Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

My parents' wedding: left to right my paternal grandfather David Leslie; my maternal grandmother, Margaret Cruden; Dad's brother David; my dad, Ron Leslie; my mu, Elizabeth Ramsay; my mum's sister, Sandra Ramsay.

My parents’ wedding: left to right my paternal grandfather David Leslie; my maternal grandmother, Margaret Ramsay (nee Cruden); my dad’s brother David Leslie; my dad Ron Leslie; my mum Elizabeth Ramsay; my mum’s sister, Sandra Ramsay.

I’ve chosen this photo for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge because it’s the only photo I have of my parents at their wedding; a day that changed their lives forever.

My mum and dad are of a generation that did not live together before – or instead of – marriage. They met, got engaged, saved for a wedding and for the things they’d need for a home together while both were living at home with their parents.

Hours after this photo was taken, they spent their first night together. I think my mum said they had their honeymoon in Stirling, but I realise I don’t actually know. For me, growing up in a much more permissive generation, this bit of information has never been important.

My parents were married for 27 years. They raised three kids and grieved for a fourth who was stillborn. They emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand and spent most of their married life away from the support – and perhaps interference – of their families.

Mum and Dad divorced in 1984, and my dad’s been married to his second wife for almost as long as he was to my mum.

When I was growing up, I can remember a white album of photos of my parents’ wedding; each page separated by crisp film-like paper. I don’t remember all the photos, but I know there was definitely one of my mum with her father and another of my parents cutting their wedding cake. The album has gone; my mum said she took the photos out and threw the book away during one of her house moves.

While I am grateful to have this photo; it also makes me sad. My parents – who are the “star attraction” of the day – are farthest away from the camera. My dad looks happy in a slightly punch-drunk kind of way, but my mother’s expression is unreadable. My grandfather, David Leslie, in the immediate foreground seems to share my mum’s expression, and in fact the only people who look like they are having fun are my mum’s mother, Margaret Ramsay (nee Cruden) and my dad’s brother (also called David Leslie). My aunt Sandra, at the far end of the table looks like she’s realised she’s missing out on something.

The only other photo that seems to have survived of that wedding is this one:

My parents' wedding: left to right, my maternal grandfather, David Ramsay; my great aunt, Elizabeth Forbes and my great grandparents, Katherine and Alexander Cruden.

My parents’ wedding: left to right, my maternal grandfather, David Ramsay; my great aunt, Elizabeth Ford (nee Elder) and my great grandparents, Katherine and Alexander Cruden.

My grandad Ramsay, on the left, looks happy – although you can’t really see his face. He had five daughters and my mum was the fourth he’d walked down the aisle. Next to him is my great aunt Bessie. She was my paternal grandmother’s younger sister, and, being a widow, seemed to accompany my similarly widowed grandfather David Leslie to family events. Closest to the camera, and looking like they were enjoying themselves are my great grandparents – my mum’s mother’s parents. Alexander and Katherine (nee Black) – whom I’ve written about before – were married for sixty two years, until my great grandad’s death. Knowing that my ancestors all seemed to have large families, and also tended to stay in the same area all their lives, I can’t imagine how many weddings my great grandparents had been to by the time Mum got married. Perhaps, more than anyone else, they’d got the hang of it!

13 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

    • Thank you. I’m so pleased to have this photo as all the others seem to have disappeared, and although my parents aren’t together anymore, it’s nice to remember that they were happy together once.

  1. Many kinds of changes in the story of this photo, and yes the ‘unreadable’ expression on your mother’s face, very perplexing. It seems like the beginning of a novel???

  2. Nice Post, Su! I like the photos. I wish more of them had been saved for your sake, but sometimes that’s just how it goes. I think it’s nice that you have photos of your great grandparents – and the one looks like they are enjoying themselves! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks. I’m glad to have such strong memories of my great grandparents too. I was about 9-10 when they died, and although we’d been living out of the UK for a while, I do remember them being around in my life while I was small. They seemed really old to me, but still really full of life.

  3. Hi Tish; not sure. I’ve been a copywriter for so long I think I’ve lost MY voice, and also possibly the inclination. But you know never know. Thanks for visiting my blog, and for your insightful and kind comments.

  4. Pingback: 4-16-13 Weekly Photo Challenge: Change | The Quotidian Hudson

    • Thanks. I noticed the tea cups too. I know my gran (mum’s side) was very anti-booze, but my dad’s father was an alcoholic and my great grandad had been a publican (The Fife Arms in Milton of Balgonie – it’s still there) so I’m not sure if the wedding was “dry.” I’ll add it to the list of things to ask my mum. ๐Ÿ™‚

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