Archive

My Family in Photobooths

This is Lindsey. As mentioned in my post Della Time Machine Linds is the hospitable hubby of the Holbrook household. For many years, he was pretty much the only man in a house full of kids and manic foreign women. Taking in boarders was Del’s thing and Linds went patiently along for the ride, come what may. There was the occasional male boarder, warmly embraced by him, as a slight antidote to the mayhem of the overwhelming majority of female guests. Like Del, he was generous and welcoming to all. He was and still is a humorous, patient Dad and an affectionate friend.

Looking at these photos I find it fun to see the strong resemblance between him and his son, Rich, who is now about the same age as Linds would be in the first photo.  I am not sure if he knows I have these booth pics of him. They arrived one day in the post from London, as a delightful surprise present from Del along with other family photobooth pics.

My Grandma Parkes was everything a grandmother should be. She was kind, a patient teacher (I learned numerous crafts from her), cuddly and a great cake baker. She was a professional musician all her life, working as piano accompanist to my grandfather Cecil, who played the violin. I was very fortunate to have been able to spend one night a week with both my grandparents for the whole of my final year at Loreto, Mandeville Hall. Ceramics was not offered there at that time, so I went each Wednesday night to classes at Hawksburn, a short walk from Grandma and Grandpa’s home. We invariably had chops and boiled veggies for dinner.  I loved it!

This photo of May Parkes (née Broderick) was taken in the late 1980s for a passport for a trip to New Zealand. I wish she had stepped into a photobooth more frequently as I’d love to have one or two booth pics of her as a young woman. She was a most attractive lady in her heyday.

Although I didn’t manage to get my Mum and Dad into a photobooth in London, they promised to keep an eye out for a booth on their travels.  They posted this to me when they returned to Australia.  It cracked me up. I love Dad’s stunned mullet look and the action of his leaving the booth before the last shot was taken. It still makes me smile. Mum is looking joyous: she was very excited by her European travel adventure.

This pic was taken in Switzerland in May 1994.  My Mum had never left Australia before and it was only my Dad’s second overseas trip, having come over to London for the first time in 1989 to nurse me after I was discharged from Hither Green Hospital .

2 April 1994, London

It had been many months since I had seen my Susie. She was visiting from Dublin where she was working as a nanny and taking advantage of the wild 90s club scene there.  Up until yesterday, I would have described her as a “party girl” but having only just learned this has pejorative connotations, courtesy of an episode of Madmen, I had better not. She has always loved people, fun and up until recent years, big eyebrows. Stop the plucking and bring ’em back, Sue-poo, I miss them.

This is the first of many occasions when I have been photographed in a photobooth with my darling baby sister.  We were at the post office at Charing Cross on our way to meet our parents, who were visiting London for the first time together. We each took two of the strip of four pics.

Del was my landlady in London.  She is also Rosie’s mum.  Del took in boarders for many years.  I think I was the only one they were never quite able to get rid of. Living with the Holbrooks meant fraternising with diverse people through a succession of boarders of many nationalities and with their friends from all over the world. Del and her spouse, Lindsey, were the epitome of hospitality and generosity, often, with patience and humour, putting up with the foibles and troubles of, mainly female, under 25 year old strangers.

I cannot list how many times Del collected me or dropped me at train stations or airports and offered me other kindnesses and support.  In 1989, I contracted hepatitis from another boarder who had just returned from Africa. I was admitted to a distant hospital, yet with all Del had on her plate as a mother of two young kids, I received regular visits from her. I was at Hither Green in the infectious diseases isolation ward. One day she brought the kids, Ros and Rich, with her. They were only allowed to stand outside the door and wave as I was still in quarantine. It was such a lovely gesture and a massive boost to my morale. Also, due to her thoughtfulness, I did not die of starvation on the ghastly NHS rations and was also saved from 10 days of boredom due to her lending me a tiny portable TV. All that love, along with magical Christmasses, birthdays and many other fun experiences plus their continuing friendship, makes me count all the Holbrooks as a very special part of my extended family.

I first met Rosie in London, when she was 7 years old. I was one of the many boarders from around the world that her mum took in. Although none of the above photos are dated, the second pic is how I remember her looking at that age.  Ros came to visit me in Australia when she was 16, for a one month stay and we catch up via email and whenever I visit London. I think of her as my second little sister and love her dearly. When she was ten or eleven she gave me a new nick name, Kitty. Ros was the first person to call me that, which I found delightful!  She more often calls me Kit-Kat these days.

Now in her early thirties, Ros is newly married and a successful academic. She still has the same cheeky sparkle in her eyes that she did when she was little.

October 2011

October 2011

There are now many different types of photobooth offering a huge array of options for your pics.  My brother and sister-in-law, niece and nephew brought this one back for me from their first trip to Europe. I love the way the whole family squeezed in. They were somewhere in France, I think. I am thrilled they thought of me while there and remembered my photobooth addiction. They also gave me a luxurious, pink, heart-shaped gift-tin of delicious Fauchon chocolates. How spoilt am I?

I love the sepia toning of the colours, possibly produced due to blocked lights from so many people squishing in. What a wonderful effect the repetition has on the image, though we couldn’t figure out why it would come without the removable sticker feature you normally get with this format.

%d bloggers like this: