Monday, 13 July 2015

A Street

My family were that family - you know, the ones most likely to amount to nothing. The ones who lived in the street voted most likely to contain a serial killer. We were never going to amount to anything, leastways that’s what the schools told us, that’s what the teachers told us, that’s what everyone told us: the strange thing is they were probably right.

I left school and did what was expected of me, took the first crap job that I was offered. Once again, I did not disappoint. I worked nights in one of those shipping companies, routing boxes to here, there and everywhere. In the morning I would try to keep awake as long as possible, then grab a few hours sleep (allowing for people living their lives outside my window) – then I would start it all over again.

I never travelled anywhere, not really – maybe into the city now and again, but foreign shores were, well foreign to me. What I did was spend my spare cash on was technology. If I couldn’t go into space then outer space could come to me. I loved my games, my music, my movies, my Ipod, my computer – anything technical and I worshipped it.

So maybe I wasn’t as stupid as folks said.

Then some kid, some kid half my age came up with an idea – an app to use with your phone. What you did - was point your phone down any street and you would see it as it looked years before. Something like an historical Google map. The computers had analysed the old photos – and then the phone worked out where you were standing, and you could see on your phone the way the street might have appeared 50 years ago or even a hundred. Okay, I can see some of you ain’t excited but I found it fascinating.

And that was when I saw the photo, I mean THE photo, the one that changed me for good.

I pointed the phone down a street my grandparents had lived in – long before they had moved to ‘no-hope’ avenue and had given birth to my family. It was brilliant, I could shift my phone from side to side, I could turn 360 degrees and I could see the street as it was in 1942.

And there (and I checked and checked again) was the frozen figure of my grandfather running with two kids in his arm as the building was about to fall.

My grandfather, my heroic grandfather saving kid’s lives during a bombing raid.

And that is all there is to this story. I walked back down my street of lost dreams with my head held high. I came from a family of heroes and that put a smile on my face and a skip in my step. 

bobby stevenson 2015

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