Sunday, 27 July 2014

My life as a tapestry - 1 (once upon a time in 1947)

I was inspired by the Bayeux tapestry to start a tapestry of my own life. (Not literally a tapestry as I can't embroider, but a drawing of a tapestry).

Where to begin?

The recent death of my Uncle John sent me back to 1947 - the year he returned from several years abroad in the service of World War II, only to find that the family home in Romford that he had left was now occupied by strangers. His father had sold up and gone back to Ireland without telling anyone. A not uncommon story amongst returning servicepeople after that war I'm told.

1947 was also the year I was born - in a family home that my parents already shared with my aunt and uncle. I and my cousin Andrew were born about 2 months apart - I thought of our sister-mums as rather like the 
Cholmondeley Ladies of the 17th century.

My aunt Eileen coming back from being a nurse in Syria is in the picture too. As is my Dad, proudly starting his new life in civvy street. And a man clearing rubble, and a scientist observing something vaguely atomic.

The Latin narrative is completely cod, of course. It says 'a new lifeworld starts here'.

The sub-text running round the borders is about patriotism, militarism, industrialisation, and the rather more scarce self-harming luxuries of everyday life after the greatest man-made disaster the World had ever seen.

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