On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons

On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons
    On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons photographs, open up like doors to the truth Above all, Cumming discovers how to look closely at the family album with its curious gaps and missing persons finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons
  • Laura Cumming
  • English
  • 08 January 2019
  • 1784742473

On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons[PDF / Epub] ✪ On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons ☆ Laura Cumming – Essayreview.co.uk Uncovering the mystery of her mother s disappearance as a child Laura Cumming, prize winning author and art critic, takes a closer look at her family storyIn the autumn of , a small child was kidnappe Uncovering the mystery of her mother s Sands: My Kindle Ò disappearance as a child Laura Cumming, prize winning author and art critic, takes a closer look at her family storyIn the autumn of , a small child was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach Five agonising days went by before she was found in a nearby village The child remembered nothing of these events and nobody ever spoke of them at home It was another fifty years before she even learned of the kidnapThe girl became On Chapel ePUB Ì an artist and had a daughter, art writer Laura Cumming Cumming grew up enthralled by her mother s strange tales of life in a seaside hamlet of the s, and of the secrets and lies perpetuated by a whole community So many puzzles remained to be solved Cumming began with a few criss crossing lives in this fraction of English coast the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker but soon her search spread right out across the globe as she discovered just how Chapel Sands: My MOBI ñ many lives were affected by what happened that day on the beach including her own On Chapel Sands is a book of mystery and memoir Two narratives run through it the mother s childhood tale and Cumming s own pursuit of the truth Humble objects light up the story a pie dish, a carved box, an old Vick s jar Letters, tickets, recipe books, even the particular slant of a copperplate hand give vital clues And pictures of all kinds, from paintings to photographs, open up like doors to the truth Above all, Cumming discovers how to look closely at the family album with its curious gaps and missing persons finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter.


About the Author: Laura Cumming

Laura Cumming born July the art Sands: My Kindle Ò critic for The Observer In addition to her career in journalism, Cumming has written well received books on self portraits in art and the discovery of a lost portrait by Diego Vel zquez in .


10 thoughts on “On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons

  1. says:

    Laura Cumming found the inspiration to write this memoir in a story of a 3 year old girl who was abducted in 1929 from a beach, and was found safe and sound after five days This story had a happy end, even a double one, as the little girl had no memories of the event as she grew older This all sounds like a plot of a good thriller, however, it is even better than that, since the little girl was Ms Cumming s mother After years of silence, secrets and allusions, Laura Cumming decided to investi Laura Cumming found the inspiration to write this memoir in a story of a 3 year old girl who was abducted in 1929 from a beach, and was found safe and sound after five days This story had a happy end, even a double one, as the little girl had no memories of the event as she grew older This all sounds like a plot of a good thriller, however, it is even better than that, since the little girl was Ms Cumming s mother After years of silence, secrets and allusions, Laura Cumming decided to investigate what really had happened on the beach in Chapel, a small sea side village, and this was the beginning of unravelling incredibly complicated family history The story in which voices from the past and pictures gradually complete the puzzle that consists of hundreds of pieces I seldom turn to memoirs, but I am happy to have read this one, and a thank you to the Authoress for all emotions this book stirred in me.I listened to an audiobook, the narrator is Ms Cumming herself, and I truly enjoyed listening to her steady, not that hasty reading

  2. says:

    The Mystery of OriginHow does consciousness emerge We are not born with it We cannot remember being without it Suddenly it is there A mystery There is a before and an after But there is no way to pinpoint the event After it occurs we have memories, uncertain but nevertheless our own Before the event, we rely on other people, external evidence, to confirm our existence If that evidence is incomplete or contradictory, even greater mysteries arise.The mystery of consciousness for Laura Cum The Mystery of OriginHow does consciousness emerge We are not born with it We cannot remember being without it Suddenly it is there A mystery There is a before and an after But there is no way to pinpoint the event After it occurs we have memories, uncertain but nevertheless our own Before the event, we rely on other people, external evidence, to confirm our existence If that evidence is incomplete or contradictory, even greater mysteries arise.The mystery of consciousness for Laura Cumming s mother is punctuated by her abduction just as consciousness is forming The abduction is a public event which makes an entire community involved in what is otherwise a strictly personal process But both her family and the denizens of her Lincolnshire coastal village conspire to keep her unconscious life from her until middle age Five Days Gone is a memoir of recovery of that hidden life. The abduction is an awfully good trope upon which to hang the entire tale.According to most schools of psychology, our personalities are fixed during our unconscious first few years Carl Jung suggested that our conscious selves are merely flotsam on a sea of unconsciousness Our fears, presumptions about the world, social sensitivities and inhibitions, and perhaps even ambitions are created subtly but decisively in this sea, which affect not only our own lives but is passed along to our progeny The presumption of therapy is that knowing what happened in the vast void can neutralise its affects.I m not so sure To be of therapeutic benefit, I presume any story we tell ourselves about the void has to be coherent We are, after all, engaging in a kind of personal theology in which the creator spirit must provide some rationale for the way we are Even if that creator spirit turns out to be a less than benign demon, therapy only works if that demon is rational according to its own lights.Therapy is especially awkward if the subject is not ourselves but our forebears It is the contents of their void which has, although indirectly, dominated the formation of ours But what we have to work with is stories from others, photographs, rumours, sterile official documents, and an ultimate cultural oeuvre In Cumming s case, this latter is that of an isolated, inbred, English seaside village of the 1930 s And it seems that it is this culture which her mother was most shaped by and most reacted against for the rest of her life And this archaic culture, in turn, dominated Cumming s psychic inheritance.To know that one is the product of a general culture is not news And I doubt that it has much therapeutic import It may be important in relativising one s opinions and presumptions But its unlikely to provide an explanation, and therefore a cure, for specific neuroses It s not even very personally satisfying except as history or poetry, such as Jung s archetypes As Cumming s mother realises,We hide behind other people s words, lose our self consciousness in playing someone elseWhatever the individual is, she is not to be found in generalities.But neither do the unique details of one s life help very much Firstly, since most are not really unique More importantly, because the impact of strange parents, a dim family history, vaguely medieval neighbours, and odd family conventions can t be predicted Do these things shape or is it their rejection which directs our lives The enduring shock seems to occur when it becomes clear that almost everyone I know, knows something about me that I don t, and they aren t telling This makes the world untrustworthy as a matter of principle.It is suspicion of the world it s motives, intentions, and its capacity for lies that seems to be passed along, filling the unconscious void of the child, as if it were biological Suspicion changes the mystery of consciousness into a threat Filling in the unconscious void with meandering dream like facts may not be a good idea since every additional fact confirms yet another falsehood The subtle hostility of the world is not a neurotic delusion Reality can be worse than imagination can allow Just the opposite of therapy The truth may be justifiably left alone.Could it be that the mystery of one s origin is actually meant to be a secret That that period of infantile unconsciousness is meant as a sort of buffer between the individual and what is essentially an unbearable legacy of human suffering Without the void, would many of us maintain the burden of consciousness or would we choose to end its reign In any case, no amount of research effort devoted to the mystery is likely to reduce its mysteriousness In fact every anecdote told by another, every photograph, and every letter createsmysteries These we resolve with stories or not, just as we could have done at the outset Searching for oneself is ultimately like searching for the fossil of the first human being Even holding such a thing in our hands, we wouldn t know we had it So after such an extensive trip through Cumming s family life what is there but another imaginative story That may be enoughPaintings, unlike books, don t divide between fiction and nonfiction, remarks Cumming about a painting by Degas And that is what her work amounts to a magnificent prose painting

  3. says:

    3.5 A mother and daughter search for answers in this unusual memoir Family, art and the quest for identity are major themes as a set of photographs are the impetus that leads the daughter to try to track down the mystery of her mother s life A family story with a mystery at the heart as her mother was taken when she was three and returned a few days later Who took her and why was she returned Following the clues in the pictures, she finds out her mother, now called Betty, was once called Gra 3.5 A mother and daughter search for answers in this unusual memoir Family, art and the quest for identity are major themes as a set of photographs are the impetus that leads the daughter to try to track down the mystery of her mother s life A family story with a mystery at the heart as her mother was taken when she was three and returned a few days later Who took her and why was she returned Following the clues in the pictures, she finds out her mother, now called Betty, was once called Grace.So who was she really This is a beautifully written but slowly unraveling story The tone is wistful, almost haunting as information is discovered and new clues are revealed Art is discussed, photographs are included, all leading to provide a picture of her mothers life Although she knew her grandmother Vera, her grandfather was long dead These were the people said to be her mother s, parents, the people whose past she learns much about and that helps lead to answers.At time I got impatient with the slowness of the story, but then something interesting will be discovered, at just the right moment Plus the outstanding prose kept me reading The ending was simple, but just perfect and heartening All around us our stories that cannot be squared or circled or turned into something so easily defined.Death, after all , comes to interrupt any narrative that looks as if it might have the audacity to try and complete itself Words and images In life as in art we do not always see what is going on at the edges, or even the foreground, do not notice what seems irrelevant or superfluous to our needs and theories Perception is guided by our own priorities ARC from Edelweiss

  4. says:

    She started out her life as Grace until she was adopted before age 3, then she was Betty A name she never liked Later she called herself Elizabeth An older couple adopted her at age 3, George and Veda Elston She grew to dislike George, who was controlling and didn t want her mingling with others in the tiny village She wasn t allowed to go out and play with any of the local kids This story is about the discovery of her strange disappearance that happened when she was about 3, but she wasn She started out her life as Grace until she was adopted before age 3, then she was Betty A name she never liked Later she called herself Elizabeth An older couple adopted her at age 3, George and Veda Elston She grew to dislike George, who was controlling and didn t want her mingling with others in the tiny village She wasn t allowed to go out and play with any of the local kids This story is about the discovery of her strange disappearance that happened when she was about 3, but she wasn t aware of until she was in her 50 s, that s shared with and written about by her daughter Who took her and why And for what reason was she returned days later Read to find out Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Laura Cumming, and the publisher 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.Also on my WordPress blog

  5. says:

    This book has its origins and setting in Chapel St Leonards, a village on the Lincolnshire coast Being a Lincolnshire lad I therefore had to read this Laura Cummings s mother was brought up there and Cummings has set out to piece together her mother s upbringing Her mother was born in 1926, is still living and was adopted at the age of three It was not until many years later and Cummings and her mother discovered that in 1929 three year old Betty was kidnapped from Chapel Sands and was not f This book has its origins and setting in Chapel St Leonards, a village on the Lincolnshire coast Being a Lincolnshire lad I therefore had to read this Laura Cummings s mother was brought up there and Cummings has set out to piece together her mother s upbringing Her mother was born in 1926, is still living and was adopted at the age of three It was not until many years later and Cummings and her mother discovered that in 1929 three year old Betty was kidnapped from Chapel Sands and was not found for five days dressed in entirely different clothes and unharmed She has no recollection of the event Cummings in this account pieces together the mystery of her mother s upbringing from some clues, some accounts from the descendants of those involved and an assortment of photographs Cummings is an art historian and manages to getfrom photographs than most of us would be able to she takes objects and gives them meaning and pieces together life in an English village in the 1930s She also examines Betty s adoptive parents, George and Veda, already in their 40s, trying to isolate Betty from everyone around them and stop her mixing with others For there are secrets in the village and in the neighbouring village of Hogsthorpe There is a fine array of local characters and the narrative also stretches to the other side of the globe Cummings traces Betty s real mother and father with a few real twists , the reasons for the kidnapping, Betty s original name Grace and muchVeda and George are examined closely Veda is old enough to remember seeing Tennyson striding along Chapel Sands when she was a girl and Tennyson s poetry crops up periodically.Cummings s mother writes what she knows to help in her daughter s quest which takes many years to complete Because you have asked me, dear daughter, here are my earliest recollections It is an English domestic genre canvas of the 1920s and 1930s, layered over with decades of fading and darkening, but your curiosity has begun to make all glow a little And perhaps a few figures and events may turn out to be restored through the telling The memoir reflects the depth and complexity of family and village life and seeks to explain Cummings, in an interview reflects on the process I had her memoir, I had my writings over many years about her, who I love very dearly, and I had many thoughts about this story And I told the story, a specific aspect of the story, which is the baker s van, which arrives from the windmill at Hogsthorpe and never stops at her house I wanted to get to the bottom of this and I saw the thing to do, with my mother s blessing I went to Chapel St Leonards I took a room in a farm nearby and I spent a long time on the beach Every day I d go to the beach and I d think about this scene.I d go up to the Beacon and I went to the house where my mother lived and I d have a drink in the Vine I went round and round I did the walk from Chapel to Mablethorpe I did the walk from Chapel to Skegness and I thought about this period in time And local historians in and around Chapel have done a wonderful job of publishing a lot of beautifully written local history In Skegness Library you can look up old copies of the Skegness Times It was very evocative.The book came into the form it s in simply from being in the landscape in Lincolnshire I d stand on those sands and she was there, my grandfather was there, the Vikings were there The compression of time was a great advantage for me I really enjoyed the writing and the unravelling of the background to the tale it helped a little having some awareness of the geography It illustrates well the complexity of families Everyone has a mother, everyone has an uncle who wasn t really their uncle, or whose sister was in fact their mother, or whose grandparents aren t their grandparents It s completely common All family photo albums are full of things we don t notice and that s the campaign of the book lookclosely There s always a figure in the background or someone who is not there Who s taken the photograph This was a pleasure to read, capturing a lost time without sentimentality or nostalgia

  6. says:

    The author painted a beautiful picture of her mother s life and times As I pictured this little girl I wish I could have taken her in my arms, she had such a hard life While reading I realised was not so very different from my own mother s life story It also occurred to me that preserving photos and other material from grandparents, great grandparents does help to find out how they lived I know so little in that respect.

  7. says:

    This account of the uncovering of the past that was hidden to the author s mother for much of her life has been much lauded, and I can only add to the chorus of praise I loved the writing, the delicate unraveling of the mystery, the importance given to images, and the illumination of love between mothers and daughters.On an autumn evening in 1929, three year old Betty Elston was taken from a Lincolnshire beach Her mother, Veda, was close at hand as her daughter played happily on Chapel Sands, This account of the uncovering of the past that was hidden to the author s mother for much of her life has been much lauded, and I can only add to the chorus of praise I loved the writing, the delicate unraveling of the mystery, the importance given to images, and the illumination of love between mothers and daughters.On an autumn evening in 1929, three year old Betty Elston was taken from a Lincolnshire beach Her mother, Veda, was close at hand as her daughter played happily on Chapel Sands, but her attention wandered, she looked away, and when she looked back the child had vanished.Her father, George, a travelling salesman, was called home the police were summoned but a few days later, the little girl was found safe and well in a nearby village, completely unharmed but dressed in a brand new set of clothes She was restored to her parents, her memory of what had happened would fade away, and her life would go on.It was a strange, and often unhappy, life for young Betty Her parents kept her close, barely letting her mix with other children, and they held themselves apart from their neighbours, only keeping in touch with a few old friends.You might think that they were being over protective after what had happened but if that was the case why did there daughter feel no warmth from them, and why did she hear no words of love and care, not even one single word of reassurance after a strange encounter led her her father to tell her that she had been adopted Betty eventually escapes from the confines of her life, to art college in the distant city of Edinburgh where she will build a new life, as an artist, as a wife, and as mother.Laura Cumming is Betty Elson s daughter, and as she grew up she came to realise that her mother never spoke about her own childhood When Elizabeth who modified her name, as she had always hated being called Betty asked what she would most like for her 21st birthday, Laura answered the tale of her mother s early life.The mother wrote Because you have asked me, dear daughter, here are my earliest recollections It is an English domestic genre canvas of the 1920s and 1930s, layered over with decades of fading and darkening, but your curiosity has begun to make all glow a little And perhaps a few figures and events may turn out to be restored through the telling.And the daughter noted This memoir is short, ending with her teenage years, but its writing carries so much of her grace, her truthful eloquence and witness, her artist s way of looking at the world.That was the beginning of the journey that is recorded in this book, a journey that Laura Cumming made in the hope of filling in the gaps in her mother s memory and allowing them both to understand why her early life played out as it did.I was captivated by her voice, which was intelligent, warm and compassionate.I loved the way that she used words to paint vivid pictures of her mother and the world that spun around her and the way that she scrutinised images both paintings and photographs from the family album and gained understanding of both the subject and the creator.The mystery that unravels is cleverly structured and the revelations are judged and timed perfectly Some are unsurprising but others made me stop and re evaluate what I knew and what I thought I knew It reveals a remarkable human story, aspects of which I know will resonate with many readers, and firmly rooted in its place and time.The arc of the story is relatively simple, but this is not a book to read just to learn the story, it is a book to read to appreciate all of the things that are threaded through that story.There is very real social history there is a willingness to learn and to understand and there is exactly the right amount of restraint lives and families and communities are illuminated but there is no intrusion and no assumption about things that could not be known.There is a wonderful appreciation of the depth and complexity of family love and it the loveliest of tributes from a daughter to a mother.I m trying not to say too much, because I was toldthat I wanted to know about this book before I started to read.And so I will simply finish by saying that this book is beautiful, moving and profound

  8. says:

    This was an outstanding memoir by Laura Cumming about her mother, Elizabeth other names Grace, Betty I only became aware of it from the Briefly Noted section of The New Yorker September 16, 2019 issue I hope if you have not read it that you do Five Days Gone is a memoir of a child who was kidnaped in the fall of 1929 for 5 days in Lincolnshire a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east A substantial piece of the book is about Elizabeth other nam This was an outstanding memoir by Laura Cumming about her mother, Elizabeth other names Grace, Betty I only became aware of it from the Briefly Noted section of The New Yorker September 16, 2019 issue I hope if you have not read it that you do Five Days Gone is a memoir of a child who was kidnaped in the fall of 1929 for 5 days in Lincolnshire a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east A substantial piece of the book is about Elizabeth other names Grace, Betty after those 5 days when she was returned, and her life with her parents, George and Veda Elston, until she left for school Nottingham College of Art and then in Scotland at the Edinburgh College of Art at the age of 18 But an equally substantial part of the book is the author s and her mother s Elizabeth s search for the circumstances under which she was kidnapped and who did it and why I think about of the way through the book, in realizing what I was reading, a sense of sadness came upon me not just for Elizabeth but for several other people who knew her At the time of the writing of the memoir 2019 Laura Cumming s mother Elizabeth was still alive but getting up there in years and ailing The mother gave her permission for the story to be told Laura Cumming, the author of this memoir about her mother, is an art critic and it shows in her writing fabulously written prose and her placement of several period pieces of artwork that provide not just illustrations in the novel but illustrations that reinforce or explain parts of the narrative I try not to give away spoilers, but after reading this I can say that although I was sad at times while reading the book I was angry at only one person in the narrative and even then not to the point where I thought the person shouldn t have walked the face of the earth I finished the book 1 glad that I had made acquaintances with Elizabeth and her ancestors and with her daughter Laura Cumming the author of the memoir , and 2 appreciative that I had just read a most enjoyable and hopefully unforgettable memoir I give this my highest rating gladly.And I am glad I have company Nominated for The 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award, one of NPR s Best Books of 2019Reviews JimZ Actually an interview on NPR with the author, Laura Cumming Laura Cumming used some words in the book I was not familiar with, and I wanted to find out that they meant Egad, one word brassica was not in my American Heritage Dictionary Brassica a genus of plants in the mustard family Brassicaceae The members of the genus are informally known as cruciferous vegetables, cabbages, or mustard plants Crops from this genus are sometimes called cole crops derived from the Latin caulis, denoting the stem or stalk of a plant.Dun a dull grayish brown color Rhotacism is the inability to pronounce or difficulty in pronouncing r sound JimZ I remember in 2nd grade that I had to read to my father after dinner because a teacher said I could not pronounce my r s I would say wed wooster rather than red rooster Luckily I outgrew my rhotacism

  9. says:

    This is a moving memoir, by Laura Cumming, about her mother s early life Her mother, Elizabeth, was known as Betty as a child, but, before that, she was Grace She lived in a seaside village, Chapel St Leonards, where, one day in 1929, she was abducted from the beach One moment she played on the sand, with her adopted mother, Veda, the next she was snatched away and was missing for some days.In this book, Laura Cumming attempts to uncover the mystery of this mysterious event in her mother s ea This is a moving memoir, by Laura Cumming, about her mother s early life Her mother, Elizabeth, was known as Betty as a child, but, before that, she was Grace She lived in a seaside village, Chapel St Leonards, where, one day in 1929, she was abducted from the beach One moment she played on the sand, with her adopted mother, Veda, the next she was snatched away and was missing for some days.In this book, Laura Cumming attempts to uncover the mystery of this mysterious event in her mother s early life, as well as unearthing her true heritage What is also clear is that this is not just a tale of those immediately involved, but of the community As so often happens, people living in the village who knew Betty conspired to keep the secret of her birth even from her I found this an extremely sad read at times, but Laura s love for her mother is what really makes the memoir work, and puts her at the centre of her family, as she was once the centre of a mystery

  10. says:

    Laura Cumming is my new favourite nonfiction author I read

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