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Sally McGuire

For 40 years I never knew my dad had 3 sisters, not 2. A topic never mentioned, it was thrown into a conversation one day. When I picked up on what was said, I found out about my Aunt Sally. Back in the 1950s, not long after the war had ended, living on the top of Portland with the family working in the quarry, life would have been hard. One day, Sally decided to go for a walk along the cliffs, something she must have done countless times before and no doubt one of the few pleasures that were available back then. A navy boat was out in Portland harbour that day. Not unusal; Portland Navy Base sat on the Northern end of the island, next to Fortuneswell and Chesil Beach. A major defence point during the wars and just as important as the Cold War escalated. Sally came home that day and fell ill. A couple of days later she passed away. No inquest or post-mortem for her. It was the '50s. These things happened. Rumour has it the boats were running tests that day, the wind changed direction and blew whatever it was they'd released ashore; did it end Sally's days early? I guess we will never know. What life would Sally have lead if she'd stayed at home that day? Perhaps a quiet, insignificant life. Perhaps she would have changed the world for better...or worse. Maybe, just maybe, she would have been a world-class opera singer. I like to think the latter and so it became: The Death and Life of Sally McGuire. Surname changed - did she marry or was it a stage name? I guess we'll never know...... Tim Curtis 17/6/2019

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