Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fewer degrees of separation

The weatherman Jack Scott has died. The way it was announced on the lunchtime news, it was clearly seen as the passing of an era. For me it was a particularly poignant moment. I turned to John and told him, the way I used to tell my first husband every time Jack came on the screen: 'That's my great-uncle's brother.'

Not that I ever knew him. Not that any of us ever knew him. But whenever we were at my grandmother's in South Wales and he came on with the weather, she would turn to us all and say, 'Uncle Jack', and someone would explain yet again: he was her sister's husband's brother. Well, that's what I'd always thought they said: when I rang my mother today she said, 'No, wasn't he Will's cousin?'.

In those days I always found it a slightly strange sensation, watching him there on the screen: a man who was no blood relation and was in truth a complete stranger, who knew nothing of my existence, no doubt, but who by all accounts was connected to me by those familiar relatives and their stories...

But the funny thing was, today, in these days of interconnectedness, it didn't at all feel so strange...

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