In memory of Norman Cinnamond

Norman Cinnamond in the opening of the exhibition L’art modern. Obres mestres del Cau Ferrat in 2012 (third on the right)

It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all, through despair and hope, through faith and love, ‘till we find our place, on the path unwinding (Elton John)

There are times when we need to feel connected to who we are, where we come from and recover our roots and legacy. When someone passes away, we immediately create a mind map, and we put ourselves in the position of that person and ask ourselves where we stand,  are we: grandchildren, son, daughter, cousin? Secondly, where do we put that person, to whom it affects, and how? At some point, we feel pain, the loss that that beloved person has left, the grief and sadness, the emptiness. Somewhere in our head, we get the thought of “what if”, because it could have been me. And then we thank Heaven it wasn’t me this time.

Many people have passed these days, due to the COVID, violence, cancer, age or whatever other illness.  When such a tragedy happens, we feel there’s someone less on the planet, as that person has gone missing. On the 17th of June, Norman Cinnamond, the great-grandson of Santiago Rusiñol left us. Norman was a good man, a gentleman that knew well who his ancestor was and represented him many times when we needed that family connexion between the museum and the Rusiñol legacy.

Normand learned the story of his great-grandad through the eyes of his grandmother Maria, daughter or Santiago Rusiñol. He searched for his life and knew of his adventures and challenges, clearly he inspired him. Norman had a great love for his great-grandad. He understood that he had the responsibility to carry the weight of standing for Rusiñol. Whenever we saw him at the museum, he bridged the past with the present, which we are now.

Remembering our ancestors, placing ourselves in a family tree, gives us confidence. Remembering and discovering facts from them will put a frame into our family history, bringing pride, understanding, and surprises. My very own great-grandad, for example, fought in the Great War in the Battle of the Somme, got injured and was sent back home -to the family relief- or the ancestor that was a coal miner and said he’d never let one of his sons go down the mine. Or the other great-grandad, who served at the Maison Dorée in Barcelona.  What has passed down are his memories of the gorgeous women and the French Champagne from the late-night parties. Selective memory, I presume.

Great grandma Preston is here angry at her son John, because he has a mouse in his pocket

Everyone deserves to be remembered, finding each our ancestor’s life brings that person closer to us. When we know their facts, their ideals, it grounds in a more precise way to who, where and why we are here today. We are, ultimately,  just one brick of an exceptional wall and, as my mother says, if you remove a block, the wall crumbles down. We all have a spot in this brick wall.  Understanding our origins, even if we hear a rattle, it’s sure that we have a significant long lineage that will wow us down to the core, we all belong, even if we are not aware of it.

It is through heritage that we receive our family values, traditions and culture. We pass from one generation to the next different memories and personal artefacts like jewellery, pens, watches or antiques that make our family unique, objects that we need to keep during our lifetime and will pass on to succeeding generations.

Book cover of Santiago rusiñol vist per la seva filla, by Maria Rusiñol (1950)
Book cover of Santiago Rusiñol vist per la seva filla, by Maria Rusiñol. Barcelona: Aedos, 1950

And what about newcomers? Our children, young people that are appearing on stage to make their point? Those people are not so loud. They come in step by step. We help them to come out, carefully, the others can’t see them coming. Still, they are there, climbing the life ladder. They have the expectations of a good life. Our children are the best legacy for our families, and they will learn from us, find out about us, through a search engine. They will be surprised about some of the things we did as a society; our descendants will search for our names and maybe find something like this post.

Anyway, Norman, you made us think. We salute you from The Cau Ferrat.

Photo Credits

© Photographic Archive of the Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges
© Photographic Archive of Susana Preston Raga, Sitges

Susana Preston, guide and visitors attention for Sitges Museums

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