Sins of the Father
It was an everyday story of city life. An everyday story of unintended consequences.
Last week a low life steals a car. The police are on the case. Lights flash , sirens hehaw. The low life floors it. For a moment he thinks he can out drive them. He is high maybe only on adrenaline, maybe more. Through the crowded streets they race. This not the movies. He is not Steve McQueen. He hits a car, he swerves, the steering wheel spins, he hits a bollard. he mounts the pavement.
Going to park that day is the child actor Makyah McDermott his aunt and two siblings. To those in accidents every nano second is recorded in dramatic slow mo. The car approaching, the sirens, the car out of control,the chasing cops, then……. bang. The boy and his aunt are dead. The driver, Joshua Dobby leaps out of the killer whale and runs to hide pathetically behind a front garden hedge. Every year 25 are killed in crashes involving police chases.
Joshua is soon arrested and charged. 23 of no fixed abode a sad figure but it gets worse.
It turns out that his father is Mark Dobby a 51 year old businessman who lives in £3m house and runs successful pet food and property businesses. Classic dull businesses but now he is famous.
A few details are reported. The dad has been estranged from his son for 16 years and hasn’t seen him for seven. Joshua’s mother died three years ago and is not called Dobby. She may have married again, the new man may not have got with Joshua.
Dobby started his businesses twenty years ago. Was it the oft told tale of the young successful businessman upgrading his wife. The son never forgiving his dad but never really settling down to life without him. Despite a degree of privilege Joshua does badly school and never settles down. He drifts, his mother, before she died of cancer is reported to have been battling alcoholism and drug addiction. There is more than one car crash in this story.
Whatever. As many are inspired by their dysfunctional families, as are broken by them. Most get on with their lives. It starts with one family destroyed by “everyday” causes, it ends with another smashed by five minutes excitement in a South London street.
This story has echoes in my family. My legal parents divorced when I was four, I was in therapy at eight. My parents, however flawed, never gave up and boarding school saved me.
Vivien’s older brother in the late 1960s was an extremely successful businessman. He traded in his wife for a younger model . The ex took the two children and married again. Her new husband treated the children as his own. Vivien’s brother never forgave his children for switching their allegiance and has rebuffed all their efforts to make contact. He has not talked to his children(and their children) for over thirty years.
This is a biblical story, his second marriage crashed with his business and twenty years ago bailiffs and creditors chased him to another country. Where he remains.
His children meanwhile moved on and have become successful adults. Sometimes the sins of the father drift on like a chemical cloud, sometimes they don’t.