Thursday 15 April 2010

How can you buy the sky?


The Illustration Friday prompt for this week is ‘Linked’.  That got me thinking…

“In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, the bridge to our future.”

~ Arthur Haley ~


** Warning:  This is a self-indulgent, nostalgic pictorial meander. Switch off now if you think

you might gag! **




A visit with Grandma

You must keep the land and air apart and sacred
as a place where one can go
to taste the wind
that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.
The voice of my grandmother said to me:
Teach your children what you have been taught.
The earth is our mother.
What befalls the earth
befalls all the sons and daughters of the earth



My Grandfather – Scotland 1951 


My Grandmother  - en route somewhere! 

Daddy.Cape Town '50

My Papa – Cape Town 1950

Mama.Cape Town 1950

My Mama – Cape Town 1950

How can you buy the sky?
How can you own the rain and the wind?
My father said to me,
I know the sap that courses through the trees,
as I know the blood that flows through my veins.
We are part of the earth as it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters.
The bear, the deer, the great eagle,
these are our brothers.
The rocky crests, the meadows, the ponies,
all belong to the same family.
The voice of my ancestors said to me.


Us - Janie, Tessa, Papa, Mama 


You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers.

So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the Earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the Earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know - the Earth does not belong to man - man belongs to the Earth.

This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family.

All things are connected.


Australia.1st visit

First visit to my Mama’s homeland – Queensland, Australia

mbabane market.swazi'73

The Boy in The Landrover – Mbabane Market, Swaziland

(Click here for that story) 

family 022

My sister, Janie, in Kenya before flying down to SA to be Bridesmaid Par Excellence

lloyd tristino-africa-europa-brochure-

Honeymoon memorabilia 

Georgina Clarissa Edwards 001 

More honeymoon memorabilia - ‘it’s not a’s a bog brush!’

kano mosque.nigeria

A view of the world - Kano, Nigeria.


Shopping (nothing’s changed!)

T&G.camaroon highlands

Christmas – Cameroon Highlands


Ikotapeni River, Nigeria – holding her own with the boys.

Each ghostly reflection
in the clear waters of the lakes
tells memories in the life of a people.
The water's murmur is the life
of your great-great-grandmother.
The rivers are our brothers.
They quench our thirst.
They carry our canoes
and feed our children.
You must give to the rivers
the kindness you would give any brother

G&T watamu

And with the girls – Watamu, Kenya 

home again

Home again. 

girls' safari.easterncape

Just before a bean - Garden Route, Eastern Cape.

New Bean 001

And along came the Bean!

Laughing Bean

Laughing Bean

Caribbean Bean

Caribbean Bean – USVI 


English Bean

Beani.St Thomas

Thoughtful Bean – Mafolie, St Thomas USVI


Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.


Next Pictorial Episode of my tribe’s evolution?

In a couple of days….

**PS – I’d LOVE to read about YOUR tribe.  Please let me know if you do decide to do a blog post like this one!**

Poetry excerpts:  Attributed to Chief Seattle, but there is debate as to whether it was written in 1971 by Ted Perry, the screenwriter for the 1972 fim ‘Home’


Merry ME said...

So glad you are back. Hope you are feeling good again. Loved the pictorial of your tribe. All I know about the places you mention comes from books and movies. It must have been lovely to have lived it.

Jocy said...

How wonderful! I loved this. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

So wonderful.
I think the poem was a native American one?
Your father looks most dashing and glam.
such places you've been to!
I look forward to the next exciting installment!

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Heart-warming Tessa. What a beautiful family!

Tess Kincaid said...

You and your family are such beautiful people. I thoroughly enjoyed this, Tessa. By the way, since my real name has been revealed in the blogosphere, you should know my name is Tess!

Carol said...

What a fantastic post!! You have a beautiful family!!

I will definitely try and do a post like this one but I will have to wait till the next time I'm up in Scotland to get the photo's!!

Your picture arrived in the post today. It's absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to frame it and put it up on the wall....I know just where I'm going to put it!!

C x

Tess said...

Tessa ... what an absolutely charming and touching meander this was! Beautiful :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh my dear, you come from a family of film stars! I absolutely adored every inch of this. Thank you!

Tristan Robin said...

What a fun and loving post - great photos, great memories.

I wish I could do such a post. My grandparents came here during WWII - they escaped from Germany with nothing except what could be sewn in their clothing. So, no family photos, mementos, heirlooms, etc.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I loved this. Am wondering about doing one of my own but not sure that photos of my family can be shared without talking to them (I am very publicly who I am on my blog so there is no anonymity to hide behind!) Lovely photos though. I like the Australia one particularly!

Holly said...

I adored this visit. Adored it. Hugs from across the pond!

pink dogwood said...

Oh my God - I love this post. You are all so beautiful

Rosaria Williams said...

Lovely journey, Tessa. Thanks for sharing. I started a memoir blog. Check it out by going to my profile and linking there.

Janelle said...

stunning gorgeous beautiful! loved looking at these and reading...funny enough also been feeling terribly nostalgic and got out all the OLD piccies last night...going back to great grannies and were fascinated. me too...thanks for sharing and look forward to many more, yes please! lots love x j

Val said...

beautiful in every way Tessa - your words are amazing, and gorgeous photos . I loved this visit with you all. thank you xx

Sarah Lulu said...

Oh my ...some of those photos had me swooning.


Thank you for sharing them.

I have a few of my family on mine today.

Angela said...

How very strange - in my last two blogposts I was doing just the same, thinking of my grannies and we are all part of the past. It must be in the air, somehow.
Beautiful memories, Tessa. Such a nice family.

Linda Sue said...

LEGS! that go from way down there to way up there! LEGS! what a gorgeous family- great genes, you all have done the world a favor , passing those on.
I would love to do a post like this one,IF I can be in your family and use your stuff...wonderful Tessa!

DILLIGAF said...

What a cracking post!!!

Thank you for that!!!

My tribe?

Might just do that sometime.

L'Adelaide said...

did you all get all the legs? not fair, not fair at fact, stinky not fair.

this was beautiful, beautiful everything, everyone, everywhere, everyword ;)

Tessa said...

Hi there sweet Merry Me! Thank you for your well wishes..I'm getter stronger 'pole-pole' (as they say in the tropics!) And yes, I've been - and still am - so very, very lucky to have been able to live in the places I have and to experience first hand the lives of so many wonderful people.

Hi Jocy - thanks you very much for stopping by....I'm so pleased you enjoyed the journey!

Hello Elizabeth - I got so carried away reliving all those times, that I forgot to mention the poetry excerpts! There is some debate as to who actually wrote those words...Chief Seattle or a scriptwriter for the 1971 film 'Home'. (PS. Do hope we finally get to meet up in May in London!)

Hi dear Bonnie...thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed my moments of nostalgic self-indulgence!

Tess! How amazing, Willow, that we share the same name (almost) wonder I find so much on your blog that I can totally relate to. The books you read, the films you love, your all just goes click, click, click! Wonderful!

Carol! YAY! I'm thrilled to bits and pieces that you like your picture. And yes, please get those photos from Scotland and share them with your bloggy pals.

Tess (another kindred spirit who shares the same name!) So glad you liked these pictorial reminiscences.

Pamela - what a lovely thing to say! Not film stars by any stretch of the imagination...maybe just the sheer fun of being alive makes us look as we do! Happiness makes us all look pretty darn good, don't you reckon?

Tristan, you know what? I truly believe that photographs may well be wonderful reminders of the past, but the story of your family's flight from the horrors of war..and their survival in a new world is worth more than mere is that exceptional story which is the ultimate treasure. One from which each and every one of us can learn something of enormous and lasting value.

Elizabethm - thank you so much for taking the time to visit and to browse through those photos. I understand what you mean about letting it all go public, but, hey, if there are skeletons in any closet I reckon you should let 'em dance! (My grandparents - the paternal ones you see in these photos - got divorced way back in the 30s which at the time, was SCANDALOUS behaviour...particularly as they were Catholic!)

Your Hollyness - how lovely to see you ...thank you for visiting!

Pink Dogwood - as I said to Pamela, not beautiful...just healthy and happy. And lucky to have lived the lives we have lived -and are living right here and now!

Dear Rosaria - you are such a truly wonderful friend, thank you. Oh, and I can't WAIT to catch up on your memoir blog - I read the first few posts before we left for Cape Town, so I now have a race to catch up!

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely beautiful. I love this should be in every classroom...I am going to put it on my wall. Thank you :)
Your family is beautiful and an adventurous by the looks of your photos.
I have done a similar post with many more to come.
I am making an album in cloth using some of the photos from the album in the post I linked to.
My last two posts are about a vacation in Berlin, Germany with my son and his family, that live in Denmark...I live in the US originally from Iceland.

Lori ann said...

oh dear tessa,

i don't think i've ever read a blog post so slowly. and while holding my breath. i wish i could have you put into words for me what i'd like to say, because i know you could do it so much better than i. BUT this was FABULOUS. Your family is stunning, beautiful, gorgeous. You are two million times all these things. every single photo.

i felt so many emotions while reading this post, but the thing that stuck out the most was that i don't have that many photos of myself with my family or children and maybe that's why i take zillions of my own family.

anyway, i enjoyed this more than you could know and one of the things i have been wanting to do is make some sense of the photos i have. i know i will now, thanks to you. and if i do, i'll try for a post too.

much love to you,

Tessa said...

Yoli - Thank you for stopping by. It is wonderful, isn't it, to know that we all have our very own connections. And yes, no matter what, we DO need them.

Hello wild African cowgirl! Would LOVE, LOVE to see piccies of your tribe. The ones I've seen already - on your blog - make me want to persuade Sam Mendes or someone equally talented to cast the House on the Hill clan in a movie!

Dear Val - thank you for that...I'm so pleased you enjoyed the journey, albeit a rather self-indulgent one!

Sarah Lulu! Lovely to see you. I'll be right on over to your place to check out some of your tribe!

Angela...strange how there are moments when one's family just fill your heart and head completely? I must try and pop over to read your thoughts and reminiscences about your clan.

Linda are such a sweetheart...thank you - *blushing madly*! We may all have long legs, but most of us are slightly bonkers!

I say old chap...we'd love to see The Four Dinners tribe. Please?

Linda are you feeling angelface? Yeah, long legs...not good on airplanes!

Moaromigboyles - it's wonderful to meet you. I'd love to see your travel journals and photographs. I've never been to Berlin, so that city is right at the top of my great to read your take on it.

Oh darlingest Lori - I can't begin to explain how much your comments here have meant to always seem to know exactly where I'm coming from - everytime. You are my earth angel. Seriously. Oh, and please, please do your own tribe blog post. How perfectly perfect that would be. xxxx

Carol said...

Just popped over to let you know that there is an award for you over at mine :-)

C x

kj said...

tessa, i held my breath reading this and when i saw lori's comment that she held her breath too i understood that you have weaved a masterpiece here.

i savored every single word. the reverence for our earth and sky and oceans, our families, our tribes: i can't imagine anyone creating something more beautiful and topical than you have done here.

beyond the universality, tessa, it is a such a privilege to see and feel your family. i don't think my Mother preserved our childhood pictures and we traveled so very little, but you have nudged me toward a quest of seeing what remains in my own family history. my daughter and i chronicle our lives and children and everyone we love and i will try to share that piece of life as you have.

i loved the poem(s). i've been thinking about tribes, tessa. research says we can handle up to 250 members in a tribe: family and community we cherish and protect.

thank you for being part of my tribe, tessa. you have been since the first day.


kj said...

oh! how could i neglect to say how very beautiful your grandmother, parents, children, sister, you.

i love handsome families.


Herrad said...


Please could you go and visit The Wheel of Fortuna and leave a supportive message for Steve.

His partner BobRobert is in the local hospice and is not expected to live much longer.

It is not so long since his diagnosis which makes it all even more sad.

Thanks for your support.


Tessa said...

kj - thank you for your beautiful words. Oh, how I would love to see your history unfold..please share?

Carol! Wowww, thanks - I'll be over in a jiffy!

Dear Herrad...of course. I'm going there right now.

Maithri said...

I'm breathless. The singular love story of a truly beautiful family... and that photo in Mbabane has my heart... I could almost see myself getting down from the bus rank and meeting you there...

Much love, Much love,


Bee said...

Your tribe are true citizens of the world. It was wonderful to see your family -- all of you so good-looking!

And why do old pictures have such an elegance to them?