02 April 2008

Connections and Memories

Here's a photograph that was emailed to me last week by someone whom I've never met.

The picture (click to enlarge) was taken right here, on 16 August 1929 and - you will be able to tell - it is a wedding day.

Those of my readers with good facial recognition skills will have seen the resemblance already and guessed the truth: this is a family picture. The bride's father - seated on the left with the shiny shoes - is my grandfather's uncle.

In 1929 my grandfather would have been 32 (I think). I wonder if he was at the wedding; perhaps he was even present in that suburban back garden, that hot afternoon, when the picture was taken, standing safely behind the camera, a wide and shallow glass of champagne in hand, idly peering across at the houses opposite.

I like to think he was.

Perhaps the photographer called "Family of the bride" and maybe in an attic somewhere in London there's a picture of him that we have never seen. If so, I don't think I'll ever find it: this photograph came to me from the groom's side

I wonder if my great, great uncle Albert liked this photo when he saw it. I fancy he did, for he's undoubtedly the centre of attention, never knowing success so huge. But daughter Lillian, I feel sure, did not: when the proof was returned from the photographers she must have marvelled how it could be - on her own wedding day - that she had contrived to remain in the background.

Those two little boys might be still alive; I wonder whether they would recognise this picture, I wonder whether they would remember the day.

I wonder whether they would remember my Grandfather.

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