Dead End Photos

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"I'm back to square one now, back to a pile of dead-end photos." Nia wants to learn more about her family.

Transcript

"I'm scared that at some point I'm going to open a can of worms. But I'm not going to knock them over - I'm going to kick them over.

You paint a portrait of Gran as an elegant lady, who was hard-working, fun-loving, and someone who cared for her family.

For example, Gran would catch a train from Treherbert to Ponty most Fridays, just for a bag of fish and chips plastered in loads of salt and vinegar; for you, Den and Dad. By the time Gran would get home, an hour would have passed - the food would be freezing - but you'd never dare complain because it would be a treat.

The few times you talk of Gran affectionately, you'd say how she'd make you and Den matching dresses, complete with a ribbon to tie in your hair. But if she wanted you to fetch anything - nothing in particular - just anything, she would offer a fag as a thank you gesture, even though you was only nine years old.

I can't picture Gran smoking. I don't want to - even though I know she did. If I was to picture her with a fag, I'd feel it would tint my own image I've created of her, from looking at your precious photos.

Every photo I managed to find or catch a rare glimpse of feels like winning the lottery, yet every pose or image is different. Making my imagination wonder just that little bit more. I never got the chance to know Gran, yet I feel I know her in my mind. And the way I like to think of her is to be laughing, smiling and without that blasted fag to hand.

But if I push you just that little bit, and talk about other photos, I know I'm hitting a raw nerve, and I can see you tensing up; but I can feel you going cold.

Even though I know you lost her at a very young age, and tend to find it hard to speak of her, I find this all so frustrating, I need to know so much more than just looking at photos, and making my own version of events in my mind.

Mam, it's not fair that you're holding back on memories - I want you to be able to share with me, and not think its sad to do so. I'm back to square one now, back to a pile of dead-end photos only you have the key to unlock, to my much-needed answers."

By: Nia Evans
Published: 2008

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