Thursday, 1 September 2011
Making a connection
This week it was the actor Larry Lamb. And what a story! He came from a family of well-known showmen and wild beast menagerie owners. One great-great uncle, called James Day, was a lion tamer known as Jimmy Wildbeast (see pic), while his other, more famous great-great uncle was Thomas Day, alias Martini Bartlett – king of the lion tamers. Fantastic! But alongside the surprising characters, was the rather sad story of Larry's mum who had been adopted and always hoped to see her birth mother again. Unfortunately, she never did.
In every episode I've watched over the years, there is always a moment where even the seemingly 'hardened' celebrities start to get emotional. Jeremy Paxman being a case in point. Sometimes it's because they feel sorry for ancestors who have suffered or fallen on hard times. Or perhaps they have met up with relatives they never knew existed. But last night, Larry Lamb became very emotional as he realised he had more in common with his ancestors than just looks or characteristics. After explaining he had found strength from knowing who his grandparents were, he wanted to say something else, but had to take a moment to compose himself. When he did, he said "Because you're just a part of the journey yourself".
I thought his strong reaction to this notion was both interesting and very moving. Like many people, I've attempted to trace my family tree and, alongside the thrill of making a connection to certain people in a certain place during a certain point in history, is the realisation that, like them, we are born, live, love, laugh, cry... and die. Here one moment, gone the next. That is our connection. It's the same journey, just different outfits.
Posted by Nicola at 11:47