Things were very different in the Sixties
Everything was like new fresh breath
But this sad, true tale of my childhood
Is the tale of a friend’s early death.
Peter helped the Co-op grocers delivery-man
After he’d finished school for the day
He’d sit on an upturned milk crate
And they drove merrily along on their way.
He’d helped the man deliver for ages
It was what teenage boys would often do
But as the van took a corner in Rising Brook
Out to his sad fate Peter flew.
The van only had the single driver’s seat
No one else was supposed to be there
And the doors all slid back and stayed open
Safety wasn’t really thought about to be fair.
So out of the van my friend Peter flew
And fate treated him so very very cruel
He disappeared right under a passing bus
Right in front of the gates to his school.
My best friend was Harry, Peter’s brother
And for him everything changed on that day
I watched Harry wither before me
As his spirit of mischief flew away.
Just a few years later Harry drifted
I’ve not seen him from that day to now
But I hope he was able to find for himself
A way to survive the horror somehow.
I’ve not spoken of this since those dark days
and the flood of the memory is still raw
If only I could step back and warn him
My friend, please, please close the door.
By a sad twist of irony I lost my brother as well
He was struck down by the first ‘Asian Flu’
That memory hurts like a stab in the heart
I was twenty, he was just twenty-two.
©Joe Wilson – The cruel hand of fate…2014
Sadly, this is entirely true. Peter was killed falling under a bus in this manner and my brother was a recently married policeman who died of so-called ‘Asian Flu’ in 1970.