Like most children, I believed my Scottish grandfather had been put on this earth solely for my pleasure and had arrived in the world possessing white hair, false teeth, horn-rimmed spectacles and a thickening waist. The idea that he was once a boy or a young man was impossible to countenance. Even the fact that he was my mother’s father was a struggle to imagine, although in my mind I managed this great leap by picturing him as looking and acting the same, only behaving much more strictly. I knew that he had not indulged my mother as much as he did her children because I was always being told how lucky I was that I could get up to much more nonsense yet not be scolded. However, my mother also said that in relation to my grandmother her father had always been more easy going as a parent, and so it was not so difficult for him to segue into the archetypal grandfather role.
Yet now I can see from the photographs of my grandfather as my mother’s father that his physical change over the decades was actually more of a gradual one. In the above image, he is clearly at the half-way stage between the young man of his courting days and the elderly one who crawled around on all fours, imitating a bear and allowing me to ride on his back (until my mother put an end to the game for fear of Grandad ‘doing himself a mischief’).
Read more of this post at my new family history blog: A Scottish Family Album.
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!
The Incidental Genealogist, January 2023