Mum and Dad circa 1946
Photo upon photo and a decision to be made about every one. If the great PhotoGod were to look down upon me I would have to say "Guilty!" for throwing away so many memories captured on little rectangles of photographic paper. In World War II, my father got to visit Egypt, Palestine, Ceylon, Kashmir, Sudan, South Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Himalayas including Nepal as well as many remote parts of southern India. It was a mind-expanding adventure courtesy of the Royal Air Force. Unfortunately, most of the snaps he took are tiny and in fading black and white. If only he'd had a modern digital camera!
I discovered that before the war he'd travelled with a friend to Germany - including Koblenz and Cologne. It was most likely 1936. Two recently qualified teachers from St John's College in York in their sharp suits smoking manly pipes and blissfully unaware that all too soon all hell would break loose. There'd be jackboots on those very cobbles and man's noblest qualities would become as emaciated as the rib cages of little children in Nazi death camps. Nearly all photos from that pre-war trip are now in our blue wheelie bin.
Dad and friend in Cologne, Germany 1936
And of mum, the photos reminded me that in the early nineteen thirties she enjoyed being a member of the Parkgate Dance School between smoky Rotherham and the mining village of Rawmarsh where she grew up. Some light and fantasy amid the everyday grimness. There were many pictures of assembled casts in various peculiar costumes. Perhaps it was good practice for 1943 when she would become the drum majorette of the Women's Air Force band in New Delhi. And some of these pictures now reside in the blue bin.
Mum - Parkgate Dance School 1932
You can't hang on to everything but for every five I throw away I seem to be saving one. I wonder if I'm being ruthless enough. After all when they are bagged up, the saved photos will probably just sit in drawers or attics, unstudied and half-forgotten.