February 27th, 2011

Canary Wharf

Nineteenth-century visitors

In the middle of the afternoon, the doorbell rang. Two women stood at the door, excited, emotional. Their many-times-great grandfather was the first owner of our house, and had lived here for at least forty-some years, according to the census data. They had black-and-white photos of their ancestors. He'd been a local police constable. In one photo, the couple were standing by a fence, outdoors, in what they were sure was our garden. (No point really looking now: the garden was entirely redone within the last decade.)

Their son was killed in WWI and is listed on the local monument. After they left, I looked up the census data myself out of curiosity, and then the son. He's buried near Lille. I have never been so tempted to seek out the grave of someone else's family member, should a road trip ever bring us near there in the future.