I will never forget that day, forever etched on my heart, RIP
I will light a candle tonight for the little souls
I find my years are now dotted fairly regularly with the less cheerful anniversaries
- my friend’s suicide on 26 April, 15th August happy fêtes in France remind me of the Kabul evacuation, the amish school shooting on October 2nd (which I remember better than the others for some reason), the Indian Ocean Tsunami on boxing day, etc. And ridiculously the death of Princess Diana! We were travelling back to UK at end of summer holidays staying in a chambre d’hôtes when S/daughter aged about 12 rushed into our bedroom in flood of tears as she had understood that the pop singer Dido had died.
I don’t remember many others every year, but just about every week there is something that springs to mind when I look at the date.
Despite my many reservations about the UK, Dunblane and Hungerford did bring about several useful changes in UK gun laws and these have probably prevented similar massacres in the decades since. Unlike the US, which is just insane.
OTOH when I explored why my SA ID book had more space for gun licences than for driving offences, I quickly realised that for farmers and other rural workers, given the extent of farm murders in my neighbourhood, six weapons wasn’t necessarily enough ! They needed a gun in the car, two guns in the house, a gun in each (bakkie) pick-up and a gun in every other farm vehicle and farm building.
Re Princess Di - her death occurred just after I’d arrived in SA but already had a high profile (half page article in SA’s Sunday Observer). Consequently decided I’d better attend the commemorative service in the Anglican cathedral. Went along and assumed I’d better wear my only dark suit - dark grey Paul Smith - Italian wool - very warm, but wholly unsuited (sorry!) to be worn when the temps were in the high twenties. and with a black woollen tie to boot To make it even worse, everyone else was in short sleeved shirts or summer frocks.
Newly arrived foreigner tried too hard and got it totally wrong!
Not being someone who learns easily, I later made the same mistake, but on a much warmer day at another local church service, this time it was for the Dean’s secretary, who actually ran the Faculty on his behalf. She’d dropped dead while pruning her roses on. a Sunday afternoon.
The Dean was computer illiterate, but his elderly secretary who one might have assumed was similarly so, had made the all the Faculty files so well-protected that it took the Computer Science dept’s post-grad students three days to crack her password and access the admin.
I knew most of those that died that day, it was heartbreaking sitting waiting for word about what was happening just along from the school that fateful day , hopefully Hamilton is rotting in perpetual agonising hell
Not just where gun laws are concerned either. In fact I can’t think of a single aspect of life in the US which is entirely sane.
3 year old child shot and killed by 4 year old sister today!
Chilling stat from Grauniad report on the above:-
‘Gun violence and accidents in recent years became the leading cause of death for children in the US, surpassing car crashes, injuries for other reasons and congenital diseases.’
We also found out about the death of Diana when en route to the UK. We stopped at services and saw a newspaper with huge puzzling headlines about Charles “bringing Diana home”. It took a while for the news of her death to sink in.
I was on a contract in Tanzania at the time so it took a day or two for the news to filter down.
I can remember running down the road behind Judy Murray because the road was chaos littered with cars everywhere, both Andy and Jamie were in school, it was heart stopping for a lot of people that day
After considerable thought, the best response I can think of is -
What about winemaking and micro breweries?
I spent two years in the States, mainly iin Boston but frequently in Vermont. It was all quite sane, and my circle was made up of well grounded, sane people. Visiting family in new New York was less so.
Like with any country many things are not absolute.
I worked in CG studios in Commonwealth Sqr and on Hanover St in Little Italy: the latter was certainly an insane place!
Did you ever witness the ‘Flight of the Little Angels’ over Hanover St during the Fisherman’s Feast festival? For those unfamiliar with the event Italian families would send their little kids whizzing across the street from windows four stories up, suspended from cables and on the other side, other mothers would lean out and catch the screaming infants
Once when I praised a local pizza parlour, my boss replied, “When you make pizza for the mob, they make sure you get it right.”
And sitting at the zinc topped bar in the Union Oyster House with a cold beer on a hot summer day necking little necks and cherrystones off the half shell. Then we’d decide it was too hot to go back to the studio for the afternoon and instead take off on a whale watch.
Loved it all!
That must have been horrific not knowing.
Neither will my wife, who grew up in Dunblane, as her mum used to help out at the school where the attack took place, and was off on that fatal day. It is forever engraved in their memories. I’m not generally an overly emotional person, but each time we go to the cemetery, we always stop by the area where the children are buried, and I find it incredibly difficult to deal with, even though I wasn’t remotely in the country at the time (I was already living in France).
I hope my unintentionally initiated thread drift didn’t strike anyone as uncaring or irreverent, but perhaps sometimes it helps if a little levity pops up in the midst of trauma or grief.
I remember strewing my stepfather’s ashes on the beach at Lytham St Annes, when the wind whipped them up in the air and blew them north-west. "Look ,"I said, “They’re heading in the direction of the ex-servicemen’s club.” (his former lunchtime watering hole). Everyone cracked-up…