Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A broken frame

It's not a big deal. My daughter broke the frame that held a photo of her great-grandfather on a polo pony. But because it was broken, I decided to take the photo out and scan it.
Here is Great-Grandfather Jules Macaire on a bob-tail polo pony around 1930.

I never met him. He died at a relatively young age. A polo accident when he was only 35 left him paralysed on one side, and it affected his health.
He ran a riding academy out of a small stables in Neuilly. During the war, the academy and horses were confiscated. When the war finished, he went back to teaching riding and polo. His son took over when his health failed, but never really made a success of the riding school. When Jules died, his son (my husband's father) moved the ponies to the Bagatelle club in Paris, then sold the stables for a pittance to a developer for apartment buildings.
Family fortunes move up and down. I can follow my husband's family fortune as it slowly sank. War, health problems, and financial mismanagement depleted the fortune, and today, of the riding stables and farm they once owned, there is nothing left. It's sad. Only a few pieces of furniture remain that speak of bygone days. A bronze statue of two horses, an ebony table inlaid with ivory, a few knick-knacks. And a photgraph with a broken frame.




8 comments:

Wynn Bexton said...

How unfortunate. A very poignant posting.

Oopsy Daisy said...

I can see why you are a writer. That post pulled the reader in and tied it up very neatly at the end.

I have to relate though. My family in MD owned a large, lare amount of land. My grandparents sold it in 1985. One piece became a riding academy for 20 years. Not too long ago it was sold for millions to a land developer and he put a huge development on the land. You do feel like a big part of your history is gone forever.

Bernita said...

But the courage, the skill, the love remains,Sam.

Travis Erwin said...

The closing of your post ...

Only a few pieces of furniture remain that speak of bygone days. A bronze statue of two horses, an ebony table inlaid with ivory, a few knick-knacks. And a photograph with a broken frame.

... Would make the great start to a novel.

Gabriele C. said...

My family had to flee from the Russians and leave behind land in what's now Poland, and a house in an eastern Germany town we didn't even want back after the reunion when we saw in what bad state of repair it was. Sure, my mother played with the thought, by my brother and I told her off, and so did our cousins. Some memories come with too great a price tag.

Sam said...

Travis - don't get me started...

LOL

Gabriele, that must make for a lot of painful memories. Like you say - the price tag is often very high.

John Nez said...

My grandfather was an artisan glass carver from the Austrian-Hungarian empire. He'd carve those gorgeous cut glass goblets and crystal bowls and mirrors with designs.

But one by one... over the years... they all broke. Now there's scarcely anything left but memories.

And every time one of them was broken, the the many movings across country, there'd be this huge guilt, like it was one more chink out of the legacy.

I guess anyone's lucky to leave much of anything behind that lasts...

Rosie said...

I'm more than a day late and a dollar short here, but I had to comment on how cool it is you have the picture and the history. Yes we live in the present, but the past and our history are us too.

Very cool picture. BTW, I caught the Thursday 12 at KateR's blog. Very nice.