I grew up in a close nuclear family, mum, dad, my sisters and me. Relatives, other than invented ones, were never present. We did occasionally visit Aunty Ethel and uncle Frank but we knew these were just made up names for mum or dads friends.
The only time we saw actual family flesh and blood was the annual drive from England to Sweden. Other than that my knowledge of extended family relationships consists of little more than occasional but precious, momentary ramblings where family history slipped into the public domain and onto my young ears. One such story repeated on several occasions, thereby likely to be more than purely family fable, is about my maternal grandfather. A man I never met.
He was a taxi driver based in London and being of proud German heritage insisted on displaying a portrait of the Kaiser in his front room. My dad met mum during world war two , quite understandably portraits of German personalities, especially military figures, were not that fashionable. My dad would recall tales of bricks being thrown through windows . This attempt to educate my granddad into a more contemporary interior design sense and bring about political correctness had little impact on him. The bricks missed the target and the portrait remained.
While the whole truth may never come to light further insights have been gleaned. Upon the death of my mum it became clear that she had left Germany in the 1930’s. Something never mentioned to me during her life was that she was jewish which makes me that way , not by faith but by lineage. So in a strange twist of fate and in a very round about way, I owe my life to Mr. Hitler’s Hatred for the Jewish race. Now dont get me wrong I dont see any place for hate filled dogma, but life is strange.
A few years later when dad died, a cupboard full of his papers revealed he was in the RAF and took part in numerous bombing raids on Germany. This was another well kept secret.
So my perspective is not the straight forward , linear process or progression I was taught at school. The reality of life is far more complicated, more complex , more like a mish mash, a collective fumbling, a fusion of what we know and what we think we may know. lots and lots of whistling in the dark. I believe that's a tune worth listening to and worthy of celebrating .
whistling in the dark