In 1991, we had a street party to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Avenue and we managed to get ourselves into the Leicester Mercury - our local paper. And here we all are, me, Iain, Denise and Tony, dear old Eva, Philip and Celia, old Doug, and everyone else:
Nineteen years ago in 1994, this lovely boy - Jordan - was born and he still remains the youngest member of Oxford Avenue's Community.
He was such an endearing child and always had some interesting questions to ask. When my nephew Shah came to visit, Jordan would be tailing him - wanting to know what Shah was doing with pieces of wood, and bits of wire and strings. When the oldest member of the Avenue stepped into her little garden, Jordan would ask, "What are you growing Eva?" When he got a little older, we lent him some books because he was interested in planets and the Solar System.
Jordan was a loving and lovely part of the Avenue's life and our life too. When he was 12 we moved out of Oxford Avenue but we lived near enough to still keep in touch with our former neighbours.
About eighteen months ago, Iain met Jordan at Evington Road. He had grown into a strong sapling ... and he remained the same gentle and friendly kid that we knew from long ago, and still remembered to ask , "How's Maz?"
About two weeks ago, Iain met up with Denise and she told him Jordan was in jail. We were shocked and upset - what could this gentle lad have done to deserve this? We were told by our former neighbour that in May 2013, Jordan was imprisoned for four-and-a-half years for trafficking drugs.
He was not the only one.
|15 of the 34 dealers above have Muslim names.
"The Child is father of the Man" - a saying attributed to William Wordsworth. The sort of upbringing one is given as a child will determine the kind of adult one becomes. However, I think this cannot be applied to Denise's and Tony's son - they brought him up in a very loving family environment to be a caring and courteous person. Somewhere along his growing up years other agencies like the schooling system, the social environment, and the mass and consumerist culture took over Jordan. According to the local newspaper, Jordan "became addicted to cannabis at the age of 12 after being bullied at school". Yes, Jordan was gentle, Jordan was bright - the perfect object for bullying by the hard and streetwise majority in a city school.
But it gets worse. After all, mainstream bankers and financial consultants, corporate international drug dealers, crooked and corrupt businessmen, politicians with blood on their hands all get away from the arms of the law. Or, like that big global bank that launders Mexican drug money, given a pittance of a fine they can laugh at in board meetings. A small fry like Jordan (and his loving, hard-working family) pays a far, far higher price.
It's heartbreaking for us and I cannot imagine how Denise and Tony must feel. It's just one young life. But Jordan's is such a gentle and sweet life.
Dear Jordan "Golden slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles awake you when you rise".