Lost Tribes The People's Memories.
Byline: with Ken Rogers
HAVE you ever been doing something nondescript when a completely oblique thought comes into your mind? For no obvious reason you suddenly think about departed parents, grandparents, or a special friend.
When this happens, I do the obvious thing. I visualise the face and say hello. Don't read anything deep and meaningful into this. I'm not into spiritualism and I definitely haven't got one of those Ouija boards. I'm more of a 'Snakes and Ladders' boy, stemming from those compendiums of games we used to get.
But I do believe in the power of memories. You can't put a price on golden recollections that include thoughts about people who are still alive.
I was coming home from London one Saturday evening circa 1982 after covering an Everton game for the Echo.
Now even though I was a football reporter, London didn't necessarily mean Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, or any other capital giant. No, it always meant my Uncle Albert and Aunty Gladys! There you go, I've just said 'hello' to both of them.
I mentioned last week that back in the 50s foreign holidays were out of the question. My annual school trip to the Isle of Man apart, our annual family break was to London to visit my dad's brother who had left Liverpool and joined the Coldstream Guards.
I always imagined Uncle Albert guarding the Queen in his red uniform and giant bearskin. When he left the guards my uncle became live-in caretaker at a big London bank. Later he moved to a new house in Earley near Reading, little more than a village then and typical terrain for Enid Blyton's Famous Five.
I was suddenly playing in the surrounding woods, becoming the imaginary sixth member of the gang. It was now Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina (George), Timmy the dog, and Kenny from Everton. Uncle Albert now worked for the Oxford Children's Library.
So now I was driving home from that football match in London and Uncle Albert popped into my mind. I veered off the M1 and headed for Earley, arriving mid evening.
I knocked on the door, still Kenny from the Famous Six! This old gentleman came out. I couldn't understand why he didn't throw his arms around me in a familiar bearskin hug.
Then I realised it had been 25 years since he last saw me. He invited this 'stranger' in.
"I was on the motorway," I said "and you just popped into my head. Do Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy still live nearby?" Earley was now the biggest housing estate in the UK, but Uncle Albert was still my hero.
Write to: Ken Rogers, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool or email: kenrogers echo@gmailcom