Thursday, June 18, 2009
A tree grows in Dagenham
“See that! First tree planted in our street! I did that,” I said. Through the gaps in houses I pointed out a rusty red, wooden telegraph pole. This was implanted in the early seventies, when I ordered a phone for my parents’ home, the first on our road. At the time, the arrival, the hoisting and planting of the pole had caused no little stir. Our neighbors and people from nearby streets stood on the sidewalks and watched. In total silence. Even when wires were cast from the pole to the outside wall of our house. Fascinated and disinterested in equal measure, nobody asked what was going on, and we did not tell them. They might have thought we were bragging. Now of course, there were wires leading to other houses. And somehow, I don’t think the purchase of a cell phone today would have the same impact we created back then. Even in Dagenham.