So a few weeks back, my brother sent me a DVD, The Shermans: The Early Years, which he also posted to YouTube. It’s 90 minutes of home movies from 1957, a year before I was born, through my siblings’ birth, and then some footage of a big family get-together when we visited England in the 1970s. I’m very grateful to my bro (he made a previous version on VHS) because it’s really cool to watch.
There’s the sight of my parents when they were young (it’s been years since my father’s been beardless) and lots of our relatives: my cousin Peter, my various great-aunts (Marion, May, Jo, Agnes — though they were all “Auntie” to me), family friends, my father’s family and of course me and my siblings. A little depressing to see myself in my teenage years, though: I’d come to think it was my imagination but my glasses really did make me look like a total dork.
It’s also fascinating to see so many places I remember, such as our old house in Stanmore and my grandparents’ home in Ilford. Despite how many years it’s been, seeing those places still evokes a lot of emotion and memory. There’s a cute little dog — Bonny, according to some of my relatives — that I don’t remember at all (I think she’d have died before I was even two).
It’s also really amazing as a window onto a past time. The big cars. The smoking. Me as a five or six year old decked out in school shorts, button-up shirt and a tie. The carpets, the wall coverings. It makes me want to write a new story just so I can make use of all that I see, but I already have enough to work on.
For an illustration, here’s a couple of photos Peter sent me, showing some of our family back in the 1950s. That’s cousin Jo, cousin Mary and Mum (l-r) in the top phot.#SFWApro.