Remember 'stop and go Joe'? My sister Anne used to tell me about this vagrant that used to wander around Oldton. The story was that if you saw Joe wandering and yelled 'stop' he would stop, even in the middle of the road. He would stop dead in his tracks because, so the story went, years before he was walking with his wife Carol and, as they crossed the Farnham Road, towards the bus stop, Joe noticed a car coming around the corner from Toad Row. His wife was out in front and he yelled at her to stop but either she didn't listen or the car was going too fast and it ran her down. Killed her dead.
Naturally, Joe was devastated. He lost his job, then his house. He took to wandering the streets aimlessly.That was the story anyway. I'd heard the story from my sister and a few other people but I don't think I really believed it. In retrospect, I suppose it seemed like an 'urban myth'. Probably lots of small towns have similar stories. Reminds me of the myth of the magpies, 'how's your wife?' when you see one... 'one for sorrow, two for joy' that kind of thing.
Anyway, blow me but one night in about 1981, cruising around town with some fellow inebriates, we came across this old fella standing on the corner waiting for the light to change. I had no idea who he was but as he started to cross the road I yelled out the window (for a laugh) 'Stop Joe!' and what do you know, he bloody stopped right there in the middle of the road. I couldn't believe it. It was him.
After a few moments as we stared in disbelief, I yelled, 'Go Joe!' and he continued across the road. Urban myth my arse.