The Treetops #MakingMemories Project encourages people to create and share experiences with loved ones. Sincere thanks to everyone who’s shared these photos and personal stories so far:
A legacy from my lovely nan – Dorothy May Goldsack (née Bennett) born on 25 May 1901.
Born into a wealthy Victorian family (her father was “Gold Lacer” to the King), she was sent to Dr Barnardo’s children’s home, being the eldest of three, when her father gambled away all his money and they couldn’t afford to feed the children.
My nana was a kind, generous and loving person. When she died in 1978, she left behind two beautiful African Violets.
My sister and I still have these plants which have been propagated through the years using a single leaf each time. When we look at the plants, we know that our wonderful nan’s “spirit” is still alive in her African Violets.
It brought back memories of my father, and a sense of connection to him, that I had also thought long-lost
I have recently turned 40 and after a friend of mine died leaving 2 children, a similar age to my own, it got me thinking about what I would want to leave my children were anything to happen to me – or even what I want to share with them now before anything ever does!
So I have started sorting through old prints and trying to catalogue and back up digital photos. And I have also started making digital photo books for my own 3 children aged 10, 8 and 3 years.
Part of this process is capturing their short lives so far – their important milestones, trips and visits we’ve made, significant people in their lives. But part of it is about going back a little further, telling them a little bit about their family history… their heritage… unlike the popular Alice Merton song, I don’t want my children growing up feeling like they’ve got “No Roots”! I think both a sense of belonging, and a sense of identity, are so important.
So the pictures I have chosen to illustrate this are of myself meeting my long-lost half-uncle 11 years ago in Argentina, aided and abetted by my then new husband.
During this intriguing encounter, we discovered the true story of my father, who died when I was 9 years old, and who tragically never knew his own father, my grandfather. We were told of scandal and secrets, and adventurous ancestors who settled several generations ago in South America, but who continued to live like true British colonials.
I was deeply moved by setting foot on the land on which my father was born and spent his early years and by the mixture of foreign and familiarity I met at half-uncle’s beautiful, remote guest house so far away from the country of my own birth. It brought back memories of my father, and a sense of connection to him, that I had also thought long-lost. Perhaps not just a pictorial or ancestral legacy, but also an emotional one.
Time to talk to me about the memories that I record
“My father-in-law died a year ago, at the age of 85. In preparation for his funeral, my husband scanned all the old family photos, which brought back so many memories for everyone. Also, as a family, we found that there were many interesting things that we had not know about him, that emerged as friends and relations gathered together in the first few weeks, and for his funeral – things that we wished we had known while he was alive so that we could have talked to him about them.
“My children gave me this book at Christmas, and challenged me to complete it by next Christmas so that they will have the time to talk to me about the memories that I record, before it’s too late. It has many sections including the things that I remember about my childhood and things about them as children – it has been an enjoyable process filling it in and I’m looking forward to the conversations that will follow.”
The legacy of my Mum to me and mine to my daughters
“Our family didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child but Mum always managed to put good food, well made, on the table. I took this for granted at the time! When I expressed an interest, she guided and encouraged me to develop my cooking skills. The highlight of our week was the Sunday roast.
“I’m proud to have learned these skills from my Mum – one of her lasting legacies to me – and I’m also proud to have passed them on to my two daughters. The Sunday roast still takes pride of place in our collective cookery repertoire. In a family of gravy-lovers, mine is legendary and I was given the title of ‘Sunday Dinner Queen’!
“It’s been wonderful to have this opportunity to reflect on the legacy of my Mum to me and mine to my daughters…just a small expression of the love between us all.”