WPC: Family

A little late in the day (at least for my fellow same-time-zone bloggers) to start my new regime but here I begin with this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme which is ‘Family’.  This gives a very broad scope for interpretation as you who regularly read my blog know,  I write about my family life, both past and present, more than anything else.

So how to go about meeting this challenge, which aspect of family life should I write about, what specific photos should I share?

Not ironically, I spent the best part of the day today with my mum and we had a moment or two or reminiscing, as we always do, about the this-and-that of our family.   During the thirty or so minute drive back home, my thoughts drifted back to last year.  To the two weeks I spent in California with my daughter having returned after an absence of ten years and then, to a boating holiday spent on the Norfolk Broads in the early summer for the fist time in over fifteen years.

The resulting association of specific memories with certain photos seemed bizarre at first, the more I drifted, lost in thought, but then it began to make perfect sense.  Family is family, after all, even if it means a gaggle of geese.

So it seemed right to me that the first photo should be one I took on the Norfolk Broads last year of a family of Greylag Geese sunning themselves on the banks of Salhouse Broad on the first morning of our holiday.  Mum emerged from her cabin and threw her arms around me with such excitement that I was afforded a delightful glimpse of her childlike wonderment, not jaded for an instant.

‘The sun is shining!  Did you see those geese over there?  Isn’t it wonderful to be back on the water after so many years!’

I will never forget the look on my mum’s face as she revelled in her moment of holiday-bliss.

Canadian Geese, Norfolk Broads  (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Greylag Geese, Norfolk Broads
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

What then of another, very different family? My childhood family and memories of holidays spent with my mum, dad, brother and grandparents on the Norfolk Broads.

Digging through a time-warp of endless black and whites flitting through my mind and ever thankful that my grandfather was a prolific photographer and cine-film maker, there is one photo that, for me, truly defines the unbridled joy of our care-free smiles preserved for ever in a flash of history, as taken by my mum who inherited her father’s skill and enjoyment of photography.

Me, my brother and grandparents Norfolk Broads 1960s (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

Me, my brother and grandparents
Norfolk Broads 1960s
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2014

So then I ask again; family, which family?  The family life I once had as a girl?  Or the one shared by three people later on, just Mum, my brother and I?  What about the family life that went on to define me,  when it was my turn to be Mom, loving, living, raising, nurturing my three beautiful children for almost twenty years in California?

What then of the warm and loving family life I have now, with my husband and Aspie daughter and visiting sons, returned to and embraced by my extended family, all of whom I missed so terribly when I lived so far away across the sea yet not without having left a part of me behind with my other, never-forgotten family who live there still, some six-thousand miles away?

Yet, as the association continues, it is not surprising to me that in the end the photo that wouldn’t go away is this one.  Think the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz beach.  A day out with my family, a young mom, pushing my baby daughter in her stroller, holding my three-year old younger son’s hand and my eldest son walking beside his father.

My Family on The Boardwalk in Santa Cruz 1992 (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

My Family on The Boardwalk at Santa Cruz 1992
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Think a family on a day out, like any other family, heading back to the car as the day comes to an end for the two-hour drive back home for pizza for dinner and then to watch a movie together on the VCR.  Normal, family life.

Think then of my mother, hanging back, taking photos of the Boardwalk and then, on looking ahead at her daughter and her family walking just ahead of her decides, at that precise moment, to take the shot. Think the click of her camera, the single press of the button, as she captures for all to see the epitome of family life.

The Giant Dipper would have its day.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Family Life, My California, Norfolk Broads, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to WPC: Family

  1. Pat says:

    I love it, Sherri, the sharing of your photos and family moments. The families and events are different yet somehow all seem so familiar. I guess that’s what life is — different chapters — moving us on in the highs and the lows from one adventure to another.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Pat, thanks so much, I’m glad that you enjoyed my second attempt at the weekly photo challenge! I wasn’t sure how to go about this one as the theme of ‘family’ is such a huge one, but I love the fact that they are so open to interpretation. Definitely the highs and lows, the joy and the pain. Life’s rich pattern, eh? 😉

      Like

  2. jennypellett says:

    A great weaving together of photos, memories and your own very personal take on this challenge, Sherri – well done! Love the Norfolk Broads one – I think we’ve spoken before about places we remember there from childhood. We only ever hired day boats from Wroxham or Potter Heigham – I don’t remember – I’d have to consult the Oracle (Mum) on that one – but we had a lovely time and I know that eccentric Uncle Ivor was with us because he was a fab photographer and we have the black and whites to prove it. I’ll have to look them out some time.
    Am liking these challenges – do you win a prize?!!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha!! Prize? Yes!!! Your great comments Jenny, thanks so much! This challenge had so much scope so I am really, really glad that you enjoyed it.

      Yes, we certainly have talked about the Norfolk Broads before – something about your dad in red shorts shouting or was it singing?? I’m sure I must have seen him once upon a time ago…and yes, day boats are hired from both Wroxham, by the bridge, and also Potter Heigham. Things have changed now though, with the holiday boats you have to use a pilot to take you through, and pay them for their trouble. Shame, that was part of the fun, seeing how quickly you could motor through without shearing something off the side… 😉

      Oh yes, would love to see Uncle Ivor’s black and whites of the Broads!

      Like

  3. Heyjude says:

    I just knew that you would rise to this challenge – it is a perfect one for you to launch your new regime – as you write so charmingly and honestly about your family. I suppose that is the thing about families, they are always evolving, nothing ever stays the same. People come and people go; heartbreak, love, separation, pain, happiness and hope – words that depict family life. Captured in a thousand words and one image.
    Nice one Sherri.
    xx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Jude, I’m coming over to you shortly, just catching up (it’s late…..!!!) That is indeed what I wanted to capture, the people who come and go, the joy, the pain, the loss and heartbreak but also the promise of renewed hope and healing and of another chance to start over. In essence, family life and all that comes with it and indeed, all that is embodied within life’s rich pattern 😉 xx

      Like

  4. Steven says:

    Amazing photos, which I think definitely answer the brief. I rather want a goose now.

    Did you go on the Giant Dipper? I’ve done a quick Google and it looks scary.

    How many times have you been to Norfolk on your jollies, then? We may have passed boats at one stage! I used to love our summer boat trips back in the day. Come to think of it, I seem to remember one occasion where a disgruntled woman was yelling at mum and dad – for reasons I forget – as she sailed past; maybe that was you…? 😉

    Heartwarming stuff as ever – I’ve missed this 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha ha! Well, if our experience with geese is anything to go by so far as a pet, I wouldn’t try it. When we lived in Suffolk, a neighbour gave us three as ‘guard-geese’ but they only lasted one night before flying right back to their original owner!

      No Giant Dipper. Never did go back. It was scary. The Boardwalk at Santa Cruz (like our old piers) is one of the oldest in California (I think!) and I’m not sure how old those rides are!

      Up until I was ten years old we took our holidays on the Broads every year, driving all the way from Surrey and back then it took hours. We would leave in the small hours and Mum would make us beds in the back (no seat belts back then ) so we slept most of the way, it was great fun. We used to sail on those bare-bones wooden yachts and I would be really frightened when it would keel over in strong winds but loved it when we would moor up and we would stop for the night, all cosy and safe. Later on we hired motor cruisers but when we moved to Suffolk we often used to take a drive up and hire a day boat just like you. That would have been the 70s. So, I don’t think that disgruntled woman could have been me as I would have been a teenager – I might be Sherri Poppins but I’m not that old, lol 🙂

      Ahh, thanks so much JG, my old (I mean young!!) buddy, so glad that you enjoyed this… 🙂

      Like

      • Steven says:

        Ahh yes, ‘motor cruisers’! Just that term is bring back all sorts of memories. They were what we were often trucked up in. Never commandeered a yacht from what I remember!

        If you’re in Norfolk this summer let me know and we’ll have ourselves a boat race 😉 imagine it; move over Oxford v Cambridge…

        Ha, old is right – I turn 40 on the 31st!! Help. I’m waiting for the anti-ageing cream birthday present from some hilarious soul!

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Oh wasn’t it so much fun to be tucked up inside a motor cruiser….love it 🙂 And yes, if ever back in Norfolk, you will know when you see a crazy women sporting a red, polka dot umbrella (you thought I was going to see bikini didn’t you??!! Ha, as if…..) and a pair of oars you will know it’s me, lol 🙂
          Goodness, the big 4-0. I’ve got to look that cake out now, just in time. Hope you are planning a big party with lots of MJ… 🙂

          Like

  5. Yes, there are all kinds of family. Your take on the challenge is entertaining and sweet as well.

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  6. You are already a pro with these weekly photos challenge, Sherri! Your photo of the Greylag Geese is absolutely beautiful and the pictures of your family, they warm my heart. Beautiful post!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Jill, thanks so much and so glad you enjoyed seeing the Greylag Geese. They looked so serene sitting in the early morning sun that day, it was a lovely sight 🙂

      Like

  7. Imelda says:

    I love your old photos. They speak a lot. What memories they hold.
    I think all the the people you mentioned is family – a unit bound not only by blood relationships and most of all, love and concern for each other. I like your inclusive post. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Many thanks Imelda. I do love the old black and whites, they bring to home such good memories of my earlier childhood, another era! Of course, it is bittersweet since my marriage broke up after 22 years but I hoped I could capture that the family life we once shared together will never be forgotten.

      Like

  8. That old black and white photo sure is a treasure.

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  9. bulldog says:

    I love this post… your families are just what I’d expect… love the geese and then for you to share a little history… brilliant…

    Like

  10. Wonderful post and the connection of narrative to photo is lovely.
    As always, your posts are a delight and thank you for sharing with us!!

    Like

  11. That last photo is just… so wonderful. It truly, truly is. Thanks for sharing!
    Hope you are well, as always 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Many thanks Jennifer, I really appreciate it. That photo tells a story that’s for sure. Sadly my marriage, after 22 years, ended (it was not an easy one) but that was my point…at that precise moment we were a normal, every day family and life carried on for many years. It is these times, captured for ever, that remain in the memories of family lore and as a legacy for my children.
      I am well, thanks for asking, and I hope you are too. Love your new website 🙂

      Like

  12. Seyi sandra says:

    All the photos are wonderful Sherri, thanks for sharing your life with us!
    Much love. 🙂

    Like

  13. mumblypeg says:

    What a delightful post. You did an amazing job of weaving words and pictures, that speak so much of the many sides of family life, past and present. I call all the changes in families, seasons. Just like nature. One season changes and there before you know it there is another one to challenge or delight. Change is here to stay. Love M xxx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much MP, yes, change is here to stay, yet, with photographs a moment is captured for ever and powerful stories can be told in that single snapshot. It was what I hoped to convey and I’m glad that you enjoyed this post. Family is where the heart is 🙂 Much love xo

      Like

  14. What wonderful reflections Sherri. I agree that “family” can take on so many different meanings depending on where we are at in our lives. I love the boardwalk picture. It looks like the quintessential day spent with loved ones 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks so much Heather as always for your lovely words. That last photo speaks volumes to me, as a reminder that we were a young and happy family once, sharing in the everyday family life that seems to normal and something to be remembered with fondness. Sadly my married broke up after nearly 22 years but time moves on and now my children are grown and my ex and I are friends. Now I have my family with my Hubby but ever still with my children, that NEVER changes 🙂 x

      Like

  15. Preeti says:

    What an amazing post…the well knitted narrative and the photographs, especially the B&W one were a treat for any reader. And we all are a ultimately as happy as we choose to be with our families, just like that gaggle of geese!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Preeti. Thank you so much for visiting my summerhouse, I very much appreciate your very kind words and I am so glad that you enjoyed this post and the photos 🙂

      Like

  16. I have to be fast, Sherri. I’m with my mother at her assisted living, and I’m using the computer in the community room (and there’s a sweet old man who’s waiting for his turn). But I just had to write and say how much I enjoyed this post. A gaggle of geese (can’t you just hear them? “Stand still, junior, they’re getting ready to take the picture.”) and then you with your brother and your grandparents, smiling and have a good time.
    It made me happy.
    Okay, the old man is clearing his throat…:(

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, bless you Marylin! You painted such a vivid picture of you managing to grab a few moments on the community room computer with the sweet old man waiting patiently…then clearing his throat so maybe not quite so patient 😉
      Anyway, how lovely of you to take the time to read this post at such a time, thank you so much but more than that, I’m so happy that it made you happy! I love your comment about the geese – and yes, I can just imagine that very conversation! They really were so happy and content, satisfied with their life 🙂 As was I at the time that old black and white was taken with my beloved grandparents. I treasure those days in my heart and always will 🙂

      Like

  17. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: FAMILY | The Adventures of Iñigo Boy

  18. thirdhandart says:

    Great captures! Love the black and white photo of carefree days gone by. Did your Mom catch you sticking your tongue out in a moment of pure joy?
    I think you’ve crafted a perfect entry into the photo challenge Sherri 😉

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha ha! Yes, looks like it doesn’t it!! And to think my mum calls me rebellious… 😉 Thank you so much Theresa, so glad that you enjoyed this family challenge 🙂

      Like

  19. I love the way you’ve made me think about family Sherri and about the different types of family we have as we go through life. You’ve painted pictures in words, as well as in your photos about your experiences (as you always do) that make me remember the texture of a wooden deck beneath my feet, the soft feathers of a goose as it eats out of my hand and the sound and smells of the fairground. Thanks for reminding me of those things and for making me appreciate the different phases of family in my life.

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  20. Family are our priceless treasures. Past or present, remembering and being with them warms our hearts with joy and love that only family gives to each other. Beautiful sharing of your time with your mum, daughter and a glimpse of childhood memories. Best wishes to your family.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Island Traveler for your lovely, kind words. Family is indeed a priceless treasure, never to be taken for granted, not for an instant. I wish the very same and blessings too to you and your family 🙂

      Like

  21. Just wonderful Sherri, both your photos and your writing. I loved the bit about your Mum’s childlike wonderment – not jaded. That is a wonderful memory. You have taken all facets of your family life and blended them in to a wonderful tribute to family.

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  22. PapaBear says:

    Boxes of old photographs… They evoke so many memories and such stories as will never be known to most of the world. Boxes of irreplaceable, priceless treasures. Thanks for sharing, Sherri.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, there is nothing like them is there? Something about those old black and whites especially, I never tire of looking through them. Many thanks for dropping by PapaBear 🙂

      Like

  23. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Family | Through the Eye of Bastet

  24. Family, it’s the most important thing in most of our lives and it’s also the one thing that can hurt us the most.

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  25. I love looking through boxes of old photos, it is so easy to loose several hours doing so! Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh isn’t that the truth! Many hours lost, or maybe gained! Thanks so much for coming over to read this and so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve left a link on your blog to the Norfolk Broads post I meant to mention. I forgot that it is in my Nature & Wildlife category, not family!!
      Hope you are having a great weekend 🙂

      Like

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