When my mother died I got a bazillion photographs, some I'd never seen. A couple of years before my mother died -- and she wasn't even sick, I kept suggesting that we look at the old photos and write down who's in them, etc. We never did because it was always too much trouble for my mum to think about. Now I have a few I'm in the dark about, a few I'm unsure about, and more than I ever expected of my (unknown to me) half-brother John and his mother, my father's first wife (he married two Joans, which seems strange all by itself). One thing that has been good about not seeing photos for a long time is that I sometimes have a different feeling about them. I always though I was a bad, inept, cursed person, and that everything in the world was my fault. And ugly, too.
(My friend Lesli and I used to argue, jokingly: "I'm responsible for everything in the world," -- "No you can't be, because I'm the one who's responsible," etc.
So now when I see these old photos of me as a stressed-out tyke I think, "Ah!" I've always thought extreme stress had SOMETHING to do with my being vulnerable to illness, and I've never been able to trace it back to a stress-free time. There wasn't one, actually. My parents came out of the war and of course, rationing kept right on going for years, and the aircraft industry fell apart, and it wasn't their fault at all -- and the style of things then was to treat your children as if they were dogs or other pets, and yank them from country to country without an explanation or any preparation at all. As well as a lot of other stuff I'm not going to go into. So now, I can look at an old photo of myself and think, "Hmmm. Doesn't really look bad, inept, or cursed at all. Doesn't, in all truth, look like she's responsible for the entire world, either."
posted by - 10:18 AM