There have been a lot of matri-centric activities today; ringing mum this morning to wish her happy mothers’ day, watching Rhonda opening her gift from Audrey (a book of 150 cup cake recipes, silicon cup cake moulds and assorted cake decorations; are you seeing a theme developing here?) and every other post on Facebook has been paying tribute to (UK) mums on their special day.
This inevitably leads me to thoughts of my mother, Ann, who died from a sudden and unexplained brain tumor when I was just nine years old.
It’s amazing how vivid and emotive the past remains; the microscopic electrical pulses and complex interconnected cells which make up our phenomenally powerful storage banks are capable of accessing and replaying sights, sounds and smells from over forty years ago, turning our heads into private Imax theatres, in which we can revisit treasured memories as if they happened only yesterday.
I have many such memories of mum, a woman who I’m sure passed on both her love of life and her relaxed outlook to myself and my sister, she had a mischievous sense of fun and a ready laugh which I can still hear if I close my eyes and think of her.
But the real revelation, the proof that my recall wasn’t of the rose coloured glasses variety, that comes when I look at photos of her from before I even existed.
Dad was a keen amateur photographer and I clearly remember him taking over the bathroom and turning it into a darkroom to develop photos when we were kids, but it wasn’t until my aunt, mum’s sister Jane, gave me a whole load of old family photos, including many that dad had taken of mum, both before and after they were married, that I got a glimpse into the life of the young woman who would eventually bring me into the world. There were also photos from mum and dad’s wedding (some of which were apparently taken by “Home Counties Newspapers”) and a few other professional family portraits that I hadn’t seen before and I thought I’d share some of them with you today.
So here are a selection from that wonderful archive, in memory of Ann and all the other mothers who didn’t see their children grow up to make them proud; starting with a series of contact prints that I’m guessing are from a home photo session, and they perfectly capture the mischievous sense of fun I remember so well. I can just imagine her, trying not to laugh in some of these seriously posed shots.
There are these large portraits, which are two of my favourites.
And a couple I think must have been taken in a local studio.
Then there are the wedding photos, which make me smile every time.
And finally, I came along to spoil the fun.
Many thanks to Jane for preserving the family archive.