Yesterday I spent some time making notes about time lines and events within the book starting in 1971 the year of Anthony's birth. So far I have managed to compile a timeline of events and information up to mid 1973, and I have found that this is one of those books that you read, then read again and pick up a lot more information the second (or third!) time around.
Something that I have talked out before in this blog is the way that great events in history, not just wars or major disasters but all history, can be initiated by a simple action, and in the case of this book it is filled with such occurrences.For example:
Shirley has a premonition that her baby will have a brain hemorrhage years before the event took place.
After one particularly harrowing night, the night before Ted and Shirley are to bring Anthony home to die (they had been told that he will not survive).Shirley prays for her sons life with such passion that she tells of her face burning fiery red and seeing flashes of yellow as she clenches her eyes tight.The following morning when they go to the hospital to fetch Anthony, they are told by the Paediatric consultant that he wants to try Anthony on Steroids.He though of this the night Shirley offered her prayer, and is quoted as telling Shirley he had "Disturbed sleep" that evening.
Jenny, one of Shirley's neighbours, brings round a newspaper clipping to Shirley which reports the successful bone marrow transplant that was given to Simon Bostic in England.This leads to Shirley making the call to Simon's father and the Westminster Hospital, and results in her subsequent decision to take Anthony to the UK to try to save him.
So much of what I have mentioned above seems to be based upon pure chance, or maybe it's just coincidence...or maybe it is what people would call "Destiny". All I would say is that throughout the book you constantly feel as though this was something that was meant to be, tragic as it was for Anthony, and heartbreaking as it was for Shirley, it is a story that appears to have many instances of some spiritual events, yet Shirley states herself that she is "Basically Agnostic" and feels that she is being hypocritical in praying for help from a god that she often curses and attacks for being cruel and absent in some situations.
The great news.
The great news is that the other day I received an email from Kamahl in which he requested that I could perhaps have a chat to him to recount his memories of Anthony and Shirley.
I have emailed back to just confirm that I am based in the UK and that for this reason it is best that we arrange a time that suits our respective time zones!.
I am very pleased, and frankly amazed that I have had a reply from yet another person featured in the book, and who could give me yet more "first person" recollections of the story bringing it out of the book and adding to my understanding of the circumstances that surround this tale.
I will be checking my email frequently to see when the reply arrives. :-)