Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Times

1972 04 02 Capuchos_2A (2)

My sisters, my cousins and I in April 1972. I was 4, my cousin Bli was 3, blue-eyed sis was 2, my youngest sister and my cousin Miguel were 1. We were looking at a barking dog, all of us either mesmerized or terrified. I cherish this picture because it's one of the very few where all five of us are together.

We were very, very close when we were children, had endless fun playing our own make believe versions of "Space 1999" and Enid Blyton's Famous Five, looking for treasure (irony of ironies, us looking for treasure when the biggest treasure was ours already) and adventure in settings where adults intervened much less than what is present day norm. We had plenty of energy, imagination and will to have fun. At least three of us were completely and almost insanely fearless (although we did try not to upset the grown ups so that they wouldn't bother us back). And yes, I was the leader of the pack.

We started growing apart during the American years. Then, shortly after we moved back to Lisbon, my cousins moved to Brussels. Then I got married. Then Miguel got married and went to live in Paris. Then Bli got married. Then I came to the UK. Life pulled each one of us in a different direction and although we all still love each other dearly we hardly get together anymore. The rides that have brought us to where we are now have been bumpy for all five of us. But then again, bumps can be good if you survive them. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? And there are still some major bumps ahead.

I miss the innocence.

10 comments:

João said...

Se tiveres a oportunidade, Claudia, dá uma olhada a um livrinho chamado The traveller, é de Daren Simkin, acho que vais gostar.
Innocence becomes you.

Trulyfool said...

Sounds very loving. My understanding of such things comes from outside. Only child. Quiet, shy. Rich imaginative life based on the expedient falsities of movies. Reality not founded as yours has been. (You're richer for that.)

Peter said...

I was an only child, but have a lot of cousins. As in your case, marriages and moving around made us more or less lose contact... but now we try to meet, all together, some 15 of us. Maybe a bit of nostalgia coming with the age? I’m now supposed to organise a cousin meeting in Paris!

Claudia said...

João, vou requisitá-lo na biblioteca, obrigada.

Claudia said...

Truly, I never had had to dream up imaginary friends, like so many only children seem to do. I feel lucky for having belonged to a cohesive and loving family when I was a child.

Claudia said...

Peter, organizing a gathering in Paris for 15 cousins who are spread all over the world sounds like a lot of work and also a lot of fun!

Ruth said...

I've enjoyed your old photos a lot. This one is splendid! Finding that wall for the perfect lineup portrait. Knowing you were all looking at a dog explains those various looks, so sweet! I like your matching skirts. I can't tell if your sister is laughing and clapping, or crying! And your youngest sister is holding her bankey? And wow, Miguel, all those diapers stuffed into his pants! :)

I envy your close sisters, close in age. Mine were 10, 11 and 13 years older, I had 3 brothers closer in age, but still much older. I didn't really know how to play as a little girl, it was all boy games and I wasn't good at them. Like baseball. And trucks.

I had one cousin, distant, and she died young. Now I watch our children with their cousins and I love the richness of that.

Claudia said...

Ruth, that's one thing I'm sorry about reagarding my children, they don't have first cousins and have never enjoyed the same sort of creative and playful family environment I enjoyed when I was their age. They have loads of things and experiences I didn't have and I'm sure they'll look back on their own childhood with fondness but it's a very different kind of "richness".

rauf said...

You say you are not tall but you ARE the tallest here Claudia, all are shorter than me in my family (including all my cousins), i grew up thinking that i am tall, actually i am not, when i step out of my house., and when i stand next to Gregory Peck.
Not there ?
oh yea i get into imaginary dialogue with him too.

Claudia said...

I love Gregory Peck. Please tell him when you next talk to him, rauf, I don't have the guts.