Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Home contd...

The term 'home' is highly complicated in a complex and multicultural world like ours and means different things to us.  For me, I've just scratched the surface; home can incorporate family, comfort, friends etc.  I've still more questions to consider.  Is home the place in which you were born, raised and live, or is it a space that gives you a feeling of belonging?  What happens when the two are different?

For many multicultural people our ancestors brought their country through memories, stories, traditions and large physical numbers of family and community from home.  I have some idea of that migration process even though I learned fragments about it later on in my life through my Guyanese father, who had already spent twenty years in England before we met.

Here I think it's time to introduce two significant family members, my mother Sophia Moore and my grandmother Sophia Hunt.  These strong individuals helped shape my start in life in ways I'm truly thankful for and despite the challenges of these relationships, I eventually developed a strong sense of self.
You discover all sorts of unexpectedness when you analyse an old family photo or two.  It has only just dawned on me that the above photo of me and my grandmother taken in the back garden of 29 Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury, North London, meant I had visited the house long before I started to live there; no wonder I loved living there and felt right at home.  

Although I've no memory of the actual day the photo was taken, I have questions like, was this a special occasion since my grandmother is wearing pearls and a nice little black number?  She's smiling, unlike me!  What's with my sleeves rolled up, like I'm ready for 'business'.  Am I lost in thought?  Would I rather not be involved?
There is joy and happiness evident in this photo of me and my mother and if I hazard a guess, I think I may be smiling into a small compact mirror and delighted to see our reflections, although I have no memory, so could be wrong about that.

I loved to play in the garden, which was vertically divided into two and shared with the neighbours upstairs.  Our side was on the right looking out from our back window, with its orderly colourful array of rose bushes, nasturtiums, pansies, crocuses, iris and lavender.  The left side was neglected and unruly with just long wild grass.

Our next door neighbours had chickens and the daily cock crowing, along with trains passing in the distance, were reassuring sounds.  There was a great view of the Canonbury line from the bottom of the garden.  Sometimes I would wave at the passengers and get a wave back.  The slow moving 3am cargo train would make this strange clanking noise and I would feel the vibrations in my dreamy sleepiness.

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