Daily Prompt: Snapshot Stories – A Walk in the Past

Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

Steve me and Kit at Nutfield

Let us be honest, if I showed the first photo album I could find it would not be this photo. I am creating photo albums regularly on Flickr, my photography site and must have more than ten thousand photos there, some being of I, me and myself. I had to scan this photo into the computer as digi stuff was then still a dream in the minds of the computer geeks. I chose one of the oldest, one of the first and yes, that is little me in the middle holding the hands of my cousins and guiding them through the world. I suppose I was 2-3 years old and my cousins eleven months younger. We still have contact, all of us now being golden oldies. I see them perhaps once every ten years when I go to England, but we have regular e-mail contact and sometimes telephone.

Now the question is what were we doing wandering alone, no sign of London smog, traffic or other such town annoyances? Yes, we are in the open country, to be exact in a place called Nutfield which is situated in the county of Surrey, south of London, the nearest country town being Redhill.

I had to rack my golden oldie brains for the history of this photo, but we oldies have a long distance memory. Do not ask what happened yesterday, I cannot remember, but what happened 64 years ago is no problem. The Second World War had finished 3-4 years earlier. My dad had good contact with one of his ex-army friends who had married and settled in this part of the world. They were good friends to mum and dad and about once a year we paid them a visit. This time it was a little different, as my mum’s brother, uncle Harry, and his wife Aunt Ada and twin boys came with us. It was time for a change of air, the wide open spaces and being kids, rolling in the dirt, climbing trees and generally getting on our parent’s nerves was our favourite sport.

Uncle Bill, my dad’s ex-army friend, also had a daughter, a few months younger than me, so fun was programmed. On top of all this excitement, Uncle Bill was living in an army Nissan hut because he was still engaged in the territorial army, a sort of private British army to make sure the tanks and guns were prepared in case another war started. Times were different then, you never knew what was around the corner. There were no terrorists at that time, and Europe was still cleaning up the bomb damage. However a little country called North Korea had begun to make itself noticed and was stirring up trouble with South Korea and the Americans were involved, which made it a European problem and you had to be careful. I remember my dad having to return to the army for two weeks some time in 1950 for a refresher course, although I do not know what he refreshed and whether he became an English Bruce Willis after the training.

So there we were visiting Uncle Bill who lived in this large metal Nissan hut. The front part was the family quarters. Moving down a little, there was a games room complete with full sized billiard table and dart boards, so the grown-ups were taken care of. If you moved down further you arrived at the place of action. Yes, Uncle Bill had three army Lorries parked at the end of the hut, two canons and I think some ammunition. For us kids it was paradise, we were not playing with toys, we were playing with the real thing, until the adults took control and told us to stop climbing on the canon and to leave it alone, probably imagining the third world war breaking out in a little dot known as Nutfield village in South England.

There was a railway line than ran at the end of the garden, the main line from London Victoria Station to Brighton and we would wave at the people in the trains. This was adventure playground pure.

By the way, did you notice the cute white socks and sandals on our feet. They were the last cry in fashion for kids in those days. Why the sock colour was white I do not know. At the end of the day the socks were all shades of grey. I was a Shirley Temple lookalike. Note the hot pants my cousins were wearing and my lovely dress which I think was even velvet. I believe it was blue, but colour memories have faded. I think it was one of the first small steps my cousins took on their own legs, but a large step for mankind my cousins.

In the meanwhile we have all progressed in the world. Unfortunately Uncle Bill died a couple of months ago. He eventually moved to Australia with his wife and one of his daughters was already living there. My cousins are both married with their own families and have even attained the status of grandfather. I suppose I am still the leader of the pack, as I am the oldest of the cousins, but they definitely would not let me hold their hands now and take a walk in the countryside.

Daily Prompt: Snapshop Stories – A Walk in the Past

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30 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Snapshot Stories – A Walk in the Past

  1. A beautiful taken photo 🙂
    Haha, I loved this part: “until the adults took control and told us to stop climbing on the canon and to leave it alone”.
    My upbringing was rather similar to that statement; usually starting with my dad trying to teach me some army based technique, and ending with my mum yelling at him and telling him to take the helmet off my head!!

    Like

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  3. Lovely picture and great early memories. You’re lucky. I think I don’t remember a thing from when I was three.

    Like

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  6. wow! That photo is a treasure. You’ve been writing for Daily Prompt for such a long time. I’m inspired. Thank you for the ping back. 🙂 ~ Girl from the Philippines

    Like

  7. Nice photograph 🙂

    Not yet a “golden-oldie”, but have same problem… Remember things from childhood, but can’t remember where I put glasses, keys, coffee, etc – that I had in my hand 5 seconds ago 😛

    Like

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