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The Life and Times of Walter Whelp
The Life and Times of Walter Whelp

The Life and Times of Walter Whelp

StephenGStephenG

The life and times of Walter Whelp (Born 1948)

Walter Whelp was born in Dagenham, near London, on the fifth of July 1948, the day the National Health Service was created. He was an average pupil, an average student and a mostly decent human being, as well as the angry, discontented yet occasionally inspiring son of the barely adequate Mr and Mrs Whelp. He was last seen on the nineteeth of July 1969, the day before the first moon landing.

At the age of one:

I flew out of the hospital

All by myself, with my hands in the air,

On a magic carpet.

I know I did;

I was there.

At the age of two:

I remember herds of bison in the woods

At the end of the garden.

I am sure that they were laughing.

I know they were;

I was there.

At the age of three:

Some of the locals, queueing for their polio jab,

Sank below the waves as the tide came in

And were never seen again.

I know that;

I was there.

At the age of four:

I saw men with knotted hankies on their heads

Doing the goose step on the beach at Clacton

As their wives clapped from deckchairs.

I know I did;

I was there.

At the age of five:

I howled like a savage

As the moon stayed full

For almost one whole month.

I know it did;

I was there.

At the age of six:

We all laughed

At a boy called Tony Spaghetti

From the ice-cream parlour,

Just like my mate’s dad told us to.

I know we did;

I was there.

At the age of seven:

A bulldozer with antennae

Chased me and Dad home

From the score-draw at Upton Park.

I know it did;

I was there.

At the age of eight:

One day, I stood frozen to the spot

When visiting Grandpa

And couldn’t believe the bomb damage.

I know I couldn’t;

I was there.

At the age of nine:

Two days before payday, Mum wailed

And Dad held his head in his hands;

There was no money for food.

I know there wasn’t;

I was there.

At the age of ten:

I was inconsolable for three days

When I realised that my rocket

Would never make it into orbit.

I know I was;

I was there.

At the age of eleven:

Everything seemed possible;

My friend’s mum’s fancy man took her to the pictures.

He put Brylcreem on his thinning hair.

I know he did;

I was there.

At the age of twelve:

The pendulous clouds came crashing down

And enveloped us

For the whole week.

I know they did;

I was there.

At the age of thirteen:

I realised that the jolly local butcher

Was mad with frustration

And unsated desire.

I know he was;

I was there.

At the age of fourteen:

The police made me look away

As they sealed off the front room next door

For the last time.

I know they did;

I was there.

At the age of fifteen:

From twenty yards away,

I ran straight into a brick wall,

Just for the experience.

I know I did;

I was there.

At the age of sixteen:

The neighbours’ washing:

So spotless, so dependable,

Made me feel depressed.

I know it did;

I was there.

At the age of seventeen:

I was punished for playing solitary games:

Bolsheviks versus Mensheviks,

That sort of thing.

I know I was;

I was there.

At the age of eighteen:

I was scared to leave the house after my “A” levels.

The world was just too big, too empty;

I needed something to hold onto.

I know I did;

I was there.

At the age of nineteen:

I picked up a clarinet for the first time

And smashed it over a statue of a General

From some war or other.

I know I did;

I was there.

At the age of twenty:

I lay down on the cool grass

With my whole life before me

And wanted to do nothing.

I know I did;

I was there.

At the age of twenty-one:

That’s one small step.

Two men walked on the moon.

So they say;

I wasn’t there.

Or maybe I was;

And still am.

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About The Author
StephenG
StephenG
About This Story
Audience
15+
Posted
19 Aug, 2018
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709
Read Time
3 mins
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