My Uncle Des was an exciting, and a kind man.
Des would swoop into our lives with slide shows detailing his global travels.
One year, maybe 1968, we were watching the slides he brought back from his travels through Central Asia.
In our sitting room, in our little council house in Brighton, I gazed up in wonder at the mountainous scenery of countries I had never heard off, projected images of an unfamiliar topography lighting up our cosy home.
As Des was telling tales of his adventures of walking through the mountains, he said “there are lots of ghosts there.”
I was in shock, my dad was very clear in explaining to us, from a young age that there were no such things as ghosts. Why then, in front of dad, had Des said that he had seen lots of them in Central Asia?
Years later, when living with Des in California I asked him about the ghosts he had seen on his travels, he explained,“Oh no, not ghosts, goats.”
A mystery solved!
Quite a few years ago, my mum gave me this suitcase, it had been in her garage for years, left there by Des. In my busy life I had put it to one side, opening it up only a year ago.
The contents were fascinating and poignant. Our family story of Uncle Des’ life, was that he had achieved a place at Cambridge University, but was unable to go because our family could not afford to fund his place. Des was hugely disappointed, he left England and after travelling and working abroad for a few years, had finally settled in California. Des never stopped learning, he was fluent in French, Spanish and Japanese, he was a very early adopter of computers, and set up systems for the company where he worked.
The letters, awards, both academic and in sport contained within the suitcase, evidences our family folklore.
It may take a while, but in time I hope to discover more about Des, I just wish that he were here now helping and guiding me through his early life.