Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sepia Saturday

Cousin Den

He was my second-cousin really, being my mother's cousin - we always knew him as Cousin Den.

He was born with serious curvature of the spine and spent a lot of his childhood in hospital, in braces and traction. His mum was one of my nan's sisters - Daisy, and his dad was my grandad's best friend, Tom who is in one of these pictures.

Tom and Daisy - I don't remember them much at all. Daisy died young, I never knew her and Dennis helped his dad nurse her. Then he cared for his Dad during a fairly long process of dying from cancer.

This is Daisy

She looked very like my Nan.

I do have a lot of memories of Dennis though - he used to visit us in London quite often when I was growing up. He had a motorbike, and we thought that was very cool. And he would bring his harmonium, and maybe his squeeze box (accordian) - and play for us. He was sweet and gentle and cheerful, and I remember my mother telling me that he was always so as a child, despite his disability - and as an adult, while caring so devotedly for his parents.

This is Dennis as I remember him - in our garden in London in the 1970's, with other family members.

Den died in the mid 1990's.
.... and imagine here a lapse in my writing as I did some googling and exploring of family tree websites to see if I could pin down the exact date. Hmmm this could become a fascinating new diversion for me....

His little rented house - where he had lived with his mum and dad all his life apart from his childhood in hospital - was packed full of piles of old newspapers, canned food, handy bits and pieces. He didn't like to throw anything away.

I have a lovely old enamel colander which was his - and was my great-Aunty Daisy's - and I treasure it and love using it.


tut-tut said...

These are just lovely. It's so good to get all the memories down, too. Kitchen things seem to hold special memories. Cooking and eating so cyclical and soothing (I'm not saying it correctly; have to cogitate on what I mean).

I know someone who has a professional photog. taking pix of her kids (at appalling expense). but it's the snaps that are the most precious. I have a huge box of my mother's that I haven't dared get to yet. Perhaps I'd better.

jasmine said...

Such precious memories. It is so important to keep them. My grandparents have been spending a long time doing the family tree. I think it would e lovely to have all of their research documented like this.

Poetikat said...

Can't help but think of Fitzgerald's, "The Great Gatsby" when you speak of Tom and Daisy.

Poor kid, to go through all of that! They had so little resources, medically in those days.

I've got you on the Sepia Saturday list now, Lettuce!


MuseSwings said...

I also own a treasured colander! It's as though I am sharing my kitchen with memories. Nice memories you have shared today!

Betsy said...

Den...what a sweetheart...smiling even though life wasn't easy. My Spencer has scoliosis, so can relate a bit. Lovely memories, Lettuce..and very nice sepias!

Stephanie said...

You can actually see the outline of his backbrace in that first photo - and what a cute smile. He sounds like an amazing person. Thanks for the history.

ArtSparker said...

It's wonderful to inherit some useful - and beautiful - item that becomes part of your life.

Barbara said...

It's so nice to wrap the words around the pictures. It really makes the subjects come alive. Great post!

Martin H. said...

A touching tribute to Dennis. You have portrayed him as being a gentle and caring man.

I'm fascinated by the photographs, but the family gathering in the 1970s is a wonderful snapshot.

L. D. Burgus said...

It is interesting how each person is dealt their lot in life. Cousin Den became who he had to be because of his illness. Being with mom and dad was better than being in an institution. Daisy's photo is great. Nice read.

Leah said...

This really is very poignant, especially the little house full of things that were saved.

A moving portrait that tells us a great deal in just a few photos and paragraphs.

Leah said...

This really is very poignant, especially the little house full of things that were saved.

A moving portrait that tells us a great deal in just a few photos and paragraphs.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a wonderful tribute to cousin den - he sounds like a super guy.... aw, he is a person I would have loved to have known.

what a smile he had. that and this post warms my heart.

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Ronda Laveen said...

Old photos certainly stir up old memories don't they. So nice you have that colander...a physical reminder of your family.

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Megan said...

Good stuff, Lettuce. Cousin Den sounds like a wonderful guy.

Squirrel of Nyack said...

Den ~ very sweet kindly face. nice eyes and smile.

Ms Hen said...

I love old photos... the hair styles; the way people lived more simple.. and the loving memories..

Betty Ann aka Ms Hen

tony said...

Dennis Has a Fine Open Face.a Friend To The World.
People Dont Sit Around Like That As A Family Group Any more.Do They?

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e said...

Sweet photos, Lettuce. Did Dennis work as an adult??? Just curious...

Sent you an e-mail and the item will be in the post tomorrow.

Lots of rain here, too.

tattytiara said...

People who have early struggles often learn the value of gentleness I find. He sounds like a truly lovely person.

lettuce said...

He was a sweetheart, a lovely man.

e, I've asked my dad, and for a while he had his own little business making baskets - having learned basketry while he was in hospital.
And later he worked putting together electronic components.