The Twin Thing

I was given this photo when I was pregnant. I meant to share it then, but I never got around to it. It is of my Great-Grandmother McKay, sitting with her three eldest daughters, and behind her her sister holding my Grandfather and his twin sister Nan.
I came across it as I was tidying my desk today and thought I'd share it anyway. Family legend has it that my Grandfather and his sister only weighed 2lb each when they were born and they had to be fed from a tiny  spoon, as they didn't know how to suckle - it's a wonder they even survived! My Great-Grandmother didn't even know she was having twins and when Nan was born first she thought 'Oh lovely! Another girl' (or something along those lines...) and went about getting herself tidied up. All of a sudden my tiny Grandfather made an appearance and then there were two!

I'm not sure where the photo was taken, but I imagine it was somewhere in Co. Cork as that was where the family happened to be living when my Grandfather was born (they traveled a lot with my Great-Grandfather's work in Customs and Excise) The house behind them looks both grand and decrepit with it's big window and a cornice of some sort around the door - but there's a broken pane of glass and everybody looks a little disheveled. I wonder what is growing on that frame in the foreground - raspberries? beans? roses?

It's really a 'snapshot' of an era (late 1920's/early 1930's Ireland) rather than a 'portrait' -it seems that they gathered for the photo on the spur of the moment in their everyday clothes. I'm sure for a 'portrait' their bob's would have been coiffed and their Sunday best donned - but I love it all the more for that - for it's simplicity - how easy they all seem together, the expressions on the children's faces and the imperfections in plain view.

1 comment

  1. i love photos like this, I got a book of our townland for christmas, and it has pictures of most of the families in it. There's a great one of my grand uncle's family, with barefoot kids and some in wooden clogs (the work and everyday shoes used in my area, up until the fifties or sixties, leather shoes were only for sunday!).

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