried handbags - but above all, they all look so happy.

Of the actual day I remember nothing at all.   Where was I when the photograph was taken?  I can't remember.  A perfect example of a memory which is incomplete and which only remains because of this photograph - an instant in their lives.
 

21 comments:

Rachel said...

I love this photograph. It reminds me of some I remember in my family's photo box. If I ever get them back I will share one on my blog. Quiet, happy days after the War when my mother's coat lasted until it had holes in it, clothes were passed down through the family and a Christmas present was a hand knitted balaclava if you were lucky, a tangerine and a pink mouse.

Derek Faulkner said...

Blimey, the year that I was born. I'm always amazed looking at those kind of photos, to see how much clothing people wore on the beach. Men of that era would often be seen wearing a suit and tie, sitting in a deck chair, clearly they had a better heat tolerance in those days.
As for Rachel's comment about clothes lasting, when I went to the Secondary School in 1958 we had the same school uniform jacket as the girls. I was given the older girl next door's and my mother simply changed the buttons over. My mother also unpicked jumpers and knitted me gloves and balaclavas.

Countryside Tales said...

Love the old photo.

Terra Hangen said...

Your mother and aunts look very happy relaxing at the sea shore. I often write people's names on the back because that makes it a treasure for future generations. Some old family photos I inherited don't have the peoples' names on the back, rather frustrating. I know what you mean about memory. What is correct? Each person may remember differently.

Joanne Noragon said...

My grandmother's name was Ethel. The family had a tradition of naming first daughters after grandmothers. I broke the chain--I could not name a daughter Ethel.

angryparsnip said...

What a lovely photo and the happy time that came with it.

cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Unknown said...

Derek Faulkner...............I still unpick jumpers but I AM 86 Y.O. AND OLD HABITS DIE HARD.

Mac n' Janet said...

I've read the book and thought it was brilliant too. Memory is such a tricky thing. I often think I should write more on the back of photos lest we forget.

Cro Magnon said...

Handbags at the ready. I was one in 1947

Librarian said...

And those handbags did not contain smartphones, credit cards, car keys and all the other stuff people carry around with them nowadays!
A happy moment, frozen in time. My late husband's family, living in the Barnsley area, often went to Skegness in the summer, too. I have seen pictures of my husband and his siblings looking happy if a little cold, playing on the beach.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone - your comments made me smile. As to the handbags - my mother always controlled the purse strings so I expect it contained money!
We never wore hand knitted or had sewn garments; my mother was too conscious of her sisters in law being tailoresses - so she always bought the best for me.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Of course the first names you listed were part of another world - no Chardonnays or Kylies back then. A lovely post-war photo with a brave new world ahead. And look where we have come to seventy years later.

Coppa's girl said...

Somewhere there is a photo of my mother and her sister, with my grandparents, on holiday in Deauville, sometime in the early thirties. My grandmother, looking very elegant, wore a silky dress and matching coat, a large cartwheel hat, shoes and stockings with a handbag over her arm! Grandfather looked rather casual in Panama hat, sports coat, flannels, collar and tie of course, and heavy brogues on his feet. Mother and her sister, both in their teens, were absolutely daring in beach pyjamas - all the rage that year ! Grandfather is seen to have a disapproving look on his face ! Apparently they drove there, via the ferry, (the car was swung onto the boat by a crane) in an open-topped car.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

There's a picture of my grandmother in Scotland very similar to that.

Your reference to the camera made me think of a market stall that turns up here that is a table overflowing with 35mm film cameras, with box cameras amongst them, some going back older than those! Sells film as well. All the art students drool over it, wishing they could buy the whole stall if they could.

Frances said...

Weaver, I have read the Barnes novel and found it thought provoking.

When I was a child in the late forties and early fifties, i loved looking at family photograph albums. I must remember to ask my Mom if the albums are still around. Thank you for reminding me. xo

The Weaver of Grass said...

Such lovely comments. Thanks for them all.

Dartford Warbler said...

I love this photo. What happy smiles they had. It must have been such a special treat for hard working country women to have a day off at the seaside.
I have some photos taken in those years of my Lincolnshire grandparents, usually in deck chairs on the sands at Skegness, Cleethorpes or Mablethorpe. Again, they always had huge smiles on their faces!

Barbara Womack said...

I LOVE the photo and the happy faces. How wonderful it must have been to have a day at the seaside after all the upheaval and tragedies they had recently endured!

Gwil W said...

I can remember when Morecambe sold all their deck chairs. They said they didn't need them anymore. End of an era it felt like.

Gwil W said...

In fact my grandad had a part time job on one of the piers. A kind of deck chair overseer. His other part time job was in a betting shop. He was 75 when he doing all this. The pier was blown away in a storm one night. This was before climate change.

Elizabeth said...

And weren't deckchairs horribly uncomfortable!!!!
Yes, looks as if everyone is having a splendid day out.
When I saw your title "Recall" I thought it was going to be something about the horrid horrid POLITICS.....
I'm not sure the name Ethel will come back into fashion!
you never know....