Visit the Past
By The royster
Visit the Past
Saturday July 4th 2020, just another ordinary day. I arose from my sleep as usual at seven thirty, took a shower to get me going and made my way to the kitchen for that cup of nectar called tea. Two slices of toast and grab the paper from the front door before Suzi my little cairn terrier turned it into confetti.
Sitting by the window with the sun pouring through. Yes it was going to be another scorching summer day. I like warmth, but not so hot you have to find shade in order to feel comfortable. Suzi doesn’t seem to mind as she lays on the patio, legs in the air. Oh what a picture. If she thinks she’s going to get a belly rub this time of day, think again, as much as I love you, I chuckle to myself.
I don’t have a lot to do today. A little shopping, something nice to make a tasty salad with this evening, maybe one of my favorites, Smoked Salmon, Mmmm! Like that idea and a few bits and pieces, you know, bottle of wine maybe or a couple of cans. Can’t beat a nice cold beer. Ok, so stop day dreaming, get dressed and get the dog out for her morning walk before it gets too hot. Lucy, the weather girl said it was going to hit the high eighties today, so I’m guessing she will have her bikini on later. Oh stop it, behave. My laughing gets the dog moving as she walks to where her lead is hanging. Not that she wears it a lot as she’s very good off the lead. Come on then Suze up into the car and off to the meadows. Just check we have everything, water, poo bags, biscuits, yep all present and correct.
Fifteen minutes later we arrive, park in our usual space and out she jumps, squat, pee and back for a biscuit before running off. It’s great to see her have a good run. It seems quiet here today, the usual dog walkers we meet up with haven’t arrived or have already been so I wander off keeping an eye on Suzi as I go. Though she’s never too far away.
I get to the main path that runs through the centre of the meadows then I can make up my mind which way to go when I get to the next path. What’s that? About 10 metres in front of me there is a door standing upright in the middle of the path. Nothing else, just a door in a frame. Everything else around and is normal and I walk past this door, look back and it’s gone. Go back again and there it is. What is going on here I say to no one but myself.
When Suzi starts barking at this what I can only call an apparition I start to wonder if this door is supposed to be opened and what will happen if I do open it. You know what they say about curiosity and the cat!
Just to be sure, I walk past it again. Yes, it’s gone. Back again and there it is. My thinking at this point is that if there is nothing behind it now it shouldn’t be any different if I open this strange door. Oh well, nothing ventured as they say. Grab the handle and slowly turn it, so far so good. Push it very gently and through a gap it’s just as bright as it is this side, so I am totally confused but decide I am going to find out what this is leading to. I push the door open and Suzi jumps through. Oh, didn’t think of that, I’m going to have to go through now so there I stand the other side of ……………. Look behind, there’s no door. Now I am concerned because whatever we’ve come into it now seems there’s no going back.
We are still in a park, Suzi is sniffing around as usual but it’s not the meadows that we came to half an hour ago and there are other people here some with dogs others with young children and some just wandering alone. They are all dressed in what I would call nineteen sixties style. Yes, as I would once have done in my wonderful teenage years.
It appears that I have walked through a time warp back to my teenage years, those fabulous sixties. This park does seem familiar and then I realise. I’ve come back to my old haunts of Greenwich Park, The long avenue from Blackheath which leads to what used to be the Royal Observatory and the statue of General James Wolfe. Greenwich park is where we spent most of our school holidays and weekend leisure time with friends and girlfriends. This is amazing but, I notice that people are walking by me and yet no one has looked at me in any form of acknowledgment. It’s as if they do not see me, as if I am not here in real life. Well, thinking about it I cannot be, can I?
I’ll carry on walking while I’m here, still wondering how or if I’m going to get back eventually but determined to find out more about this return to the happy days of freedom.
There’s a lot of noise going on at the bottom of this very steep hill where I can see a very large playground with lots of children playing on swings, slides and many other things.
There’s a group of older probably teenagers in a group where we used to gather and spend hours just talking sharing a bottle of pop and listening to sixties music on the transistor radio. I think I’ll get Suzi back on the lead as I know what she’s like when she sees groups of people sitting around. A few picnics have been ruined by her invasion and many apologies I have had to make. So I’ll take no chance here especially as I’m not sure what is going on.
Taking it steady walking down this hill which has seen me ride my bike down so many times back in the day, I am getting closer to the group who I can now see are teenagers. Oh! What is going on? That group of youngsters are my pals from the sixties. There’s Graham and Amy, Ray and Dianne, Alex and Jan and me and Carol. Now this must be nineteen sixty four or five as I parted from Carol in sixty five and met Denise who was to become my wife. Still is in fact.
I am assuming that I cannot be seen as no one has taken any notice of me since I arrived on the other side of the door. I get close enough to hear the chatting and the odd laugh when the guy I recognise as Ray looks up and says “what you looking at mate”. Oh, I can be seen!
‘I’m sorry, not meaning to be nosey, but I know you all. “Clear off old fella” he says. ‘Please hear me out, you see I know all of you by name’. “Yeh, go on then”. ‘Ok, so you’re Ray and your young lady is Dianne, Graham and Amy, Alex and Jan and lastly me Roy with Carol’.
They look totally astonished. “How on earth do you know this and what’s with the Roy being you”. ‘It’ll take a while to explain’ but if you wish to know, then explain I will’.
How this has happened I do not know, but this day way off in the future I got out of bed and done all the normal things before taking my furry friend here for her morning walk. While walking I came across a door standing upright on it’s own in the centre of the path. I walk this path every day and have never seen it before and wondered how such a door could just stand there. If I walked past it would disappear. So being inquisitive I went back and tried the door which opened and the dog ran through. Therefore I had follow to get her back.
I knew I recognised the place I had walked into but couldn’t begin to think how or why I should have come from Peterborough in the year 2020 back to Greenwich in the 1964 just by walking through a single door. Therefore in answer to your question, It seems I have come back some Fifty Six years.
Which also means that I can actually tell you what your future holds for you. But I’m not sure you would really want to know. The one thing I can tell you is that I am still in touch with you guys. Which means that in the year Twenty Twenty you are all still very much alive.
As for the young ladies, I only know of Amy as you and Graham are still married and living
Cornwall. Carol was looking from me to young me and back again, so I told her that we parted and that I didn’t blame her for making that decision. She got up and came over to me “it really is you isn’t it”, ‘yes but much wiser now. I have never forgotten you and it took me many many years to realise what a fool I was by not giving you the attention you so deserved.
I did try to get in touch later, I saw your mum who told me you were happily married and living in Deal on the Kent coast. I was very happy for you’.
‘Alex you are going to be my best man in 1970 when I marry a young lady named Denise who will be working at your hair salon’. “What about me” says Ray. ‘Well mate, you will have your own business and be living in Southampton’.
‘You may well think I’m just guessing these things or just a complete lunatic, but when you think of all the monday nights down the plough, weekends on the coast, pictures of which I still have. Oh, in fact I can show them to you now’. “What, how can you” says Alex. I take out my mobile phone, what on earths that? they all say. ‘It’s a telephone. Those big red boxes are almost obsolete now, and these little things are going to take over, let me show you”. I open up the phone and pictures, scrolling down. Carol is looking closely as is Alex as I stop on pictures of us all on Camber sands one bank holiday. “This is crazy she says this was back in sixty five and we stayed there for two nights”. ‘And Alex, this one will prove that you were my best man’. “Bloody hell, this is amazing” These are photo’s of my daughters, but again that is a few years on from now.
“So are you here to stay, even though you have reached the later years” says Graham.
‘I think one of me is quite enough. All I need to do is find a way back, another door would be handy and I’ve got to pick up the Granddaughter from school this afternoon’. Carol said ‘can I walk with you to find your way back’. What, and leave young me sitting here? Let’s all go says Amy, I really want to see how this is going to end or not. Up they, I mean we all get and waking suzi up from her doggy dreams, start walking back up the hill and along the avenue to where I came in. No sign of a door to be seen, only the big iron gates that separate Blackheath from the park. Ok, so now I’m worried and the others are all looking at me as if to say, go on then, back you go. Then Suzi starts barking and pulling me towards the wall where a wooden door, not unlike my entry to this past life, stood surrounded with Ivy.
I wouldn’t have seen it if Suzi hadn’t made a move. ‘Maybe this is the one’ I said to my mates and me. I walked over to the door and put my hand on the handle which moved effortlessly. ‘Looks like I’m going home after all. This has been a wonderful experience seeing you all again. How it happened I haven’t a clue, but I’m glad it did and I wish you all every happiness in your lives. You will be fine, that I can promise’. As I started to open the door Carol came over to me and gave me the biggest hug I’ve ever had to which I responded, ‘And that is what I’ve missed all these years’. With tears streaming from both our eyes we said goodbye and opened the door to a still bright day. I turned again to say a final farewell but all I saw was a door standing up on its own in the middle of a path in the meadows disappear in a mist. Suzi was off chasing rabbits, I was crying my eyes out just as Sue and her lovely Labrador Amber were walking towards me. “Hey, what’s the matter, why the tears” says Sue.
‘Oh Sue, you wouldn’t believe this unless you were there. So let’s go for a Coffee and Cake and I’ll try to explain. Well, an hour and two coffees later Sue was drying her eyes and holding my hand as I was shaking all over at what had been the most extraordinary experience. Then my phone started to ring, well, it was my phone but the ring was the same as we used to get in the old telephone boxes. I look at Sue with bewildered eyes and answer with a ‘hello’. All I heard was a message telling me to check my photo’s and a voice saying
“I just wanted you to love me”. I checked my photo’s and there at top of the list was Carol followed by another of the whole group, including me.
‘Look Sue, how can this be explained. I went back some fifty six years. There was no such things as mobiles and I never had a camera but these were taken two hours ago, look date and time on photo. I am going to call Ray later today and Graham, their reaction should be interesting. I haven’t a clue where Carol is or her friend Ann who got us together in the first place’.
We walked back to the car park Suzi and Amber sniffing at anything they walked past.
Dogs in cars quick hug and see you later in the week weather providing, both shaking our heads as to what that was all about and how on earth it could happen…