Monday, 10 May 2010

When the past becomes the present

Photo: Ken Ross
'Auntie Teeny's house .'


The interesting thing about looking at the photograph of Auntie Teeny's old house in Cooper Street, Hamley Bridge which Ken sent to me is that it looks 'bigger.'

I thought that things were meant to look 'smaller' when viewed as an adult. Perhaps it is because the sleep-out has gone and so it all looks much more open. The fence is new and there is no longer a small gate in the centre and a path leading to the front door.

My memories of the house are that it was dark and small but we had such fun there. Perhaps the 'dark and small' was more about some of the energy at work than anything material. It is also a reminder of how selective memory can be. Or is it the fact that we have an image in our minds which no longer exists and which has not existed for a long time?

That is the problem which immigrants face when they return 'home' for a visit. Often they have had pictures in their mind for decades and yet the places they knew no longer exist as they once did and may not exist at all. Nothing remains the same and the past, while retaining vestiges, always becomes the present. And therein lies the 'gift.'

It is, at the same time, immensely satisfying to see the old house looking so good.

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