Poignancy Personified: A post-script to “A Blast from the Past” by Gerry (The Torp) Both
My recent article (Footy Almanac July 7th 2014) consisted of recollections from the discovery of my old woollen footy jumper (number 136) from the Adelaide University Blacks era of 1967-1972. I referred to an incident my last game in the A1’s in the 1972 season in which team-mate Tony Brown was severely injured and rendered a quadriplegic. This was a tragedy of the first order for a fit young man. I subsequently went overseas for post-doctoral studies and my understanding is that Tony underwent surgery about a year after the injury but did not survive the ordeal. It is no surprise that the whole sad story has been on my mind from time to time for the last 42 years.
Recently my dear Mother passed away the day before her 94th birthday. My brothers and I found ourselves in a legal practice in country South Australia while tracing her will. “I’ll see who among the partners is available to see you to deal with this,” said the receptionist. The lawyer bloke who was available strolled down the passageway, perused the will and said, “Are you the executors? Which one is Gerald” he asked? “That would be me”, I said. “Did you ever play for the Blacks” he asked. “Well yes”, said I.
“I was your ruckman,” said he.
(This was no surprise, because I was always a rover). He introduced himself as Wyndham (Wyndy) Rogers, but I could not remember him, although I was reluctant to say so. Well, after few more questions and some reminiscing (he did not charge me for this) we identified our common link. It transpired that his first game in the A1’s was my last game for the A1’s and for the Blacks and our common link was Tony Brown who was indelibly imprinted in both our memories. It was a remarkable coincidence that the passing of the family matriarch and sheer chance should provide such a poignant link to the past. Vale Tony.