The familiar

Me and my Dad in 1970 - from Tanya’s collection

Me and my Dad in 1970 - from Tanya’s collection

Writing Prompt No. 26

I’m looking at this photograph trying to connect with it.

It’s a strange thing looking at family photographs before you have any real memory.

I see a girl, young, a toddler. This is me, I’m told, taking my first step. There’s my Dad, Young. Oh, so young! Pointing. The way? To the camera? My Mum must be taking the picture with a small Kodak Instamatic camera she was given, I think, by my grandparents to document their granddaughter as they lived away, abroad.

Is my Dad wearing sunglasses inside? Aviators. Cool. A shirt and tie and long hair. Back from work, maybe. I look pretty pleased. First steps.

This photograph is part of my life and my memory but I don’t remember taking my first steps, or my Dad encouraging me or my Mum taking the picture. I remember the photograph itself and the story around the photograph. I love it though. It’s square, black and white, nostalgic, amateur, full of love. I love the dynamic way my Dad is pointing and the way my Mum has captured that in the way she framed the picture. He’s kneeling down to my height. I’m looking at something else. Not my Dad. Not the camera (and therefore my Mum). I’m about a year old. One whole year of life. The framed things in the background are wonky. I really want to straighten them. I am very separate from this image. Time has stretched and moved and separated me from this moment. The photograph is not of my memory yet it is of my life.

Please do share your own stories in the comments below.