One of the issues which I occasionally bring up on this weblog is that despite all the talk about diversity and multiculturalism which most people air rhetorically, I live with diversity and multiculturalism because of my family background everyday (more honestly, whenever I have to engage with my parents). Though aspects such as food and religion are visible and obvious, sometimes it is the small things which are striking. Just today my mother-in-law stumbled upon some old photographs of her mother and uncle as infants. They were fraternal twins, born right at the end of World War I to Norwegian immigrants. Interestingly, my daughter bears a notable resemblance to her great-uncle, more so than to her own great-grandmother!
The peculiar aspect of this is that there are no photographs of me at an equivalent age to serve as a ‘control’ on this comparison. Despite their parents being working-class immigrants (my daughter’s great-great-grandfather was a longshoreman from Norway) my mother-in-law still has nearly century old photographs of her mother and aunts and uncles. In contrast, my father was a college professor in 1970s Bangladesh, whose wife was the daughter of a medical doctor, and yet my parents and their relatives couldn’t be bothered to take and preserve photographs of me. The image on the left, from when I was three years old, is the earliest that is preserved. I can count on one hand the number of photographs of me before the age of five.
I’d be curious about the experiences of readers.