Scarred for Life

Me and crashed plane Me and Germania

I was born in Eastbourne, East Sussex. In the 1950s this was a quiet seaside resort with, in winter, little available for children in the way of entertainment except stone throwing and watching haircuts. Periodically a disaster occurred and then the orthodox action for parents to take was to remove their offspring to the Downs, or the beach, or to wherever, in order to photograph them with the disaster appearing discretely in the background. The two illustrations show me with a wrecked seaplane and a stranded ship. I could equally well have offered abandoned balloons, men fallen off ladders, or overturned buses. At one stage I assumed that this aberrant behaviour was unique to my family but when I re-established contact with some junior school class-mates, after a 50 year interval, I learned that the phenomenon was fairly general. Today of course my favourite TV programmes are the National Geographic Channel expositions of notorious plane crashes. I naturally look for sympathy to my family, having been permanently damaged in this way, but no, it’s simply considered as one of my many eccentricities.

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