Sunday, 6 May 2012
THE POWER OF A PICTURE
They say a picture speaks a thousand words and they're right- whoever 'they' are.
I became 'virtual friends' with fellow author and genealogist Smadar Belkind-Gerson (author of Stored Treasures) when she 'posted' an article about her late relatives. What caught my eye was the photograph Smadar included with the article- it drew me in - to read it. I was fascinated and always have been by old photography, particularly those of people from the past.
So when l received an out of the blue email from my cousin - son of my late Dads sister- l quickly opened it to reveal 2 'attachments'- photographs of my Grandad Fred - whom l met and have fond memories. And Fred's bride my Nan Lily- whom l have never met, and never ever seen until now. Lily is my Dads biological Mother who sadly died when he was just 7 - actually he was 6 as l have the burial records confirming that she died 5th July 1934, Dads birthday was 13th July.
The emailed pictures are of Fred & Lily on their wedding day October 1924, very smart and very happy. Both are very, very nicely dressed so financially they were doing well, and had a good life back then. Fred looks so proud and tall. It is very sad to know that this happiness was short lived. They went on to have by Dad in 1925 followed by my Aunt 2 years later.
Smadar- said "New-old pictures are powerful" and boy was she right! I was overwhelmed and emotional seeing these treasures. 'Meeting' Lily for the first time, there are no records in the family of her, my Aunt was just 5 and Dad nigh on 7 when they lost their Mother, my research and the little information l had found Lily born in Calver, Derbys in 1896 in a very large family, which I've been able to trace back to 1841. A side of Dads family and history l know nothing about. Cousins I've never heard of nor met and l'm guessing there are alot of these still alive today.
I can't stop staring at these photos, studying them, particularly the wedding one. Lily cradles a bouquet of chrysanthemums, so am guessing that they provided a splash of vibrant colour and perfume to her beautiful 1920's wedding dress. Her long gloves, head dress and even the shoes are absolutely beautifully detailed.
Likewise Fred holds what looks like leather gloves and a bowler hat, his large hands crossed, posed for the picture - l remember those hands- large and strong like he was. I have those large knuckles. He looks so, so happy.
Its quite ironic that these photos should appear now - this week the week in which my youngest daughter found out that her unborn baby is a BOY and will be named Freddie after this happy proud man. It is a joy and confirmation that Freddie was meant to be. My daughter right from the early stages of pregnancy could not find suitable names other than Freddie- a family name. Lily was a possibility for the middle name of a girl. Fred will be some one for the new Freddie to aspire to when he's 27 like his Great, Great Grandad is in the picture.
It feels like l have come full circle now, l have photos of both sets of Grand parents, any information beyond them is a bonus - and l do have a mass of information about their Grandparents, and their Grandparents back to 1538 in some cases. Especially on Freds side. I 'know' who you all are now and that feels good.
Lily will never know how thrilled l am to have 'met' her. I have loved her name and her choice of wedding flowers are among my favourites and actually she has my Dads familiar smile. Her short loved life with the only Grandfather l ever met has inspired me to find her family- once again- the side of my Dads family we never knew, but had heard snippets of.
Lily- l feel your pictures will open up new chapters in my life and l hope if you're up there with Fred and Dad looking down on my life you would be proud and happy for me - your Grand-daughter, my 4 adult children and your 3.5 Great Great Grandchildren. They like me would have loved you.
The emotions and feelings stirred up through my encounter, my epic meeting with the Grand-mother l have yearned to 'meet' for so many years are themselves indescribable.
A picture not only speaks a thousands words it creates the power of a thousand emotions.