Ancient Family Photographs
I never knew my family, not really, being brought up in a children’s home from a very early age despite the fact that there were tons of relatives around, apparently. But not anymore; my father’s family all dead, all died young, in fact four of her children and one of her grandchildren dying before my grandmother herself. Her husband passed away young too, and the last to go, my father, also young, shortly after. My mother, driven off and never to be seen again until my adulthood, I didn’t get to know her relatives at all. Tough luck, for when you were a child like me, a person like me still, with an innate sense, and a love of history, these things are important. Necessary.
I was lucky enough however to remember from when I was a little boy where a big box of photographs were in a huge cupboard in my grandparent’s room. Being that my father, the sole survivor of his family and us, his children, were the only members left, except for a few cousins who wanted to get into a fighting match for these photos when we were clearing out the family house that my father had inherited. Yes, the photo albums were the first things I wanted to look for in order to at least gain some sense of family history, always with a love of taking pictures and a wild imagination. I could be found looking through these as a child – which of course meant I knew exactly where to look and so I found them first, taking first choice, promising my cousins that I would send them copies, something I knew they would never do if left up to them, and also, I sincerely believed that they’d never be seen again, even by them, let alone be recorded for posterity if it was the other way around. True to my word then, as I always am, I put them all on discs and gave each of them, and my brothers and sisters, copies at the next funeral, my father's. But I got looked at as if I was stupid though; most wondering, at the time just what it was they’d been given. A cd? I left an email address, still the one I use today, on the disc too, in case they wanted to write and thank me, stay in touch, but I never heard from them ever again. Who knows if they even looked at the pictures. Par for the course though; never meant to have family ties, and now those loosely tethered through our fathers' blood, gone forever too.
Having reinvented myself in life, creating family out of life long friends instead, I found myself doing some research on my family name, as mentioned, that kind of thing long since intriquing me. An unusual last name, Mount, which, I had been told, was either French or Basque and may have once been Mont, I set out to try and find something more, thinking it would be easy with today's technology, the resources available, but not with much luck I’m afraid.
We are from Glasgow, and my family on my father’s side, apparently first settled in Peeblesshire just outside of Glasgow. A noble family with a coat of arms that held a ‘seat’ or a ‘family seat’, which is a principal manor of a medieval lord that was an elegant country mansion and usually denoted that the family held political and economic influences in the area. One day when I’m rich, I might pay a historian to look into it in more depth, because my own efforts can’t even find my own grandfather’s records, believe it or not. But I like to think that the nobility might explain a lot about who I am, despite what upbringing I actually had; never quite fitting in with normalcy, and apparently no reason why.
I knew I had come from quite a good family, or that is until my father, the black sheep, destroyed it, literally, with his, ours, through alcoholism, perhaps the privileged kid who wanted to be bad, took everything for granted. But I wonder, as I look at these photos, who were these people exactly, how were they I mean, because I know who they all are by name? I can see the family resemblance in both my grandmother and grandfather and even my great grandmother, something I find strange, because I can also see my mother in my own face; how the hell can you look like four people, maybe more, all at once?
Strange. I can only deduce by the clothes and the fact that they posed for photographs (like the much older ones here) in those times, that they were reasonably well to do, that they'd maybe come down somewhat in status by then, and then when I watch programmes about how World Wars I & II changed the world, the class structure, I wonder if that was the start, like so many other families, of ours into normalcy, when most of the world became equal.
I remember at my father’s funeral, my mother and my Auntie Betty, both married into the Mount family, talked about the fancy parties my grandparent’s used to have, and how they felt, as more working class, that they'd never really been welcomed – which I can’t help but think might have been their own perceptions at the time, perhaps feeling inferior to a more well-to-do family, an irrational resentment of sorts maybe. Or maybe not, maybe they were right; maybe they never really were good enough for the Mounts; old school snobbery still at play in those days. Maybe, that's where I get it from - even though people's perception of me is sorely wrong.
Photoshop Elements Tool
(I had a go at fixing this photo... with the bandaid tool on Photoshops Elements (not perfect but a hell of a lot better... if only we could do this in real life).
But as I said, it might explain something about who I am, because that’s what people have always said about me, piss elegant, snooty, I think I’m above everybody else, apparently. But I don’t, I just have different personal standards and mannerisms, higher, maybe, expectations than most, want more out of life than that which was given to me as a child. I’d always been called Little Lord Fauntleroy back then though, and even in the children's home, but I was just sensitive, artistic, a dreamer, didn't like most things others did, always a bit old fashioned in many respects. And certainly I can understand why people have thought that I might be above my station, coming from where I do and going by the things I like, the high-falutin attitude I know I can appear to have sometimes (but always misread, for I love everybody and everything and don't judge, and certainly not in the way that they, for lack of understanding anything different, misjudge me) perhaps people reacting to me the same way that my mother and Auntie Betty reacted to the Mount’s of their day? Perhaps, as I look at these photos, and know something about the gentry that the Mount’s once were, there’s something inherent in my genes?
I wish I knew, but when all is said and done, I’m glad that I at least have these old photographs that tell a poor little orphan boy at least something of where he came from and that it might not always have been pitiful.
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