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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16. Autobiography (7) Sketch: Barry 3 months

I've been looking through family photographs a lot lately. Like most of the things in my life, my photographs are not well ordered. I vaguely recalled that there was a photo of my father, dressed in his Sunday best, holding a baby. Last night I discovered that I had two copies of the photo.

I'd never before checked the back of the photo; it had sat in its place in one of those adhesive-backed albums with the plastic cover sheet. I peeled the photo off, to scan it. That's when I noticed the inscription. It's in my mother's hand, I think:

Barry 3 months

My father looks happy.

It's quite probably the first photograph of me as a child, and I have the strong feeling that it was taken on the day Mum and Dad and my Uncle Ken and cousin Thelma drove to North Fitzroy, to The Haven, the Salvation Army Home for Unmarried Mothers, to 'collect' me and take me home.

That was in late September or early October, 1943. In which case, my mother's inscription is technically incorrect. She was being a little premature. At the time of the photo, I was still legally Richard Charles Bertram. I did not become Barry William Carozzi until October 11, 1943, when the court proceedings were finalised, and my adoption was complete.

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