Daily Prompt: Group Think

Write a post that includes dialogue between two people — other than you. (For more of a challenge, try three or more people.)

Photographers, artists, poets: show us a GROUP.

Please excuse me, but this is an old post of mine, wrote some time in 2009. My grandmother was born around 1875 and was the daughter of a family of farm labourers. Not just any old farm, she was born and grew up at Castle Sissinghurst at the so-called priest’s house in the South of England. I inherited a few photos and this was one and so I wrote a little piece about how the photo mght have originated.

Sissinghurst farm

“Mrs. Relf we are only have our photo done, not going to see the queen.“

“What is that supposed to mean Jed Gurr. I have put my best hat on for this photo. Not everyday that Mr. Stickells calls to us in the fields to make one of those pictures. You can talk, trimming your beard would have been a good idea. I won’t be having you standing next to me in the picture.”

“Don’t worry Mrs. Relf, I will be at the back in any case. I don’t know why the likes of me have to be there. I’ve got work to do. This picture thing is not going to pick any hops for us is it?.”

“Well, look at that here comes  Mrs. Edwards with her best hat on as well.” And Jed Gurr gave Mrs. Edwards a glance of amusement.

“Good morning Frieda” said Mrs. Relf “

“Morning Agnes” answered Frieda Edwards “Lovely day for a photo.”. She turned to her son that was walking alongside of his mother. “Reuben stop running around in that mud, you are going to make your shoes dirty.”

“Come on mum, Mr. Stickells won’t be taking any of those pictures of my feet. It is going to be my face that he is interested in.”

“Well that’s true” said his mother “So did we wash our ears this morning and what’s that grubby mark on your face. Been eating the squire’s raspberries again.?”

“Oh, leave him Frieda” said Agnes Relf “nothing that a bit of spit and a wipe of the pinafore won’t clean off.”

So Frieda Edwards decided Agnes was right and went to work on Reuben’s face. It was clean afterwards but Reuben was not very happy.

“Ow, mum that hurt, didn’t have to rub like that.”

“Well at least you are clean now. What about you Jed Gurr, you could have at least trimmed your beard.”

“Oh, leave him Frieda. He reckons he will be at the back of the photo, because he wants to get away quickly to pick some hops. Look who’s coming, more people here now than you see at the church on Sunday morning, Joan Baldock and her son Jason. Morning Joan, morning Jason. Are you joining in on the picture.”

“It was mum’s idea” said Jason “She told me to put on my best hat and jacket for the picture.”

“I would think so too, Jason. It is not every day we have our picture taken. Just imagine me and my son on a picture together, never been done before. Jed Gurr, make sure you stand behind me. I don’t want that scruffy beard of yours down at the front.”

“Now what have you all got against my beard. I combed it special for the picture. I won’t be at the front. All this new fangled stuff about pictures. Who wants to see me anyhow. I’m here to earn money by picking hops.”

“We all know that Jed Gurr. You are the one that drinks most of the beer down in the inn in the evening, so you have to make sure enough hops are picked to be brewed. “ and Agnes Relf gave Jed Gurr a disapproving glance.

“Now what’s going on, having a go at you are they Jed”. The sisters Emily and Isabel Pankhurst arrived on the scene. Both spinsters, but always there when something interesting was going on in the village.

“Nice day to have a picture taken” Emily said and Isabel nodded in agreement.

The Pankhurst sisters always agreed on everything
.
“Well I must say everyone is looking their best. I told Emily we ought to put on our best hats, you never know who might see the picture one day.” And Emily nodded in approval. She nodded in approval at everything Isabel said. They were not twins, Isabel was the oldest, but only by a year, but that year meant respect when you lived in a small country village.

“Even Reuben has nice bright and shiny face.”

“Well that’s cos me mum spit on her pinafore and rubbed it up.”

“I should think so to Reuben” his mum said “can’t have you with a dirty face on a picture now can we.”

“You are right Frieda Edwards, what would Mr. Stickells say when he arrives.”

“Talking of Mr. Stickells and his picture machine, about time he was here. I have work to do.”

“You and work, Jed Gurr, now that’s new. Thinking more about the time the inn opens up.”

“Oh leave him Agnes, as long as he stands at the back who cares.” And Emily Pankhurst found her sister Isabel was right.

“Look mum” Reuben Edwards was getting excited “Mr. Stickells is coming down the road with his three legged stand and big photo machine. Mrs. Crabb is with him as well.”

“Trust Philadelphia Crabb to want to join in on the picture.” Said Reuben’s mother. “She’s not from this village, but on the other side of the river. Only moved in a couple of years back and already thinks she belongs. “

“Morning ladies and gentlemen” said Mr. Stickells. “So are we already for having our picture made. Now get yourselves nicely organised. As I can see it we are going to make a nice picture. I think we will put the gentleman with the beard at the back in the middle and the ladies forming a row in front. The lady with her son should stand together on the right. Take these flowers in you arm I brought with me as a prop, brightens up the photo a bit, especially with your son standing next to you. Now let’s have the young man at the front on the right. But somethings missing. Can’t have a young lad on his own. Whose the girl standing over there watching.“

“That’s Reuben’s sister” said Frieda Edwards “she has just finished her work in the diary.”

“Well, young lady you come over here, take up a branch of hops like your brother and stand right next to him. Now all we need is that basket in front and I think that will be perfect. The sunlight is just right and the hops are a nice frame to the picture. Ok, everyone don’t breath, stand still, it won’t take long.”

Mr. Stickells put his head under the black cloth on the camera and pressed the button. And this photo is a moment in time in a village somewhere in East Sussex.

Daily Prompt: Group Think

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Disapproval

“Do I have to have that photo on my bedroom wall. I always feel like I am being disapproved by that face.”

“Yasmin, please remember that is your grandmother and not just a face.”

“I have never met my grandmother, and I don’t think I would like her.”

“She was my mother and I was taught to have respect towards my parents. I expect the same from you. My mother was a wonderful woman. She was always there for the family. Life was not easy in the old country, but she made sure that we was never in need for anything and she cooked the best chicken curry I had ever eaten.”

Shabnam, her mother, was adamant.

Yasmin decided to give up. Since she was a child this picture had been on the wall overlooking her bed. Although her roots were in another country, she had never been there and felt just at home in the country where she had grown up. She was uncomfortable being observed by this portrait, but decided that there was no point in continuing this argument.

She remembered her first boyfriend, Raj, who she met at the local club. Raj was very handsome, but her mother decided that his life was too much in the Western style. He often ate in the Macdonalds restaurant, which meant he was eating things that were just not in keeping with the customs of the old country. Yasmin also noticed with time, that Raj would begin meeting friends in the local bar and drink alcohol. Yasmin herself looked upon this with disapproval as found that Raj was changing. He would become loud, and when she found out that he was meeting her best schoolfriend on the evenings when he told her he had to study, she decided her destiny was not with Raj.

“I told you so” her mother said. “My mother would never allowed you to go out with such a person as Raj. You only have to look at his background and his family. They are from another part of the old country, from the towns where such sins are looked upon as being normal.”

So that was her first experience with a boyfriend. Of course, there was the eternal arguments with her mother in the kitchen. If guests were invited Yasmin had to help with the cooking.

“But mum, you can cook much better than I can, my brothers can just sit with the guests before lunch and talk, but I have to be in the kitchen amongst the smells of cooking learning how to make a perfect tandoori, cook a perfect dahl soup and prepare the pastry for the Chapati and Parantha bread. My brothers just have to eat it.”

“Don’t be stupid girl, you will never get a nice young man as a husband if you do not learn the secrets of our national dishes. My mother taught me all I had to know about cooking and I have never heard you complain that my food is not good.”

“Mum you are the best cook in the world, but I am sure I will never be as good as you, or our grandmother” thinking she is always watching what I am doing. Her portrait follows me everywhere in this home. Why mother even has a smaller photo on the cupboard in a plastic frame that she bought at the local store.

So Yasmin learnt to cook in the style of the old country according to her mother and grandmother’s way of doing things.

“You know, Yasmin” Ahmad her father often said to her, “one day a young man will be proud to have such a good wife as yourself.”

Yasmin had a good relationship with her father, but decided he also belong to the club of “do it the way your grandmother did, otherwise you mother will be annoyed”.

So life went on for Yasmin, she still lived at home, waiting for Mr. Right to come along as she knew when she found him she could at least lead her own life without grandmother’s face looking down upon her in disapproval. Now and again she did have a boyfriend, but either her parents did not agree with her choice, or she herself found it was not the answer to her prayers. Yasmin’s parents were not old fashioned and knew that their only daughter had to be able to lead her own life one day independently.

For this reason she was allowed to learn how to drive a car. Yasmin was surprised. Of course, this was a secret wish but she was sure that grandmother would have disapproved. Yasmin’s father told her that there were no cars when her grandmother was her age, but grandmother had perfect control of her wagon drawn by oxen, so it was only natural for Yasmin to learn how to drive a car.

Then came a day when her car needed an overhaul at the garage. Her father, Ahmad, accompanied her to the garage and they were greeted by a friendly young man in the same language she was speaking with her father. He told them they would have to leave the car at the garage, but it would be finished by the evening.

“I have a meeting this evening Yasmin” said Ahmad. “Do you think you can pick up the car on your own?”

“Of course she can” said the young man.”I will be here myself and can help if there are any problems.”

“Well that is wonderful, then I know my daughter is in good hands.”

“But who shall I ask for when I pick the car up?” asked Yasmin.

“Oh, I am sorry for not giving my name, just ask for Sikander and I will be at your service.”

In the evening Yasmin picked up her car, and Sikander was waiting for her. This was not the only time that Yasmin met Sikander. As time went on they got to know each other and Yasmin’s parents were happy that she had such a nice boyfriend. One day Sikander visited Yasmin’s parents asking for her hand in marriage. Sikander was a good mechanic and his aim in life was to have his own garage. He was a hard worker and also the answer to Yasmin’s prayers for a good man.

The wedding was organised, and they were married and Yasmin moved into her own home. On the evening after the marriage Yasmin’s mother was alone with her father.

“So, Shabnam, are you now happy that our daughter has married a good man?”

“I am more than happy, Ahmad, although there were moments that I doubted if it would work. But thanks to the picture that accompanied my daughter all her life, she has lived up to my mother’s expectations.”

“One thing would interest me, Shabnam. Did you ever tell Yasmin that you were an orphan, your mother dying at your birth, and your uncle’s family took you in and brought you up as their own child.”

“Nonsense, Ahmad, if had told her that, she would never have learnt to make such a good chicken curry. So now we can sleep in peace, knowing that our daughter is in good hands.”

“I will never understand the workings of a female mind” thought Ahmad as he drifted into a contented sleep.

Yasmin and Sikander were very happy with each other. Five years later Sikander had his own garage, through hard work and Yasmin had been a good support to her husband. Their son was already four years old and their daughter, Shabnam, now at the age of two. They had just moved into their own house.

“Yasmin, what is the noise you are making.”

“I am hanging a photo of my mother on the wall in Shabnam’s room.”

“Yasmin are you going to use the same trick as your mother did with you.”

“Not exactly Sikander, I was observed with disapproval by the picture of a lady that my mother bought from a shop. My photo is a genuine grandmother, my mother. It cannot do any harm for my daughter to grow up under the eyes of a disapproving grandmother. I am sure my daughter’s chicken curry will be even better than mine.”

And to this day Yasmin’s mother did not know that her daughter knew the truth about the photo on her bedroom wall.

A Moment in time

Sissinghurst farm

“Mrs. Relf we are only have our photo done, not going to see the queen.“

“What is that supposed to mean Jed Gurr. I have put my best hat on for this photo. Not everyday that Mr. Stickells calls to us in the fields to make one of those pictures. You can talk, trimming your beard would have been a good idea. I won’t be having you standing next to me in the picture.”

“Don’t worry Mrs. Relf, I will be at the back in any case. I don’t know why the likes of me have to be there. I’ve got work to do. This picture thing is not going to pick any hops for us is it?.”

“Well, look at that here comes  Mrs. Edwards with her best hat on as well.” And Jed Gurr gave Mrs. Edwards a glance of amusement.

“Good morning Frieda” said Mrs. Relf “

“Morning Agnes” answered Frieda Edwards “Lovely day for a photo.”. She turned to her son that was walking alongside of his mother. “Reuben stop running around in that mud, you are going to make your shoes dirty.”

“Come on mum, Mr. Stickells won’t be taking any of those pictures of my feet. It is going to be my face that he is interested in.”

“Well that’s true” said his mother “So did we wash our ears this morning and what’s that grubby mark on your face. Been eating the squire’s raspberries again.?”

“Oh, leave him Frieda” said Agnes Relf “nothing that a bit of spit and a wipe of the pinafore won’t clean off.”

So Frieda Edwards decided Agnes was right and went to work on Reuben’s face. It was clean afterwards but Reuben was not very happy.

“Ow, mum that hurt, didn’t have to rub like that.”

“Well at least you are clean now. What about you Jed Gurr, you could have at least trimmed your beard.”

“Oh, leave him Frieda. He reckons he will be at the back of the photo, because he wants to get away quickly to pick some hops. Look who’s coming, more people here now than you see at the church on Sunday morning, Joan Baldock and her son Jason. Morning Joan, morning Jason. Are you joining in on the picture.”

“It was mum’s idea” said Jason “She told me to put on my best hat and jacket for the picture.”

“I would think so too, Jason. It is not every day we have our picture taken. Just imagine me and my son on a picture together, never been done before. Jed Gurr, make sure you stand behind me. I don’t want that scruffy beard of yours down at the front.”

“Now what have you all got against my beard. I combed it special for the picture. I won’t be at the front. All this new fangled stuff about pictures. Who wants to see me anyhow. I’m here to earn money by picking hops.”

“We all know that Jed Gurr. You are the one that drinks most of the beer down in the inn in the evening, so you have to make sure enough hops are picked to be brewed. “ and Agnes Relf gave Jed Gurr a disapproving glance.

“Now what’s going on, having a go at you are they Jed”. The sisters Emily and Isabel Pankhurst arrived on the scene. Both spinsters, but always there when something interesting was going on in the village.

“Nice day to have a picture taken” Emily said and Isabel nodded in agreement.

The Pankhurst sisters always agreed on everything
.
“Well I must say everyone is looking their best. I told Emily we ought to put on our best hats, you never know who might see the picture one day.” And Emily nodded in approval. She nodded in approval at everything Isabel said. They were not twins, Isabel was the oldest, but only by a year, but that year meant respect when you lived in a small country village.

“Even Reuben has nice bright and shiny face.”

“Well that’s cos me mum spit on her pinafore and rubbed it up.”

“I should think so to Reuben” his mum said “can’t have you with a dirty face on a picture now can we.”

“You are right Frieda Edwards, what would Mr. Stickells say when he arrives.”

“Talking of Mr. Stickells and his picture machine, about time he was here. I have work to do.”

“You and work, Jed Gurr, now that’s new. Thinking more about the time the inn opens up.”

“Oh leave him Agnes, as long as he stands at the back who cares.” And Emily Pankhurst found her sister Isabel was right.

“Look mum” Reuben Edwards was getting excited “Mr. Stickells is coming down the road with his three legged stand and big photo machine. Mrs. Crabb is with him as well.”

“Trust Philadelphia Crabb to want to join in on the picture.” Said Reuben’s mother. “She’s not from this village, but on the other side of the river. Only moved in a couple of years back and already thinks she belongs. “

“Morning ladies and gentlemen” said Mr. Stickells. “So are we already for having our picture made. Now get yourselves nicely organised. As I can see it we are going to make a nice picture. I think we will put the gentleman with the beard at the back in the middle and the ladies forming a row in front. The lady with her son should stand together on the right. Take these flowers in you arm I brought with me as a prop, brightens up the photo a bit, especially with your son standing next to you. Now let’s have the young man at the front on the right. But somethings missing. Can’t have a young lad on his own. Whose the girl standing over there watching.“

“That’s Reuben’s sister” said Frieda Edwards “she has just finished her work in the diary.”

“Well, young lady you come over here, take up a branch of hops like your brother and stand right next to him. Now all we need is that basket in front and I think that will be perfect. The sunlight is just right and the hops are a nice frame to the picture. Ok, everyone don’t breath, stand still, it won’t take long.”

Mr. Stickells put his head under the black cloth on the camera and pressed the button. And this photo is a moment in time in a village somewhere in East Sussex.