This hardwood hand-carved picture frame from India used to house a photograph of my paternal grandmother. I never met her as she died while my Dad was still at school. My grandmother worked for a time as a governess on the Andaman Islands and married a Scottish tea planter – it would be interesting to know how they met! My father was born in the then Calcutta – his father died a few months later from the “Spanish ‘flu”, the pandemic that spread around the world with horrific consequences much as we face today with COVID-19.
I have replaced the image of my grandmother with a photograph of my parents on their wedding day on 9th August 1942.
My father is wearing his army uniform and my mother carries a bouquet of freesias – always one of her favourite flowers. Apparently my maternal grandfather was concerned about this young couple getting married during the war and so, the story goes, he consulted an old friend of his. According to my mother, this woman’s response was “Henry, look at me. I waited and my young man never came back” (from the First World War). Thus it was that he gave them his blessing.
The intricately carved frame must have been purchased in India by his parents – or received as a gift – and has travelled from India to Britain to South Africa. It serves as an interesting reminder of part of my ancestral roots.