This is how it feels when your child is on the other side of the world during a pandemic

For families separated by coronavirus, one of the only silver linings is that technology can at least bring them closer together, writes Jenny Eclair

Monday 21 June 2021 21:30
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<p>In New Zealand, but only a video call away...</p>

In New Zealand, but only a video call away...

I found a black and white photograph at my mother’s flat some months ago. Taken in Malaysia in the early Sixties, it features a children’s blackboard, on which the words “Happy Xmas Nanna and Poppa” are neatly chalked. The blackboard was presumably a gift for my four-year-old sister – I’d have been 18 months old, born in Kuala Lumpur when my father was stationed there by the British army.

The photograph had been sent to my grandparents, living in Blackpool, anxious for news from so far away. Communication wasn’t what it is today – I doubt my parents even had a phone. My mother would have written frequent airmail letters in her terrible handwriting, but laboriously sending photographs would have been another way of “keeping in touch”.

Photos were the only real evidence of my existence, the granddaughter they had to wait a couple of years to see in the flesh. Instead, they made do with black and white snaps of a maggoty-white, mostly bald baby. I wonder whether my nanna showed these to her friends or kept them hidden in her purse? I really wasn’t the cutest.

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