Just yesterday I was writing an email to a friend and expressing how communication across the miles is today so easy and affordable. We can still write letters...but the mail man is still unreliable (I have lost count of the amount of birthday and Christmas cards that failed to land in my mailbox - maybe mum really didn't send one?) But we have email, Skype, text messages, cheap phone calls...we can see and hear those who are far far away. I am trying to ensure my parents are hooked up for a Skype Christmas call on the 25th. It is nearly 3years since I saw them last. They are not very tech savvy but hopefully my brother will sort them out.
So back to my story. My Grandfather, (on mums side) like many other Grandparents of my generation was in the war. World war II that is. I was extremely close to Nan and Grandad and devastated when they passed. Sometime ago when I was back in the UK, mum was going through some of my late Nan's things. Amongst her personal bits and bobs we found many photographs. I love photography, used to do quite a bit. I love black and white and sepia photos. There where quite a few shots of my Grandad in full army regalia amongst the collection. These pictures are postcard shots that the soldiers would pay for, they would then write down a message to their sweetheart on the back and send it home. Grandad was stationed in Palestine. So most of his pictures showed him in Dessert uniform, shorts and knee high socks. He loved the sun my Grandad, and always had a cigarette in his hand! Two things my mum inherited from him, :)I read some of the messages on those postacrds. It felt kind of weird, with them both being gone. But the war and history fascinates me. I wish I had paid more attention at school and I wish I had the guts to speak to Grandad about the war when he was alive. Then again, a lot of war hero's never really wanted to talk about 'those' days.
My Grandparents were married for over 50years. Reading those letters bought tears to my eyes. We take so much for granted today, so much, it is unbelievable. Wars are still being fought, we are reminded of this fact every day. We are bombarded with imagery...but nothing speaks quite as powerfully as those images in the days of a simple box brownie camera and film.
This article on the Daily mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1236319/WWI-photographs-taken-Christina-Broom-auction.html features photographs from World War I taken by Christina Broom, Britain's first female press photographer. There is something about black and white and the period these were taken; innocence, modesty, vulnerability, seriousness, camaraderie and spirit. Looking at some of the dates, these pictures were taken almost exactly 95years ago. Most of the men you see never made it home for Christmas 1915, or any other Christmas for that matter.Technology is a wonderful thing that lets us learn and 'see' these forgotton moments in time. This Christmas like many Christmas's before and most probably to come there is war and there is fighting. It is a sad but true fact. It was happening 95years ago. It is happening today. The only difference for those soldiers out there now...technology today will enable them to speak to their loved ones and see their loved ones this Holiday season.