These pictures were taken in Larache, 1966, by my great-grandmother (from my father’s side). Just a couple of the snaps taken by an English, very well-to-do family on their holiday abroad, developed and then stuck into an album, which has since yellowed.
Do you want to know what really struck me when I first saw these pictures?
Sure, it has an atmospheric feel and I’ve got a strange hunch that the Grand Hotel is probably still standing in its same spot, not much different. Of course, they’ve been preserved so well for nigh on 50 years. And the printed captions may very well belong to my great-grandfather’s hand.
But it isn’t all those things.
It’s knowing that, at that point in time, some 300 miles south of that city, was a baby girl - probably just on the threshold of going from crawling to toddling about. That baby girl already had 3 older siblings, curly dark hair and golden brown eyes, like slightly burnt caramel. Her parents could have no idea that her fate would be inextricably linked to the then-3-year-old grandson of this English couple.
It lingers with me still; whenever I peruse these photos, I don’t just see pictures but thin golden threads of my family’s past, intertwining - close but not quite touching, a whisper’s breadth away.
The Moroccan side and the English side for so long in my mind had been separate, almost completely unconnected even; but here is proof that their existences were not so far apart, after all.
How can mere moments captured from so long ago create such waves now?