‘He had hands like yours,’ my Grandma tells my husband-to-be one Sunday afternoon. We’ve just popped in to say hello. She’s in a reminiscent mood (when is she ever not?) talking about my Grandad, of course. My Grandad who I’d never met. Of three husbands, he’d been the only one she’d truly loved. She hands us the photo. She watches for our reaction from across the room. We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time: him, her, the two of them back in time, crossing the road hand in hand towards an unknown future. They couldn’t have foreseen any of it: the five children; the emigration to Canada; his watery death in an unmarked grave. Though he appears far back in time to the two of us, she sees him as though she’s looking through a window, yesterday.
Written for dVerse Prosery Monday, where Kim is hosting. She has given us these lines from D.H. Lawrence to incorporate into our prose:
‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.
My Grandma had so many stories, married and widowed 3 times and mother of 5 children. She was a displaced person from Latvia after the Second World War, and she came to the UK to train as a nurse. One day I’d like to tell the story of her life. The above is just a snapshot from it.
I love how different we see the past… you only know him by her stories, and to you he is that image, for your grandmother he is real…
Yes, the past and our memories have so many layers to them…
Wow, this is so visceral and beautiful. <3
Thank you, Lucy! 😊
I love that quote! My mum (mam 😂) wants me to tell the story of her grandma. If only there’d been a national lockdown recently to give me the time! 🤦🏻♀️
I expect there’s going to be another one pretty soon…You don’t need to translate ‘mam’ for me LOL!
Yeah I knew you’d understand. It was for the language heathens 😂 Where exactly are you from in Cumbria ?
Carlisle like eh!
This is heartwrenchingly beautiful! The emotion so palpable..
Thank you Sanaa! ❤️
Grandparents do give us plenty of material, Ingrid. My children’s novel was based on stories my grandmother told me. I was very lucky to have known my grandfather, who would have perished with half his family if he hadn’t insisted on going to work that day. I love your snapshot very much and the thought of your grandparents ‘crossing the road hand in hand towards an unknown future’.
Now I am intrigued to know what happened that day…Yes, they all have fascinating stories, if we care to listen.
As I research my family’s genealogy I realize there are stories I should have been told, and many questions I should have asked. Having your grandmothers tales is a true gift.
It certainly is. I must write them all down before they are forgotten forever.
Excellent writing. Love the site too.
Thanks so much!
Your grandma was a person who decided to live life to the fullest, that much is clear. I would love to read a book of her stories by you. You did this one up just right.
Thanks, Lisa! She was such a character, always with a story to tell…
Wonderful how the telescopic lens becomes a time-machine window. Great work Ingrid.
Oh yes, do tell more of her story! Your grandma sounds like a brave and interesting soul whose story would make great reading! What a wonderful use of the prompt! Leaves us wanting more! Reminds me of my favorite aunt who always told me, “You have your grandfather’s eyes.” Creates quite an impression!
These are the kinds of stories that need telling and saving. Your are lucky your Grandmother remembers and gifts them to you. (K)
I certainly am!
Oh I love this story of your grandma Ingrid so nicely penned and delivered through your lens so poetically! ❤️ Cindy
Thanks Cindy – she would be pleased with it, I hope! ❤️
You’re so welcome!
I’m sure she would be!!! ❤️
lovely piece Ingrid. WWII was amazingly/tragically disruptive to so many – my mum was displaced from Germany, came to UK, trained as a nurse, emigrated (to Australia) – and I’m sure in a suitcase somewhere I have a photo much like the one above. Someone once said that time is an illusion – the past and present are right here – held by our memories – and stories like this.
I think that someone was right! My Grandma cried at the end of the war – she too was stuck in Germany with nowhere to go. Luckily she made it to the UK, went on to emigrate to Canada but ended up back in the UK after the death of her husband.
What a wonderful story! I love the idea of looking back is like turning the telescope around and looking through the other end. The view is somewhat distorted, but perfect non the less! The photo is priceless!
Thank you, Dwight! I love this photo because you can see how much in love they are. It’s also taken in my hometown so a bit of local history.
Lovely story through the telescope of a photograph! Beautifully told, Ingrid.
Thank you, Dora!
Such a sweet photograph! Your grandma’s memory of your grandfather’s hands and the comparison to your husband’s is so moving and symbolic. 💖 Engaging way to begin your heartfelt piece.
Thanks Michele: she always loved my husband, I think she reminded her of her one true love – very sweet ❤️
The stories of our ancestors are so important! We all need to look deeper and they want to tell us. Very sweet!
Thank you Tricia, this is very true!
She must have got lots to tell. From her real experiences it should be lots of painful eye-witness accounts of war cruelties!
Yes, she was a nurse in a field hospital and she saw some terrible things. She didn’t talk about it but she probably had PTSD as she was troubled ‘with her nerves’ the rest of her life.
love this, such a nice personal touch!
That sounds like a story well worth telling … start in small ways 🙂
Just beautiful, and that comparison between their view and her’s, fantastic!
Title drew me in; and lovely words to go along with it. It’s a very good photo, too; always interesting to see the past like it’s almost the present.
Wow Ingrid this was beautiful. Much love in the telling, much love and your grandma. Isn’t it amazing how time can appear to one person has a long far away thing – while to another it feels like yesterday.The magic of love and memory. This is really well written and I enjoyed it.
Thanks Rob, I’m glad you did!
This is such an interesting story…and then to see the photo and read your notes and find it is true. To be widowed three times….what a strong woman to have tried love again, and again….to be vulnerable again and again. I definitely think you should gather materials and write her entire story….something to hand down for generations.
You’re right – I need to get a move on 😅
Such beautiful words, Ingrid. That photo is precious. What a life! I hope you will be able to write her whole story one day ♥️
Thank you so much, Katie Claire! I will certainly try to get that story written 😊
Ingrid, I enjoyed reading about your grandmother. Thank you for sharing, and I hope to read more about her. <5
Take care, Cheryl
Thank you, Cheryl. So many people have expressed an interest to know more: I guess that is a good sign!