It is common knowledge that I am fascinated by photos and old photos especially. I adore looking through our family albums and can happily spend hours listening to my parents telling stories about the family members who are peering up at us through the faded dog-eared pictures that I keep safely in an old leather suitcase.
Over the years I thought I had seen most of our family pictures, that was until yesterday when I was shown a picture of my beloved Granny Kate. My Granny Kate, Kathleen or K, as she was fondly known sadly passed away when I was thirteen years old. It was the first time I had ever experienced loss and pain; there was a hole in my heart that I never thought would be filled again.
From the moment I was born, I was my granny's sidekick. There was not a day that would go past when we wouldn’t speak or see each other. She was the most amazing baker and I was her chief spoon licked and pastry cutter. My Granny always had me dressed to perfection with a matching cardigan or jumper that she would lovingly knit. She had an amazing laugh and great sense of humour, in fact, I can still hear her chuckling to herself when I told her best friend Mary Cooper that I was going to be an actress when I grew up. I lived for the weekends; pulling up outside her house on Friday night I can still see her so clearly in my mind. Standing in the front-doorway with her apron folded over her skirt and flour all over her blouse, she waited proudly as I skipped down the driveway before embracing me with a great big hug, she always said it instantly made her feel better! After a quick bite to eat and a few buns, I would perform a quick play before settling down together on our matching armchairs to watch the Kelly show. I idolised my other grandparents too, but I always felt like I had to take care of my Granny Kate as she was a widow and had been for many many years. Tragically my Granda Barney died when my granny was in her early thirties, they were "loves young dream" and never left each-others side. My mum said my Granny was never the same after her dad died, that was until my brother Conor was born and a little glint of light reappeared in her eyes.
This December I will celebrate my third wedding anniversary and it's only now I guess that I can truly understand just how hard it must have been for her losing her best friend and dealing with the reality of having to bring up three young children during some of the darkest days of the troubles. I honestly do not know what I would do if I did not have Seamus in my life.
I often wonder what she would think of me now that I have grown up and become a young woman myself! Looking at this photo it has stirred up so many emotions and apart from us both loving tea and china cups, I never really thought my Granny and I where alike, that was until I saw this picture below:
I love family weddings as it is the one time when the whole family gets together and reconnects. This was my grannies youngest brother Sam's wedding to his beautiful bride Jean who turned eighty early this year! The most striking thing about this photo is that our style is so similar! I would LOVE to wear this outfit, it is right up my street! As you know I am obsessed with bows and the one at the front of the jacket is adorable and the headpiece is just fabulous! (I wish she had kept it!)
However, what really made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck was that she is carrying a little camera! Apparently my Granny Kate loved taking pictures too (something that I have just discovered). This would have been the early 1950's, not everyone would have had their own camera and the fact that she was a woman makes it even more strange.
Looking at this photo of my granny it reminds me so much of myself! I am the one at our family functions who is always running around taking pictures and I have to say it makes me smile to think that my Granny Kate was doing the very same 70 years before me.
Sometimes we think that we have developed our own interests but maybe we are just picking up where our loved ones dropped off and in my case, I can now say I am following in my Granny Kates footsteps and they are big shoes to fill!