Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Hugh

Back last year, I started to tell the story of my grandparents, sarting with Hugh and I need to finish off my recollections of them.

Hugh died thirty-five years before I was born. I glimpse the boy and man through the photographs. Earnest and good looking leaving Merionethsire to make his way in the south. The proud newly-wed. Hands on hips grinning broadly from over his work bench. The father with young children. That photograph is taken about three years before he died. Was he already aware of his own mortality?

Most of his story is pieced together from family memories. Eluned, his third child, was my mother. She adored her strong, clever father and treasured memories of days with him. But, of course, her memories stopped when she was twelve. Did he have a temper? The family have what we call the “Evans temper”. Was he a perfectionist? That seems to be in the family too.

There are no more photographs of him. They are all in last year's blogs. But this was the little stool that he made for my mother. Touching the wood that he carved is the nearest I get to him.

I look at his photographs and see a keen resemblance with my son. So my Hugh is a shadow, a chimera that I did not know. I would love to have an hour in his company to know what he was really like. But the Hugh that I have to settle for is from other people’s memories. And maybe that’s all we really are, once we’re gone.


  1. Really interesting Madz. The past is SO alive in us today, and I LOVE looking at old family snaps and hearing about the people. If they hadn't lived, we literally wouldn't exist - and, even though we nver met some of them, they have directly influenced who we are.

    Apparently, I am almost identical to one of my great-great aunts. I've never seen a picture of her, but my remaining great aunts (now in their 90s) who remember her from their childhoods are often absolutely stunned by the likeness. Apparently, I look more like her then either of my parents (not necessarily a bad thing, hehehe).

    That's SUCH a pretty stool too, really well made. You can almost SEE the love with which it was put together. x
    Ruth x

  2. One wonders what memories of each of us will be passed on to future generations, how true they will be. There will at least be many more photographs to help build the picture, should anyone be interested.

  3. Thank you both for the comments.
    Jasper & Ruth: yes, it's spooky sometimes how much we resemble our forebears. My son was born about 18 months after my father died and he has some of my father's script. And they are things that I would never say!
    Jean: you've made me feel guilty now. I have spent a lifetime taking photographs and avoiding being the subject! Oh dear.


Go on, have a little mumble here. You know you want to.