Sunday, 11 September 2016

Constant Reflections.....

I have received more feedback with regard to Bernard’s deliberations on the Constant Family and I must admit that I did not quite expect the level of interest. My only regret is that he is no longer here with us to witness the response because he would be thrilled. Having left school at fifteen and always finding some subjects exceedingly challenging, Bernard doubted his own ability. He felt his only strength was the capacity to entertain an attentive group with grossly elaborated but highly entertaining `tall tales’. He knew he did that very well indeed but as for writing things down at an easily comprehensible level, there he had misgivings. We had, after much discussion, quite recently agreed to co-operate on a Family Chronicle and it was intended that this would cover both our mother’s side, the Constants and my father’s, the Hendys. Bernard had first started his research in an attempt to get closer to our father who had died when he was four. So he began to send me some of the documents he had composed over the years and I am still hopeful that I will be able to complete the proposed project on his behalf. In depth investigation into matters of family will always reveal issues that those closest to the perceived perpetrators – sons and daughters, even grandsons and granddaughters, will denounce indignantly: `Grandmother Smith was NOT a thief’ - `Grandfather Brown was NOT a drunk’ - `Nobody in our family was EVER convicted of child abuse’ - `Uncle Harry did NOT swindle the neighbours with Black Market goods in WW2’. These outrageous claims emanate merely from the imagination of he who conducted the research in the first place. Even first-hand memories from childhood will be condemned as defamation and deceit if they do match the pristine and unsullied version of life preferred by other family members. I discovered this myself following my brother’s death earlier this year and was astonished by the level of venom and malice hurled at me by one relative. Happily from the distance of a couple of generations, perception changes because the enquirer looking into the past wants to discover Truth – not concealment and misrepresentation - not whitewash! As for what has been turned up about the lives of the Constant clan in the first quarter of the twentieth century, their descendants appear to be both non-judgmental and interested. Patricia rightly points out that time itself changes the way we perceive events. Amanda says she is proud to be a part of the Constant clan. She too wonders how our own children and grand-children will interpret our actions in our present lives in times ahead. Debi, whilst agreeing that the Constants are a funny bunch, adds that she too is proud of being a part of that bunch! And Tyler and Leighton, who both independently found me by email, have been highly amused by my brother’s account and want to hear more! Bernard Hendy would be delighted, or as we say in local parlance – he would be stoked!

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