It is with great joy that I present to you the first of the 2022 Pinkoramae!
Little did I know when I launched the first Pinkorama (aka Pink Carnation Peep Diorama Contest) back in the mists of time in 2010 that twelve (12!!!!) years later this would be a joyful annual tradition, not just here on the website, but for so many families. Thank you for making the Pinkorama everything it is!
Our first Pinkorama of 2022 comes from the returning mother-daughter team of Carla and Rowan, who present you with “Fall of Popeeps”, from the short story, “The Record Set Right“, in the World War I anthology Fall of Poppies, in which an elderly woman returns to England for the first time in decades to confront the tangled past she left behind– and the man she once loved.
Carla writes, “I really enjoyed the imagery of Camilla sitting at her desk going down memory lane, with the photos and the letter and the boarding pass.”
Below, you can see the memorabilia scattered over Camilla’s desk as she finally allows herself to remember…. (Be sure to look very carefully into those photos to find the hidden Peeps!!)
And her piano, with the mementoes of a long and busy life (and Peeps!):
After decades making a life in Kenya, Camilla reflects on her childhood at Carrington Cross, pictured below, and her days in the Carrington nursery as an orphan cousin being raised with the children of the Frobisher family.
With the Frobisher children, Nicholas, Daphne, and Edward:
Can you find the oldest cousin, Edward, in there? He built Camilla a fantastical mouse castle for her pet mouse:
But in the end, it was Nicholas she married:
Or, as they called him after his World War I injury, the Aviator in the Iron Mask:
(Here pictured with mask.)
In the end, all these years later, Camilla has to confront her past– and Edward!– to see the record set right….
Isn’t that a beautiful display of nostalgia?
To give you a sense of the full brilliance and artistry involved, here’s the nursery scene in color. Just look at all the details, like those tiny paints!
Thank you so much, Carla and Rowan! I am in awe of the way you created not just a detailed diorama but also a mood.
Turning the pictures to sepia and interspersing them with other artifacts– wow. It was a stroke of Peep genius!
Head back over here tomorrow for Pinkorama #2!
For your amusement, here’s the relevant passage from The Record Set Right:
We were, all four of us, raised in the same nursery at Carrington Cross: Daphne, Edward and I. And, of course, Nicholas. And, yet, of the four of us, no two came out the same.
There we all are, preserved in perpetuity on the lid of the piano that no one ever plays. Children, grandchildren, weddings, engagements, debutantes and dotages, it’s all there, all lined up on display.
There’s something comforting about caging memory, encasing it in silver frames and setting it out to fade, as if, with that, all the dissensions and scandals, the mistrust and misuse might fade, too, blurring away until only the happy outlines remain.
I even have a picture of Edward on the piano, not Edward as he is now, but Edward as he was then, in 1909. We’re all there, the entire nursery, herded into place to be recorded for posterity. There’s Daphne, age eleven, bouncing with enthusiasm, one curl blown across her face, blurring her features; Edward, seventeen, sturdy in the middle, hair cut short for summer, looking sunburnt and bored. And Nicholas. Just the same age as I, but so very different in every other way. Thirteen, with a radiance even the boxy fashions of the day couldn’t hide.
There I am, too, off to one side, part, but not quite part of the group, always a little bit on the outside, even four years in.
“An unpromising thing,” Cousin Violet liked to say, “All hair and eyes.” I believe she does me an injustice. I have seen the photographs of my younger self, the one or two that survived from those pre-Carrington days, and I can attest the fact that I had no more or less hair than any other girl my age, pulled back at the sides and tied in the back with a ribbon. I wear high black boots and a white pinny over a dress whose color might have been anything from yellow to blue; in the photograph, it comes out as gray, as does my hair. Gray to gray, gray in sepia then, gray in reality now. I look, in black and white, like any other girl of a similar era, a little shy, perhaps, head ducked, one foot tucked behind the other, but hardly the Caliban of Cousin Violet’s imaginings.
Although, given how it all turned out, one can’t entirely fault Cousin Violet. I can hear her now, voice low and serious as she told her eldest son, “I tell you, Edward, no good will come of it.”
Edward was only thirteen when I came to Carrington in 1905, but he was already the man of the house.