A market town, somewhere in Yorkshire England, photo taken between 1980 and 2000.
Investigating the contents of some of the thumb drives I keep around the house, yesterday, I found a cache of photos I took in York England many years ago. I cared about visiting York because all my life, I have been a fan of Richard III and James Herriot, the country vet who wrote the All Creatures Great and Small series based on his life in Yorkshire. Richard III was Richard of York, of course.
Originally slides I scanned a couple of years ago, these old pictures are not dated or identified, so I must guess at the sites, although I know we took them in Yorkshire England because I labeled the file. It probably won’t matter to anyone but me that I can barely remember some of these places. (David thought the photo above was taken in Germany.) Besides, unless you write like Thomas Wolfe or Marcel Proust, who cares where someone has been in their younger days?
I recall we were impressed by the country side, when we drove into this market town on one of our earlier road trips through the U.K. We were on our way to Durham, where we would spend the night. We had visited the ancient City of York for three days; Castle Howard the home of Catherine, one of Henry VIII’s unfortunate wives, where Brideshead Revisited was filmed; as well as the ruins of Rievaulx Abby. We had driven on the wrong side of narrow roads through miles of green space so unlike the South and London. We were tired and hungry.
Years ago, David and I knew a couple who had traveled the world. In their den/rumpus room/whatever, the walls were lined with shelves of boxes of slides they made in every corner of the globe. And I mean hundreds of boxes.
The woman eventually died of Leukemia and he is tucked away in a nursing home or maybe dead by now. I seriously doubt their daughter Scottie hauled all those slides back to Boston, or if she did they are mouldering somewhere.
Another time, David and I went to an estate sale and found a bed covered with old photos. It struck me as sad that except for the odd photo of an ancestor, many people don’t care about old photos of family or otherwise.
Aunt Marge once showed me a stash of family photos that disappeared when she entered a nursing home and later died. I looked at these photos once, but have little idea what happened to them. I would have liked a couple of the photos of grandparents, but Marge did not want to part with them. I know Aunt Rosemary, cleared Marge’s apartment but she died this past year. Her daughter, my cousin Anne told me she found her mother tossing out boxes of “stuff” when she packed up to leave Madison WI for North Dakota. Ann like me has done her best to preserve the family history, so she was dismayed.
There are a couple of us in each generation.
Today, we can store things electronically, but it is a huge task to scan old photos and slides and then one wonders who will ever look at these things again?
One or two of my children and grandchildren has an interest in our family history, and I encourage it. “Some day you will look at a long lost face and wonder, who is she, what was her life like.” I say she because I am such a person, and it is the she of the world who is soonest forgotten. As for travel photos, who cares where anyone has been 20, 30 or 100 years ago?
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