This is the first part with more coming as I found enough great images for two posts.
Oh to be here.
The trade winds gone off somewhere but back soon. Afternoon on the verandah in the old army barracks just up the hill from the beach.
Decades lived and not ending up where one would have thought. Bombay, London, and then first one West Indian island and then another. Weather better than England but the work much the same.
Like the stories Father told about the army moving him around but different. All French places, those were. French then, they were, but the family morphed somehow into an English speaking British bunch since.
The same tropical trees and almost the same smells. A going back if one squeezes one’s eyes tight enough shut.
The scent of curried goat from somewhere down the hill and music the other way. Mother in a sari and Father coming in the house in his cavalry boots with the heavy noise they made against the tile. A nurse whispering in at the other end of the verandah in the same sort of sing-song lilt.
But not the same. Life comes and gone, and India left. But still, things to hold in one’s hand that bring it back. Prickly and studded brighter than the sun. A turban ornament, but funny. Cartier, not Indian, really, but a shop in Paris where the cousins lived. For one of the grand balls they held in 1903 when the king’s brother came out from London. Delhi Durbar and everyone positively dripping diamonds.
Not exactly gone. . . well mostly. . . .Emeralds up and left but in one’s mind. . . .nothing ever really gone if you remember it . . .
This is not my story. It is, rather, the story of my Saint Lucian friend, Charles C., who was old when I was young. Son of a high caste Indian lady and a French army officer at the turn of the last century in Bombay, a time when that was not supposed to be.
Oh to be here.
Bungalow on the outside of town with the trade winds going like mad. 1965 and 1966 soon to be born.
Grandmother gone but the house shut up since. The little house rented out to tourist people but the big house empty. Down for Christmas and Mother opening up the closet in the hall.
Things needing to be gone through and given out. A brass box covered with maharajahs hunting elephants from the old days. Grandfather’s own grandfather the one on the top must be.
So rich and a palace with gems the size of a tennis ball or so they say. Dancing girls around every corner and who knows what else.
Grandmother, too. A governess, the aunties say, swept off her feet under a different tropical sun by a gentleman with a wild look in his eye and a diamond the size of a plum stuck to his shirt.
That lost in a poker game and everyone off to somewhere in Empire. India to Uganda and then Singapore. Grandmother always wanting to get back to Wales but no. Had to be somewhere warm.
Time and more time. The closet done and the rest begun. Pictures to take down with each one kissed. Pictures of aunts and uncles from wherever they ended up. Left behind in different places, no life left at home and a new home somewhere where whoever it is in Buckingham Palace still reigns. A real home wherever one was born and the others not.
But the last picture with another inside. Flowers it is. But the English country garden kind in the pale colors places with pale suns always have. Great grandmother’s it must have been from the big house they had to sell.
Everything gone but still. . . . . things scattered around to remember with . . . forever to remember them in.
Artwork in the public domain.
Follow me here, on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and shortly on Patreon.com for more from the place where history and art collide. Even I don’t know where I’m going next.
Check out my books at www.amazon.com/Sarah-B-Guest-Perry/e/B014JZMU4K/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1