|me & my Dad|
photo taken by an unknown photographer
This is a photo of me and my Dad, taken on an outing to the circus in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I remember my trousers were dark green tartan. My coat was grey and my shoes almost certainly red. My Dad is holding my handbag so that I can hold the parrot and the monkey. He is wearing his overcoat. He got it in the late 1940s and my mother made him throw it away in the Seventies. He got another one though, which I think is the one that's in his wardrobe now. I wouldn't be surprised.
There are several clues to the date of the photo : the "Players Please" neon sign advertising cigarettes above the shop window; the headscarf, seamed stockings and ankle boots of the woman on the left; the duffle coat of the man hurrying into the picture from the right; and not least, the fact that we are posing with a parrot and a monkey. I remember the parrot had large claws and the monkey had small claws, and they both gripped a bit.
This is at once a highly personal but also historical picture - a snapshot which could only have been taken in a particular era. Last week the man from Google warned us that we might lose today's equivalent of these photos unless we print them out and keep them, as newer technologies supersede the old and files become unretrievable.
So let's do that. Have our favourite photos printed out - professionally, as home printing won't last as well, no matter what they say. Frame them and hang them on the wall. Write the date, the names of the people and where the picture was taken on the back of the photo, because it's all too easy to forget (my Dad was convinced this photo was taken at Pinner Fair, I guess he hadn't noticed the word 'circus' reflected in the glass behind us). That way, future generations will know what they are looking at. And in the meantime, we will have a precious memory to treasure every day.
In loving memory of Peter Vasquez
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon him
May he rest in peace