It’s a hum – drum day of calendar watching to see when lock – down in Melbourne ends and I can see family again. I’m packing for the impending house move and the cat weaves her way among boxes and lashes out at the giant rolls of bubble wrap invading her world. Another ping on my phone to let me know an email has arrived… a bill for sure…………
But this one is different. It’s an email from a woman I don’t know, responding to an article that I wrote in Viva 70 about Dr David Potts. (50 Faces 50 Lives, 17th June 2020) He is a family member struggling with dementia at the age of 83. The email was from a young woman named Jasmine, currently living in New York. A photographer. She talked about putting together a family history and that her grandmother was David’s aunt. Her email was warm and friendly and very lovely and she included a number of family photos of gatherings including photos of David’s family and one of him as a young man. This is extraordinary.
I sat on the email for a day or so processing the noise in my head. How to explain all this to David when his short term memory lasts 5 minutes but his long term memory comes and goes? Who to involve? I know very little about David’s family and don”t have any photos. But his niece and nephew know about their family history. And then.. with all the media hype about identity theft, cybercrime etc there’s the inevitable paranoia about…ah yes but what if this is a drug syndicate in some obscure African fiefdom!?! All this against a backdrop of sheer joy that a simple article in Viva 70 had connected to a family member living across the world. After checking with David’s family there was lots of surprise and excitement and the family jigsaw puzzle was scrambled together in phone calls and emails. With their permission I passed on email addresses of family members to Janice and chatted to her via email. She sent a batch of photos and articles about David”s family. A warm and generous response. I’ve assembled these photos as a book for David with simple explanations. We’ll revisit it anew many times when I’m able to visit David at last. Thank you Janice. He will love this.
My paranoia has been packed away but I am cognisant of other people’s privacy. What’s exciting is that I’m enjoying a warm and interesting conversation with a lovely young woman who looks like Debbie Harry with pink hair, grew up in Brisbane and currently lives in New York, New York. ………all as a result of a Viva 70 article! Six degrees of separation indeed……….