The Family Face

I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
Over oblivion.
Thomas Hardy, 1840 – 1928 English novelist and poet.

Today I read a post entitled Father in Me from Duke1959 and it reminded me of this poem by Thomas Hardy.  Look around your family and you will quickly agree that there is a family face.

My sister’s son is 28 days older than mine.  Growing up they could easily have been brothers so alike were they.  And then when my sister and I were visiting an aunt (only a year or two older than us) we saw a photo of her son.  He looked so like David my son, and Tom, my sister’s son. And then to further compound this, we visited a cousin and again the face stared at us out of a photograph of her son.

So while we all evolve and get mixed up with the genes from the other side of the family, there is so often a remarkable likeness among various members of the clan.

My father’s siblings with the exception of 2 of the 11, inherited the red hair and blue eyes.  These features passed by our part of the family.  I had reddish-brown hair but brown eyes.  My other sisters had blue eyes.

Cate and David c 1964

My children inherited the big brown eyes from me, my daughter’s fair hair from her father while my son has my dark hair.  His eldest son definitely has the family face.

James and David

My son, while looking like his cousins inherited his father’s strong mouth and firm chin.

So where am I going with this?  I don’t really know.  I just started to think about it after reading Duke’s post.

And of course, most mornings I look into the bathroom mirror and see my mother looking back at me.

Mother and me 1995

With Mother shortly before she died

And the second stanza of Thomas Hardy’s poem is

The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance — that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die .

So thanks to Duke for the inspiration.  By the way, I loved your post friend.



29 responses to “The Family Face

  1. isn’t it remarkable how our siblings, kids or cousins almost look alike? I enjoyed reading this and looking at the pictures. It reminded me of how some of my sisters have a very strong resemblance and they could be mistaken for twins. I look more like my mom, so when I look at the mirror I see the male version of her. great post.


  2. Hello again friend. Just read your post on the garage sale and left a comment. Looks like it was a whole lot of fun.
    Thanks for dropping by.


  3. I always got asked if my nieces and nephews were MY kids because we looked so alike…I always thought it was so cool how my sister’s kids could favor me in so many ways as well as favoring them too.


    • When my daughter and her fiance took James then 3 to a company picnic comment was made about Cate having a baby boy. The baby was her nephew but really did look very like her.


  4. I think I see mannerisms so often amongst my children and various relatives on both sides of their family….it can be rather eerie at times but mostly special.

    As I age I see myself looking more and more like my mother….

    Family history and connection is fascinating…..some talents track down generations…eg. musical ability, athletic ability, hard work ethic.


    • Yes mannerisms are give aways too. I see my daughter beinbg stubborn just liker her Nana. And she is looking more and more like me as she gets older.


  5. It’s true we look alike in our families. We have certain traits that are passed along. And temperaments, too. For example, my daughter is so much like mt mother it’s scary. Temper, screaming, stubborn, unforgiving, very strict. She didn’t get that from me or her dad. Funny how things turn out.


  6. Marianne London

    Oh how I liked this. Our Tom and David and Sheila’s Simon they could have been triplets. I can see the family again in Tom he looks so much like Micheal, and Ryan is Tom at that the same age. Maybe the “RITA ” family have the strongest genes. Oh and our Hannah looked so much like you and kate as babies.And now, well she is as beautiful as her Auntie Judith and cousin Kate


    • And the fourth son was Rita’s David. Do you remember?
      Thank you for the “beautiful” comment. James is exactly like David at his age. Outgoing and funny one minute and then drawing into his cave and using monosyllabic words only the next.


  7. Marianne London

    I so enjoy your page each day and they stir up memories, all ahppy. Thank you for the photo of you and Mum today. Love you XXX


  8. I like Dylan Thomas’s poem to his father to rage against the dying of the light.


  9. I often see family resemblances between aunts and nieces, and uncles and nephews…when my granddaughter was born, she had an uncanny resemblance to my middle daughter as a baby. Almost two years later, I saw a picture of my granddaughter with her dad’s sister…they have the same eye colour!

    Fun post, Judith…I added you to my blogroll today…hope that’s okay!



    • Eyes seem to be the dead give away Wendy. My mother, me, my daughter, my son and my eldest grandson all have these large dark brown eyes. My daughter’s boys have brown eyes but the brown is less dark and the fourth grandson has hazel eyes from his mother’s side.

      I am honored that you have added me to your blogroll. Thank you.



  10. Judith, oddly enough, we couldn’t figure out WHO my son resembled. Each grandparent claimed it was so-and-so’s side of the family. Yet, simultaneously, admitting he didn’t resemble ANY family member. We were stumped. jokes of the postman ensued.

    His blond hair and blue eyes were reminiscent of mine as a child. So, the best we came up with, is he looked like me. My husband’s father commented he looked a bit like his brother, Mike, as a child.

    WELL, we went to go visit my husband’s grandma, and on the wall was a framed drawing photo that looks exactly like my son! Exactly! We thought a cousin drew it and hung it for our arrival…no, it was a drawing of Uncle Mike when he was a child! Mystery solved…no postman involved!

    The post I just released on Bridesmaids, there I look very similar to an old photograph of my mom. Otherwise, I never looked like her. We have the same loud voice, but that was it! I’ll have to see if I can find that photograph and post.

    Isn’t it fun to realize- oh hey- there are family traits.
    Lake Forest, California USA


  11. Loved your blog on spandex – here we call it lycra.
    I had a photo of me at about 18 months in a group of family photos on a wall. somebody asked why James (my eldest grandchild) was in a dress. He really looked so very much like me.
    Thanks for sharing.


  12. This is beautifully written and the photographs enhanced the text wonderfully. I’m back from my month holiday and I’m glad I came back in time for this post. Yes, there is a resemblance in family all around, whether it’s distant relatives or siblings. I just spent time with a very big family and they all looked alike, even the ones that were related only by marriage! I wonder if that’s because people start to pick up mannerisms and habits from one another therefore they look a little more alike?


  13. Welcome home Baxter. We have missed you. Hope the visit with your relatives was great. And yes, mannerisms are picked up along with sayings. My no 3 grandson said to me (at 3 years old no less) “Go to your room” followed by “I don’t want to hear it. Go to your room”. Shades of his mother and hers, maybe.


  14. Love the picture of you and your mother! I see such a strong family face in my husband’s family. His brother’s kids and our kids look so much alike, they could all have been brothers and sisters. I like the subject of this post and that you included the pictures. Great poem!


    • Hi Susan. There is such a family resemblance in many families. My daughter’s sons resemble their father’s family more than ours although they do have their mother’s brown eyes.
      Thanks for stopping by.


  15. I read somewhere that all babies (even girls) look like their fathers when they are born, so that the father would know that the child is his. There is a certain “look” in our family in the shape of the face. I have 14 cousins on my dad’s side of the family and we all sort of have the same shape to our face.


  16. Inspiring … Thanks.


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