Whitsands, East Cornwall, August 1962
This photograph, taken by my mother nearly fifty-five years ago shows, from left to right: Alienora, M.(next sister down), S, J and A (my godmother’s three sons) – and, behind the rocks, back right, my father.
I was four at the time. My sister was three. The boys were seven, five and nine in seating order.
I don’t know why this tugs at my heart so, but it does: Just a normal shot of two little girls and three little boys enjoying a holiday in Cornwall.
I think part of it centres around the body language of those five children so long ago – and the clues each pose held with regard to character and potential, even future career. I will not discuss the boys because I do not have their permission to do so; nor will I go into my sister’s life.
Devon and Cornwall, the former especially – and Budleigh Salterton specifically – were part of the magic of childhood. So this image, to me, conjures up happy and relaxed times; times of innocence; times of edible pebbles and dead crabs collected in buckets and swimming in wild salty waters.
Times, that is, now gone.
I have not seen any of those boys since my late teens. So, for me, they will always, in a sense, be a trio of tow-headed little chaps, one posing, one reluctant and the third smiling rather sweetly.