Saturday, June 01, 2019

A Casual Cigarette And The Weight Of History

There is something of the 1930s about this week's Sepia Saturday theme image, which shows W H Auden and Christopher Isherwood in 1938. There is something about the clothing, the styles, the casual cigarettes, the impending weight of history, which I think is reflected in my own contribution to our weekly photographic meme.

My photograph shows Wilfred and Amy Sykes, my uncle and aunt, and was probably taken in the mid 1930s. Amy - my mother's sister - had been born in 1904, and she went on to live a long life which more than matched the century itself. Although her husband, Wilf, died in the early 1960s, she was to marry and survive two further husbands, before eventually dying in 2001 in a nursing home in Scarborough. She led the kind of life that Arnold Bennett would have written well about, full of the domestic challenges and privations that must have been familiar to that generation. Although I knew Auntie Amy well in later life, I can't help feeling that she was one of those people who was particularly suited to the 1930s: and it would have been interesting to drop in on her during that decade, and share her hopes and dreams and, of course, fears. In the absence of time travel, looking at this old photograph provides me with the best  opportunity of doing that.

You can see how other people are interpreting this week's Sepia Saturday theme by going to the Sepia Saturday Website and following the links.

7 comments:

  1. In this photo your aunt appears so full of life and good humor in contrast to your uncle's more serious look. She seems exactly the type of forward-looking person who would marry again after loss and go on to lead the long life you describe. Also, I saw from another post that Sepia Saturday in 10 years old this year. Might be nice to do a special logo as a way to celebrate so we could all put it on our blogs!

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  2. It's so strange these days to see the comfort with which people held those cigarettes, never knowing what would happen these many years later when smoking has become so culturally taboo.

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  3. It's an interesting thought that we are each a time traveler, and that some of us were perhaps best suited to a particular decade. I'm believe I'm partial to the 1900-1910 era and when they finish developing that reversible time machine I'm going back ASAP.

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  4. Your aunt has a lovely smile in this photograph. She looks the optimist.

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  5. Looking at old photographs from before one's own time sometimes does feel a bit like time-travelling... Trying to imagine the history behind the photo.

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  6. Hello, Alan! I believe that the "time-travel" notion is some of the great appeal of Sepia Saturday itself. We all enjoy escaping back to the time that came before us, especially with the world we're coping with in the present.
    Your uncle has a bit of an Alec Guinness look to me.

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  7. A perfect match for the prompt pic, and an interesting nutshell account of your aunt and the way she continued on after her first husband's passing. My mother-in-law did the same - living life to the fullest through 3 wonderful, loving husbands!

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