While my Pop, two brothers and I settled in front of the television after dinner, my Nan walked across the room and picked up the ringing telephone.
Expecting the call to be from Mum and Dad, we strained to hear the conversation. Nan said with a smile, ‘Oh hi, fancy hearing from you’. I thought it must be someone Nan knows, but not Mum or Dad. Then, as I watched, her smile vanished and was replaced by intense concentration, which quickly gave way to anguish. Pop saw something was wrong and before he could reach Nan, she cried, ‘My babies … all of them … gone’. Pop leapt to Nan’s side as we children watched helplessly from the lounge. Nan looked at Pop and said, ‘The plane crashed, they’re all dead’. Pop’s face contorted with agony and his hands pulled at his hair. ‘The kids; they’re gone?’ Nan nodded.
These are the first two paragraphs in a riveting, beautifully written, at times heart wrenching and at times inspiring, account of an aircraft accident that created a family of orphans in 1977.
About the author
Peter Ray Kerma is a Canberra minister of religion.