Sunday, 18 January 2009
I've been meaning to borrow the old family photo albums from my Mum for a while now, to scan some of these old shots in.
I ache to see some of these old photos, desperate to refresh fading memories, of ghosts and times i barely knew, but love and miss. Every day. Still.
I always eye the huge pile of loved, and lovingly assembled leatherbound photo albums, in their quiet place, at the bottom of a bookcase in the corner of my Mum & stepdad's living room.
They pulled at me again today, when I went round for lunch.
So I finally plucked up the courage, risking upsetting both of us, and asked my Mum if I could borrow the earliest volume to scan some shots in. Some gaps, losses, absences - whatever you call them - never quite seem to heal over. They're accepted, but never quite understood. It's so difficult to explain. Or talk about.
My Mum often reminds me how, when i was little, I used to plead with her, constantly, for her to get the old photo albums out, to talk me through each one, slowly, again. She'd resist, gently, remembering how much it would upset us both, seeing the other one upset by memories of things gone and people passed. But I'd promise not to cry this time (more to myself than her), but I'd start to buckle, she'd get upset and so it would be.
We laugh about it now, of course. On the rare occasions that the subject comes up. But there will always be that split-second silence, stillness, between the laughter & the "where were we?"...
I remember some of the old shots from when I used to look at them, when I was little; maybe 4 or 5 years old and randomly since.
I have strange reactions to some of these photos. Some I remember seeing, some I seem to remember being taken. (Like this one.) Looking at them this afternoon (in short controlled bursts), I was surprised at how strongly I seemed to remember one rattle (very cool - white and blue, great handle), my cot (cool pictures on it), an old towel that I was swaddled in all those years ago as a baby, and that I later remember my mum using as I grew up, that my Dad must have used and touched... Such good quality, it lasted decades, even outliving one of us...
Anyway. My Mum tells me that my Dad took this photo.
I think photography - or rather, the love of it - is in my blood. my Mum's family has significant roots in photography.
I'm told my Dad was a keen photographer. This photo was taken with his Voigtlander Bessamatic. (Bessie is sitting beside me now, here, in her worn, warm, loved leather case; having wound her way through the branches of our strange family tree, back to me - 15 odd years since I watched her go, out 'there', falling into other hands - the 'wrong' hands, not my hands, i remember thinking - while knowing too well, that it was just one of a few fine threads that might still lead back to my Dad...
But that's OK. She's come home now.
(linking the title to Rosanne Cash singing her father's song seemed somehow fitting.)