Saturday, June 19, 2010

New England Story - Eve Uzzell

Today on my return from netball I watched, by accident, an ABC TV series that I had never seen before,Eva Uzzell Can we help? I really enjoyed it. In fact, one part reduced me to tears.

Newcastle girl Eve Uzzell was less than one when her father ( a corporal in the Australian Army) was killed in an accident on Stockton Bridge. She never knew him, and always wondered about him, for his death left her mother to bring up the kids alone. It wasn't easy, so her Dad was not discussed. Now she asked the program to find some of his former colleagues. You will find the transcript here.

Do you know, some of the best responses that I have received on my blogs have been simple stories recording details of personal pasts, of family stories. I haven't always been able to follow up people who contacted me in the way I should, but I do greatly value the responses.

We all have a deeply felt need to connect to our own pasts. I think that this need  has become greater as the speed of change has progressively locked the past out. I don't want to argue a case here about the nature of social change or changes in historical research. Rather, I would make the point that as the world changes, becomes clouded, we all tend to look to our own family and clan to provide a sense of personal continuity.

The reason that Eve's story reduced me to tears lay in its humanity. I don't know Eve, although I felt that I did a little after the program. However, I didn't need to know Eve to understand why the meeting with he father's friends (photo above) was important in bringing alive as a person the father she never knew. 

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