‘The Significance of the Original …’

28/11/2019 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘The Significance of The Original …’ by Ms Paige Turner
Here follows an excerpt from my Slice of Memoir Story ‘The Great and the Good’ which I wrote in 1997 and was published in my collection ‘Serving Bluebird Pie’.
‘The day after my father’s mother died, I took the train up to Victoria with him. He was heading for the sleeper to Stranraer and for her Belfast funeral. He silently took a secret from his coat pocket. He smoothed his thumb over the creased faces on a faded brown and cream photograph, as if in a caress. It was a photograph of his father and himself, aged about nine. I was nineteen. I had never seen a photograph of my grandfather or my own father as a child.
“Do you still remember him?” I asked naively. I was then the same age that he had been when he lost his father.
“He is as clear and close to me as my mother is now,” he replied. Then back into the cupboard of his pocket the smoothed out photo went. He looked out of the train window and stared up at the sky.’
That one inch by one inch sepia photo was about fifty years old at the time in 1975 and it was the only photo my father possessed of his father. After my father himself died some eighteen months later, I found the tiny photo in a red cardboard Old Spice box and when I published my collection it was reproduced hundreds of times. I also had it enlarged and on display in two frames.
But recently I discovered the original in my photo album torn, defaced and according to Greg at GS Photos in Gerrards Cross, beyond repair. I told Greg that I blame myself for the loss of this much loved and now 95 year old snippet of a photo: carelessness. Greg, an Orange Free State South African (these natives are close to my heart) told me not to think about it. He might be able to work with the enlarged photo so that will last. His comforting words: ‘these things happen’. And so they do.
But the original has gone and alas, like some things in life, cannot be repaired even though I have tried to piece it together and make some overall sense of the picture. I shall place the pieces in my father’s Old Spice box, where I should have kept it all along and I will wrap it in a copy of this blog. In this World of Digital and Photo Plenty, maybe The Original has lost its place. Or at the least, can be edited and distorted. Maybe princes think that … or maybe they don’t.
Coming up: Blogging Your Personal Experiences at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 7th December/Day Workshop
Speaking with Confidence at Evreham Adult Learning on Saturday 25th April 2020
01296 382403
Creative Ink Workshops – The final Evening Workshop at Amersham with Catherine’s ravishing refreshments is on Wednesday 4th December at 8.00 pm. Two hours with me, hand out sheets, wine and nibbles and ‘The Key to Christmas’ for £18. Email me for further details. You can also arrange your own day or evening workshop with me or my 50 minute one woman readings from my collection ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’.

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