Blood Sweeps the Land in November for a Fallen Soldier

As November 11 is Armistice Day, I thought it would be nice to share the story of just one soldier of the 11 million other military personnel who perished in the First World War…

For it was on a cold and very rainy day that I found myself in the shadow of the magnificent Tower of London, for although I had been determined to see the display of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in the tower moat since it had begun; my first visit was to be the Friday after Armistice Day and although many of the ceramic poppies had been removed; the sight that remained was still a very humbling experience for me.

As I watched the volunteers plucking the ceramic poppies from the muddy ground and then placing them in their cardboard nest, I recalled my feelings of disappointment that I had been unable to buy one of these poppies for myself.

Many moments passed in the chill of the November air looking at this sea of poppies and as I thought about what a glorious sight 888,246 of them must have looked like; I knew that one of these ceramic tributes had been created in honour of Wilfred Jowitt who gave his ‘Today’ 100 years ago on November 29 1917 at the tender age of 21 while on active service in France.

When you go home, tell them of us and say

For their tomorrow, we gave our today…

My interest in Wilf began many years ago with the gift of the ‘Loving Cards’ that he had sent to my great-grandmother Ellen Edeson during the war which she had secretly cherished until her death over fifty years later and the genealogist in me has been researching the life of this young man ever since.

Went the day well?

We died and never knew.

But, well or ill,

Freedom, we died for you.

John Maxwell Edmonds

Born in Warmfield-cum-Heath, West Yorkshire in 1896, he was the eldest child and only son of Ernest Jowitt, a coal miner and his childhood was spent in a little house in Frobisher Row which has long since disappeared.

He was introduced to Ellen through his sister Dorothy while working at Rowntrees, the famous chocolate factory in York and their courtship began in earnest; however at the onset the war in 1914, Wilf enlisted as Private 242067 in the Prince of Wales North Staffordshire Regiment and was stationed at Normanton.

He returned home from his first tour of duty in 1916, safe from harm and delighted to be reunited with his beloved Ellen and before his second tour of duty began in early 1917 he begged Ellen for her hand in marriage and having refused him, her lasting memory was of Wilf was of him “crying like a baby” as he prepared for a return to the front line.

While stationed in France, he was to pen several ‘Loving Cards’ to Ellen with his honest sentiments expressed in his neatest handwriting that always included lots of kisses.

His final ‘Loving Card’ was dated September 1917.

Wilf died on Thursday November 29 1917 as a casualty of war and although he has no known grave, he is remembered with honour at the Cambrai Memorial in Louverval and his name appears on the War Memorial of Warmfield-cum-Heath in Wakefield.

His ‘Loving cards’ are all that now remain of a young life cut tragically short and after Ellen’s death they were discovered by my grandmother who kept them until they were gifted to me some thirty years later.

It would have been wonderful to have received the poppy that had been lovingly created in memory of Wilf as a lasting tribute to the sacrifice he had freely borne at such a tender age; alas it was not to be…

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Heigh-Ho! Heigh-Ho! It’s Off to Bow I Go….

“Look to the past to see what the future holds.” I like this quote from the author Celia Conrad in Wilful Murder, the second of her Alicia Allen Investigates.

I find myself looking to the past on most days at the moment for if I’m not in search of an elusive ancestor for a client or trawling through the 1911 Census for a few of my pesky relatives who still appear reluctant to reveal themselves some 106 years later; I could either be immersed in the year 1815 as the work on my Lord Byron abode continues or otherwise curled up in a quiet corner somewhere with Lady Byron and Her Daughters; and before you ask, it is the title of a new biography about His Lordship’s much maligned spouse!

However, one rainy weekend and in the company of my genealogical assistant, I literally took a walk in the past during a visit to London for as I trekked up and down Fairfield Road in Bow which is not only the road that my family live near but also the road that Hargrave Potter, the son of my 4 x Great Grandfather was trekking along on that very weekend an incredible 130 years earlier!

The History Sleuth’s Companion Pauses Before the Spot Where Number 36 Fairfield Road Had Once Stood Some 130 Years Earlier…

I have only recently acquainted myself with Hewitson Potter, my 4 x Great Grandfather who was born in Scarborough in 1815 and with the blessing of an unusual first name (a boon for any genealogist, however well experienced!) and an illustrious career as a Master Mariner; Hewitson was also the patriarch of an impressive number of off-spring.

However in 1865 with Hewitson’s early death in Nova Scotia, little Hargrave along with his mother Susannah and siblings Mary and John would make their home in Scarborough with his older sister Ann Stephenson and her husband John Edeson.

And there Hargrave was to remain living alongside his sister’s family and his many cousins (including my 2 x Great Grandfather Charles Edward) in their cozy home on Seamer Road until after his eighteenth birthday in 1881 and when shortly after as a skilled carpenter, he would make his way to London and make the acquaintance of one Mary Jane Duffus, who despite sharing the same birthplace as Hargrave, was to spend her childhood with her family in Mile End.

November 13 1887 is a date infamous with London’s long and troubled history and known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ when over 30,000 protesters including the playwright George Bernard Shaw marched around Trafalgar Square in a demonstration against rising unemployment, the poor living wage and the British government Coercion Acts that gave rise to the suspension of a number of civil rights including imprisonment without trial.

Despite the violent clashes that took place between the police and the protesters with over 400 arrests and many badly injured, the demonstrations were to continue until February 1888 when the political landscape began to eventually change for the better.

Sunday November 13 1887 also witnessed the betrothal of Hargrave and Mary Jane at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in Mile End.

And despite the inauspicious date of their union as man and wife and the early death of their first-born James Hewitson Potter before his second birthday in 1889; history indicates that their marriage was of some duration and Hargrave lived until his 76th year.

However, I think that a return to the present is now called for as I’m off to search for those chocolate biscuits that I have hidden somewhere…

For an interesting read about ‘Bloody Sunday’, why not pay a visit to TURBULENT LONDON The Historical Geography of Protests, Riots and General Mischief in London… Enjoy!

Clarice, You ARE Late, Late for a VERY Important Date!

Although I don’t usually enjoy receiving brown envelopes through the post, I will make an exception when one arrives from the General Records Office or the GRO as it known here in the UK.

And when a civil registration certificate with the details about a newly discovered ancestor is enclosed within this brown envelope, I always feel a frisson of excitement as I pour over the information that is detailed (or sometimes not!) within the columns.

However, nothing quite compares to the sight of an original certificate and when you discover that the said certificate was once the faithfully kept property of the ancestor who has long captured your interest, well, let’s just say that my delight knows no bounds!

Many years ago when my research about Clarice was just beginning, one of my favourite memories is of a visit to that I made to Scarborough, a coastal town in North Yorkshire and the former stomping ground of so many of my ancestors that I could create my own Family History Trail featuring the abodes, businesses, chapels, courts of justice, graveyards and the like.

I might add that my thoughts about the creation of a Family History Trail weaving its way throughout the social and political history of Scarborough has been inspired by another trail of someone, who like me had a huge family and who also enjoyed a rich history by the sea.

Whereas the Kennedy Legacy Trail appeals to many with an interest in the personal life of a former US President and his family; my History Trail could only be of importance to anyone who happens to find themselves perched upon the same genealogical tree branch as me.

However, back to my visit to Scarborough and the raison d’être for this post today!

As the purpose of my visit has been to chat with Betty and Arthur who as members of my family had known Clarice well; I was more than a little thrilled when Arthur handed me a brown envelope that contained some original birth, death and baptism records and I finally discovered Clarice’s surname at birth!

And not only that but that it had been her personal copy of her birth in September 1913 that she had faithfully kept throughout two world wars, a brief marriage and the tragic hospitalisations until her death in June 1962.

Although Arthur kindly allowed me to copy the originals; it wasn’t until much later that as I pored over the details of another gem, her Certificate of Baptism, that I discovered something of interest.

For at a mere 14 days old, she had been baptised at a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Perth Street, Hull within walking distance of her family home in Irene Avenue and yet her parents were to wait a further 41 days in which to register her birth and if I can do my sums properly, I calculate that Clarice had been on this earth for over 7 weeks before she was officially recognised on Monday November 10 in 1913.

Given the superstition that has long remained over the nature of infant baptism, particularly if the infant in question is sickly; an explanation for the rush to baptise Clarice is that she was struggling with life almost as soon as she appeared in it and the delay exercised by her parents to register her existence officially is that she was not expected to survive.

Having shared my hypothesis with another family member, who I might add was to favour a very different scenario for as Clarice’s parents were both young and struggling financially, the fee of Three-pence due to the Registrar was simply beyond their means until much later than expected.

However in 1913, the Registrar of Births and Deaths should have been notified of Clarice’s arrival at the very latest by Tuesday October 28 1913 as the law was very clear and an informant could expect a financial penalty for a late registration beyond the 6 week deadline.

And if Clarice’s parents were as financially strapped as Everil believed that they were, I can’t imagine that a fine for late registration would have helped the family coffers!

Colin D. Rogers in his fabulous book The Family Tree Detective argues that there are provisions for late registration and it would be interesting to discover if in this case that there were mitigating circumstances.

One circumstance of mitigation that they could not rely on would be an ignorance of the law for Clarice had an older sister who having been born on September 19 1911 was duly registered and by the same informant, their father before the 6 week deadline.

Although Rogers makes the point that genealogists tend to forget that civil registration is not run for their benefit; but how much more enticing our work would be if an explanation for a late registration were duly recorded in a column titled ‘Miscellanea’.

Sources Used:

The Family Tree Detective (A Manual for Tracing Your Ancestors in England and Wales) Colin D. Rogers (UK: Manchester University Press 2008)

Twenty Three Years After THAT Verdict and the Protest Continues!

This is THE post that I should  have shared yesterday but I did not on account of a lack of time, natural light and inclination!

Despite the issues of time and natural light notwithstanding for as I had published six (yes, six!) stories about the anniversary of THAT Verdict by yesterday evening; the only inclination that remained was for me to crawl away into the dark night and watch a trashy movie with only a huge slice of cake for company And no, the trashy movie that I watched was NOT about the Simpson Matter!

For even though the Late (and great!) Dominick Dunne had once argued that the Simpson case was like a ‘great trash novel come to life, a mammoth fireworks display of interracial marriage, love, lust, lies, hate, fame, wealth, beauty, obsession, spousal abuse, stalking, brokenhearted children, the bloodiest of bloody knife-slashing homicides, and all the justice that money can buy’; THE movie that I enjoyed featured quite a number of the above, although thankfully minus the bloodshed for the only ‘corpse’ at the finale was a metaphorical one!

However, enough of my weekend evening television viewing habits and back to the matter in hand – THE Simpson Matter and the incredible realisation that  October 3 2017 marks the twenty second year since the reading of THAT verdict; you know, the one that begins with: “We the jury… find the defendant, ‪Orenthal James Simpson, NOT guilty of the crime of murder… upon ‪Nicole Brown Simpson, a human being…”

For it was on a cold and dark Tuesday evening and I was returning home from my flower shop in the City of York in a car packed with fellow travellers including school bags, grocery shopping and a 11-week old baby, (thankfully silent!) as I turned on the radio to listen to the reading of THAT verdict from some 5,000 miles away.

In her brilliant memoir Without a Doubt,  prosecutor Marcia Clark shares the reaction of Simpson’s defence attorney to THAT verdict as ‘not the verdict I would’ve thought.’… You can say that again Bob Shapiro!

I was so convinced that I would still hear a ‘Guilty’ verdict despite those allegations of LAPD incompetence and the charges of racism that tried (and failed!) to obscure the powerful circumstantial evidence and Simpson’s long history of domestic abuse…

Alas, as it was not to be and at a distance of twenty two years, I thought it would be interesting to share the reactions of some other Simpson supporters and detractors and of their feelings about THAT verdict that I have published on my other blogs and as I felt that a little mischief was entirely appropriate, some ‘creative’ imagery has also been included.

If you click on THIS link you can read the stories from Marcia Clark and Kris Jenner and over at Nicole’s House… Mike Gilbert will take you behind the front door of Simpson’s former abode on Rockingham Avenue and you can join Dominick Dunne as he takes a walk along the tiled walkway at 875 South Bundy Drive.

And from her book Bitch, I have included a controversial essay by the fabulous Elizabeth Wurtzel over on my A Life in Headlines blog including a scathing indictment of Simpson’s guilt from the brilliant Andrea Dworkin and of her observations about the complicated relationship between Nicole and Simpson.

Although I agree with Wurtzel’s belief that Nicole’s death was a ‘stupid waste of a life of a woman’; I do NOT support her assertion that her death supported ‘well-intentioned but still fruitless attempts to make it into a clarion call for domestic-violence awareness’ and here’s my reason why: for since 1994, I have been a witness to subtle and positive change that despite the divisive issues that had surrounded the trial of Simpson, Nicole’s tragic death was to  illuminate a much needed awareness about domestic abuse and that many women who upon learning about Nicole’s life and death were to find a renewed strength and resolve to leave their abusive partners and this STILL continues to be the case, more than twenty three years later.

Do you recall the ‘11-week old’ baby who slept his way through the reading of THAT verdict, I told you about?

Well, this is him in the image above in his 17th year and as THE poster boy for the Real Man Campaign to raise awareness about domestic abuse and on behalf of the UK charity Women’s Aid.

The Nobel Laureate and political activist Elie Wiesal once said that “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

And on that note, I bid you ‘Adieu’ for now and thank you for Remembering Nicole Brown Simpson!

Father AND Daughter Reflected in a Different Light?

Different light

Things that I once thought were right

Are now reflected in a different light…

Look at the picture below and tell me what you think.

Do you see a fashionable young couple on the brink of an exciting future together and with all the world before them?

Clutching a prayer book in a dainty gloved hand, the bride snuggles up close to her dashing groom and with her arm firmly enclosed within his, she strikes a confident pose as the lens captures her determined smile.

But what of the groom?

As we catch a glimpse of his wedding band, we also detect a mild look of annoyance and notice that a brisk September wind has played havoc with his carefully styled hair and we wonder if this could explain his self conscious posture.

You may disagree with me entirely on this which is your right but however you look at it; I can only look upon this poignant image knowing only that if it were not for me, this wedding would never have happened.

I was born less than six months later to these teenage parents who were still children themselves and I have been their hostage to fortune ever since.

And if, the story of my life had been like a film in which I could hit the ‘pause’ or ‘fast forward’ buttons at will, I would press the ‘rewind’ button to the morning of this wedding and choose a different ending; one in which he and she were allowed to go their separate ways and I to a family who wanted me.

My sister once described me as the quintessential ‘love child’ which is truly hilarious when I think about it  for I had a mother who was either frequently angry, indifferent or critical and who took pleasure in telling me that her problem was that she loved me ‘too much’

It has taken me years of soul-searching to figure out just how the hell can a parent love a child ‘too much’ and I’m still none the wiser.

And from my father, I met only with more anger, more indifference and even more criticism; but at least he never wasted his time or insulted my intelligence with the ‘I love you too much’ claptrap.

They parted ways with great acrimony only a day or so before my 10th birthday and even though both began a new life with someone else soon after and other children appeared; neither would or could ‘let go’ of the other and I became their weapon of choice in the ensuing fight, the symbol of their toxic union, the catalyst for that disastrous marriage.

As there has been so much angst, I could write my own definitive version of one of the longest novels ever published, the aptly titled War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy but as I have neither the time nor you the patience to wade through it; I will share a couple of gems with you from the family treasure chest.

My 16th birthday gift from my father was the court summons he served on my mother as he didn’t want to contribute another penny for my upkeep, even though I had yet to leave school and although he was humiliated in court, he remained true to his word and never did give me another penny – ever!

He couldn’t even dig into his pocket to buy me a gift on my wedding day.

Even though I hadn’t wanted him to share in my special day, I invited him and his wife as to have not done so would have caused my grandparents enormous pain and this was the last thing I ever wanted.

I can remember arriving to see my father standing there with a flower in his lapel but it wasn’t the Yorkshire Rose that I had arranged for him to wear but a different one and having asked his wife about it later that day; I was told that he had thrown my rose in the bin.

Or the time before my seventh birthday when he was driving us home at great speed and as my mother screamed at him to slow down, he took a corner too fast and my head head went crashing into the wall of the van which meant another visit to the hospital and stitches to my head.

I don’t remember very much about my childhood to the age of 9 but the memory of this painful head wound and my embarrassment at being sent home from school as the wound was still bleeding days later remains terribly vivid.

And how can I possibly forget the elaborate party he had wanted to arrange for my 18th birthday but with the caveat that my mother was not on the guest list and as she has never been one to miss any party, invite or not; her response was to tell me that she should never have had me and that I had ruined her life.

In my efforts at mediation, I remember that I gave them both my best ‘please sort this out for my sake’ kind of plea but it fell on deaf ears; my father cancelled the party and told me that I had been nothing but trouble to him throughout my entire life.

I can remember feeling so heartbroken after this birthday that I couldn’t bring myself to cut my ‘special’ coming-of-age cake until many weeks later.

It’s just as well I’ve never really been a fan of any birthday, particularly my own!

And although the hostilities would continue to wax and wane in the years after and if  I found myself in their cross hairs; I would inevitably be accused of behaving ‘just like your mother’ or raged at for behaving ‘just like your father’, which was ridiculous as for most of the time, I didn’t even like either of them then why on earth would I want to be like them?

But was I some kind of ‘problem child’ who hung around a street corner drinking cheap cider when I wasn’t tormenting old ladies or putting a brick through a shop window for kicks?

It may have been easier to understand if I had been but no, I’d either have my head in a book while listening to music or else I’d be drawing flowers in my sketch book, enjoying a stroll through the old streets and cemeteries of York or whiling away the hours gazing at my favourite paintings in the art gallery.

I was also devoted to my grandparents and would enjoy a friendly natter over supper after school every week with his parents and tea, delicious cake and more friendly natter with her parents. They truly were my bulwarks during these difficult years and I adored them.

I once loved my parents very much but as neither took any care with that love, I knew I had no choice other than to move away physically and emotionally from both of them as soon as I could but as there would always be one more ‘get-together’, I’d find myself returning to the family fold against my instinct for a quiet life only to walk away time and again because of their infuriatingly selfish behaviour.

And now with the death of my father last year at the age of 68; I have found myself raking over the ashes of the difficult relationship I have had with them.

My mother is now infirm through ill health, exacerbated through years of alcohol abuse and as I believe that life really is too short for feelings of resentment and that everyone has the potential for change; our relationship underwent a huge seismic shift many years ago.

My father would never change in his attitude towards me and when in the summer of 2013, I realised that no matter what I achieved; it would never be good enough, I made the decision to finally walk away from this painful relationship but I never gave up hope that one day he would reconcile himself to the daughter I was and still am.

He died suddenly in the early morning of an August day and it was left to my niece to tell me by telephone that he had died and I wasn’t invited to the hospital to see him nor later that day at his home as my family gathered together united in their shock and grief.

How many times when someone has died do we rewind to that final conversation we had with them?

For since my father’s death, I have thought often about our last conversation on that cloudy summer’s day and how when it had ended and as I was walking away, I vowed that I would keep walking from him as far as I could.

And my transgression that day?

With my mother’s rapid spiral down into alcoholism, I had been travelling several days a week from my home over 30 miles away to check up on her, clean the house, make sure that the bills were being paid and stock up the fridge until it was time to call the doctor and request another hospital admission.

And yes, it would have been easier to have walked away as others had done but I simply could not bring myself to do it and as my brother who is a vulnerable adult was still living at home; the emotional ‘pull’ was that much greater.

I can remember the day so clearly when I had walked in to find that she had taken to her bed with a vodka bottle days before, leaving the house unlocked, the heating cranked on full, the place a total mess, my brother living on cheap sandwiches and my feelings of utter desperation and panic.

Later that morning and with a car full of groceries, I had a chance encounter with my father whose only response was to humiliate me for being such an idiot in helping my mother and I knew then as I walked away from him for the final time that I was indeed ‘an idiot’ for wasting my precious time on this parent so utterly devoid of compassion and understanding; for not only was I helping my mother, I was also helping my brother who was also his son!

He only gave my brother an hour of his time every week and yet, I was ‘the moron’ for trying to do all that I could to keep a roof over his son’s head!

I had thought of attending his funeral but as I discovered the details of it from the local newspaper, I knew that my presence was not needed and so I stayed away; which was just as well judging by the looks of pity I caught after the funeral on the faces of those who had known us both.

Even in the most primitive semblance; a funeral is the time in which ceremonial practice and belief are woven into a cultural rite to remember the dead in the best way possible but it can also be the day in which old scores are settled, the history of the deceased is ‘tweaked’ and the narrative of family history changes course – and so it was for me, worthy of only the briefest of mentions, an afterthought, a relic from another era.

I work two evenings a week in a local club which pays for the rent on my studio and keeps me in craft supplies and books and many of the regulars have known my father since childhood and of all  who attended his funeral, only one found the courage to talk to me about it later on and I do not think that I will ever forget his kindness when he took me by the hand and told me that he was pleased for my sake that I had not been there.

I think the thing which has most troubled me about the death of my father, is that I have been left feeling so troubled by it as I had always imagined I would be indifferent to any news of him but how else to explain my sense of rage as if he has slammed the door in my face for the final time or that profound sadness about the beautiful and charming grandson he barely knew.

Or the black void in which all of my questions about my relationship with him have tumbled into and which are now swirling around like confetti, to be forever unanswered and I have to find my way through the ‘If only’ and What if’ on my own.

Different light

Searching for the truth I find

That I am running quite short of time

And I am no longer certain of my destiny

A few days ago I was reunited with some music from an old car and the first one I plucked from the plastic bag was About Time from Steve Winwood and as I played the first song, I was immediately thrown by the poignancy of the lyrics:

Searching for the truth

I found out what I thought would be

Peace of mind

Things that should’ve stayed the same

Are prone to change

Now I’ve seen a little light.

Do you know that I can’t even recall a single compliment ever received from my father and although he and I shared little in this life other than a love of the sea and an appreciation for music, I like to think that he also would have enjoyed listening to a Different Light:

And although it may have taken some time but the day before last when my mother finally found the courage to tell me what I had always suspected but had never dared to imagine which was that my father had never wanted me; I thought not of him, but of my dear grandmother who told me many years ago that her one regret had been to consent to the marriage of her daughter and how she had wished that she could have raised me instead.

I had overlooked a part of me

I was escaping my reality

I have questioned my philosophy

So that I could see the truth in me

Different Light

Even though my father had been a dreadful parent to me; I know that he was not a ‘bad’ person and maybe in another time and place, he and I would have enjoyed a relationship free of resentment and hurt but when I glanced at the tributes posted on-line about the death of this ‘lovely man’ who was always ‘funny, warm and kind’, it’s as if I were reading about a stranger and I only wish that he could have found it in his heart to have been that ‘lovely man’ for me.

And now as I leave him to his rest, the poignant words of the poet William Wordsworth return to mind in which he writes: ‘We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.’ and what remains is me – living a life in the best way I can, remaining true to who I have always been and knowing that while his blood runs through my veins and that of my children; I will always be my father’s daughter and I must find a way of living with this.

Sources Used:

Steve Windwood – Different Light from the album About Time (Wincraft Music/SCI Fidelity Records June 2013)

 

Recollect Nicole? And So IT Begins!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

T.S. Eliot

Hello again! As this blog post begins with two apologies, my first apology is that even though January is well and truly upon us and the month of February is now beckoning; I would still like to wish you all a very ‘Happy New Year’!

And secondly, I apologise for the lack of recent updates about Nicole and to my chagrin having realised that I had posted my last story about her in September!

In my defence, I can only say that I have been very busy with other projects and as some of which were and are about Nicole; I had by no means forgotten about her…

Already 2015 promises to be interesting year with the release of the much anticipated ‘American Crime Story: The People v. O.J Simpson’ which will share the tales of the trial that began an incredible twenty years ago this month!

The mini-series has been inspired by the fabulous book The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin and will feature John Travolta and David Schwimmer as the two ‘Bobs’, the former as Robert Shapiro, Simpson’s swathe and duplicitous defence lawyer and the latter as Robert Kardashian, Simpson’s mysteriously conflicted friend, former spouse of Kris and the lawyer whose jaw-dropping expression as the ‘Not Guilty’ verdict was delivered remains burned in the image of that unforgettable day.

A statement from the television channel FX, the producers of the ‘American Crime Story’ revealed that ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ will share the tales of the “the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and manoeuvring on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defence shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave the jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.”

Personally speaking, I have never had any doubts, reasonable or otherwise as to the question of Simpson’s guilt!

As the ‘People v. O.J. Simpson’ is certain to shine the spotlight upon Simpson who is currently languishing inside the notorious Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada for anything from nine to thirty three years for his part in an armed confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007; I was disappointed to learn of the statement from Denise Brown that she had withdrawn her support for the Heart & Soul Food, a film that would focus on the life and the memories of her younger sister.

Denise had personally launched the idea for Heart & Soul Food through Kickstarter, the crowd funding website with Jimi James, Message Mon in 2014 to raise $360,000 in a campaign that would last 55 days; Nicole’s age.

Having taken a look at the campaign on Kickstarter today and even though 14 backers have pledged at total of $403, the message board simply reads Funding Canceled: Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on January 5.

The statement by Denise on her decision remains unequivocal:

“The minute people said you have to market this with Simpson’s name I said no,” she says. “I won’t do anything to acknowledge the acquittal this year. So many are jumping on the bandwagon and doing the same old stuff, and I thought this could be different because the story is different. But I won’t go there.”

As Denise is apparently ‘brainstorming other ways to honor her sister’s life.’; I still wonder about the publication of her book that never was.

Due for publication in October 1998 by Harpercollins, Nicole’s Story promised to offer ‘a compelling portrait of her late sister which serves a two-fold purpose: to introduce readers to the smart, beautiful, and nurturing woman whom she loved; and to warn other women of the dangers of staying in an abusive relationship.’

With the promise of sixteen pages of colour photographs, this is the book I would love to read and I can’t imagine that I would be alone in thinking this!

Surely a balanced and realistic portrayal by those who actually knew and loved Nicole could begin the long process of shifting the spotlight away from the man who took her life and that of Ron Goldman one Sunday evening in June over twenty years ago.

Alas, until that time comes, I shall continue to do all that I can to keep the memory of Nicole alive…

Thank you for Remembering Nicole!