Wednesday, 10 March 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words .... or more

I am looking at photos of Charles Vangelios (see below) and wondering if he looked like his father ... dark skin aside. I can certainly see my father in him. Flora has finer features than her father and so, if she is the spitting image, of my Greek great-grandfather then Charles Vangelios must look more like his mother. Does it matter? Well, yes it does. When you begin trawling through the past you find yourself with ghostly companions and a need to ‘flesh’ them out as fully as possible. Charlie and Mary have become, or are becoming, real people, like characters in a novel. Rather, they are beginning to have a ‘reality’ beyond the distant, blurred objectivity of ‘great-grandparents.’

I do think the dead are aware of what is happening in this world and I hope that they will help me to find out the truth of Charlie’s origins and to ‘paint a picture’ of the past which is as close to ‘truth’ as one can make it. There is a relativity to truth. We all see the world through our own eyes and we ‘select’ not only the experiences we have, as we have them in essence, but our own interpretations of them. Any ‘story’ that I make up about my great-grandparents, or grandparents or parents for that matter, has as much chance as being true as any other story ... real or imagined. For what is real? Real is our imagination? Real is the name we give to our interpretation of an experience and our ‘real’ may be no more than imagination to someone else. Siblings in a family very often have quite different views of their parents. Not always. My siblings and I are generally on the same ‘map’ but I am not sure this is the norm.

Our memories are not only selective but unreliable as studies of crime witnesses have shown. When you think about it, the fact that everything we see is upside down and the image must then be turned the right way up by our brain, and given meaning through synaptic connections which have been created by previous experiences, it’s rather surprising that any of us can agree on anything.

What is amazing is not how much we remember but how much we forget or have never known consciously because of our limited ability to process. Every image, sound, feeling and experience is of course recorded in our brain. I happen to think it is also recorded in the etheric or Akashic field and the more open we are to the ‘energy’ field in which we are formed and in which we live, then the more we may know.

By looking at the photos of my Aunt Flora and my grandfather, Charles Vangelios, I can form an image of what Charlie Ross looked like. I would like to do the same for Mary but have not yet been told by anyone who might know, what she looked like. Other than the fact that she was small and wiry. And there doesn’t seem to be a lot of small and wiry in our descendants. At least not the ones I know.

I am struck by how the image of my grandfather, who died when I was six, was completely obliterated from conscious memory. My grandmother, Hilda Rose Ross died when I was nine and despite having lived with her for three years, and being able to conjure up images of her room, our house and things we did together... I could not actually recall her face. It has been returned to me in some of the photographs which Spike sent. I can see traces of myself in her face although I know I look a lot like my mother.

Family research is about making connections and perhaps it is not so much that one looks for connections as one ages, but that in a world which has less familial and social connections than in the past, one has an instinctive desire, if not need ‘to connect.’

The doors open slowly into the distant past.

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